Eva van Emden, Freelance Editor

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May 23, 2014

Molotov Hearts by Chris Eng

Molotov Hearts by Chris Eng Trying on a pair of pants isn’t a subversive act, is it? For a teenage girl who sees another world—a world of friendship, authentic self-expression, freedom, ideas, and great music—in a group of punks who hang out downtown, the first step to changing her life is buying a pair of jeans. Jenn manages to find new friends and an escape from her home life, but her escape is based on deception, and eventually it can’t continue. How can Jenn escape her crazy mother and take control of her life?

This book is very much about identity, and the importance of finding a way to be yourself. The book has a lot of heart. It’s about the importance of taking action to change your life, but it acknowledges the power of a generous act by a stranger. In the end, Jenn manages to finds a way to solve her problems herself in a way that doesn’t match violence with violence. Although a romance acts as the catalyst for Jenn’s transformation, there’s no message here that love fixes everything. In fact, the boyfriend is almost an innocent bystander while it’s the women who really make things happen. Love may or may not happen, but you have to fix yourself first.

Part of the reason this book speaks to me is because I know the author. Chris and I went to the same high school in Victoria, BC, and the physical and psychological setting of the story is vivid in my mind. However, even if you’re not a Victoria native, I can recommend this story about identity, love, and the power of punk.

Molotov Hearts is available from Powell’s Books or Amazon. Buy the PDF at Chris’s webstore, or read it for free at HoodieRipper.com. Check out Chris’s new series, Switchblade Queens.

Reviewed from my own (paper) copy of the book.