Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

(Last Updated On: June 25, 2019)

4.5 stars to this unputdownable novel. The narrative gripped me with its first sentence and captivated me until the very end.

About the Book

Publisher: Minotaur Books  |  Release Date: June 12, 2018  |  Pages: 311
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Thriller  |  Format: eARC  |  Source: Publisher via Netgalley

This is the story of three best friends: one who was murdered, one who went to prison, and one who’s been searching for the truth all these years . . .

When she was sixteen years old, Angela Wong—one of the most popular girls in school—disappeared without a trace. Nobody ever suspected that her best friend, Georgina Shaw, now an executive and rising star at her Seattle pharmaceutical company, was involved in any way. Certainly not Kaiser Brody, who was close with both girls back in high school.

But fourteen years later, Angela Wong’s remains are discovered in the woods near Geo’s childhood home. And Kaiser—now a detective with Seattle PD—finally learns the truth: Angela was a victim of Calvin James. The same Calvin James who murdered at least three other women.

To the authorities, Calvin is a serial killer. But to Geo, he’s something else entirely. Back in high school, Calvin was Geo’s first love. Turbulent and often volatile, their relationship bordered on obsession from the moment they met right up until the night Angela was killed.

For fourteen years, Geo knew what happened to Angela and told no one. For fourteen years, she carried the secret of Angela’s death until Geo was arrested and sent to prison.

While everyone thinks they finally know the truth, there are dark secrets buried deep. And what happened that fateful night is more complex and more chilling than anyone really knows. Now the obsessive past catches up with the deadly present when new bodies begin to turn up, killed in the exact same manner as Angela Wong.

How far will someone go to bury her secrets and hide her grief? How long can you get away with a lie? How long can you live with it?

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My Review

The narrative gripped me with its first sentence and captivated me until the very end. The book begins with a trial, 14 years after Angela Wong was murdered by Calvin James. Georgina Shaw is on the stand at his trial testifying to what transpired on that night when she was sixteen years old. After fourteen years of hiding the truth, Angela’s family has closure. But the past holds many secrets and is more complex than anyone imagined.

“The past is always with you, whether you choose to think about it or not, whether you take responsibility for it or not. You carry the past with you because it transforms you. You can try to bury it and pretend it never happened, but that doesn’t work. Geo knows that from experience. Because buried things can, and do, come back.”

The reader starts with knowing the end result, but not the actions that lead up to that fateful night or what transpired. This is a novel which navigates a dual perspective narrative masterfully, told in four parts in the alternating perspectives of Kai and Geo. Hillier weaves the past and present seamlessly with excellent pacing, giving the reader just enough information to keep them hooked as she slowly peels away the layers and revealing more about the past. A lot of times a dual perspective narrative winds up disjointed; however, it flows beautifully and is this narrative style done right.

“In every story, there’s a hero and a villain. Sometimes one person can be both.”

The character building was masterful. They are complex people that I learned to love, learned to hate. Even the smallest of characters have a depth that is palpable. Geo and Kai were best friends in high school, but Angela’s murder drove them apart.

“Everyone has a single defining moment in life, something that thrusts them irrevocably into a new direction, something that affects them at their core, something that changes them forever.”

Everything tied together in the end, and the little clues that were sprinkled throughout all clicked just before it did for the characters in the book, adding a level of suspense and intensity that didn’t feel gimmicky but real. The only thing I am left wondering is was the Shipp Lipstick shade a coincidence?! Like how.

This was an amazing read that captivated me and caused me to read past when I was exhausted, causing me to drop my e-reader on my face twice. It was that good! Highly recommend this one!

Content Warnings: rape, rape culture and victim blaming, murder, abuse, domestic violence

Thank you Netgalley and the publisher, Minotaur Books, for the electronic ARC in exchange for my honest review. Quotations were taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication. 

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!


  1. bookwormbrittanyy

    June 7, 2018 at 2:44 PM

    Great review! Now I want to check this book out 🙂

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 7, 2018 at 3:23 PM

      Thank you, and you totally should! I loved it SO MUCH!

  2. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

    June 7, 2018 at 4:27 PM

    Excellent review 🖤 I agree with you completely and should have mine up next week. I fell behind with this injury. I love your reviews so much!

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      June 8, 2018 at 1:43 AM

      Oh my gosh, thank you so much Danielle! I love your reviews too and how the heck are we reading all the same books?! MAGIC! Can’t wait to see your review on this one!

      1. (Danielle) Books, Vertigo and Tea

        June 8, 2018 at 12:54 PM

        Magic indeed because we are fabulous like that 💗😘

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