Being a teenager is rough. It’s the time one discovers the meaning of friendship and love, and the journey they take to finding out where they fit in this world. Heartstruck delivers a relatable story about all these things, and most importantly, learning how to accept everything that makes you who you are.
Heartstruck (Flicker #1) by Angeli E. Dumatol
Seventeen-year-old Alexa Zamora looks as if she’s always been the beautiful and graceful center of attention. If you knew her in grade school though, you’d remember a sad little girl, who had lost her parents, and spent most of her time on the martial art arnis – a rough sport, not something girls were supposed to like. If you knew her then, you might have ostracized her for it.
She learned from this mistake, and has done her best to hide all traces of her sport and skill in a new school, and now she’s New Hope Academy’s It Girl. But transfer student Theo Guevarra, who happens to be her old arnis buddy and first love, arrives and makes her question the life she’s been living. How long can she keep up appearances, before it all falls apart?
Alexa Zamora is the girl everyone wants to be or be best friends with. She’s intelligent, beautiful, and caring, but it’s only one piece of who she truly is. We quickly learn that there is more than what meets the eye as Alexa sheds off her mask after school hours to secretly continue her arnis training.
“It is only during these few hours with Tito Tim that I feel free to be myself, to let go of all the walls I’ve built. I am free to strike.”
I absolutely ADORED Alexa! I saw so much of my younger self in her that I wanted to protect her with my whole being. Readers will find her to be a relatable character because I think everyone has had a time in their life where they’ve had to wear a mask and hide their true selves from others. Whether it’s to protect ourselves or the people around us, we’ve all been in Alexa’s shoes. She only wants to be accepted and loved.
Just as Alexa feels as if she has her new life under control, someone from her past appears. Enter Theo (swoon). Theo is Alexa’s childhood friend who also trains in arnis and is the only one at her new school that knows anything about her previous life.
Alexa and Theo are the SWEETEST. I’m a huge fan of childhood friends to lovers trope and Heartstruck brings the feels between these two! But outside of the romance, the friendship rooted in their relationship is the best part. Through the bond they share, Alexa is able to grow in other ways. She discovers what it truly means to be a friend and how love can trump all.
“I’ve been wearing a mask to get people to like me, but all it’s done is keep me from seeing the truth.”
Angeli E. Dumatol weaves everything I love about YA perfectly through her writing. There’s family, friendship, and love all inside of Alexa’s journey. And the arnis scenes set this book apart from other YA books. The choreography being described made me feel as if I was watching Alexa in real life! I loved it.
If you’re looking for a quick, sweet weekend read then Heartstruck is for you! Readers are sure to connect with these characters and their story of finding where they belong.