Henry Hamlet's Heart

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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 15 Nov 2022
Charlesbridge, Charlesbridge Teen

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This smart and charming queer YA rom-com about falling for your best friend will win the hearts of fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

Henry Hamlet doesn’t know what he wants after school ends. It’s his last semester of high school, and all he’s sure of is his uncanny ability to make situations awkward. Luckily, he can always hide behind his enigmatic best friend, Len. They’ve been friends since forever, but Len is mysterious and Henry is clumsy, and Len is a heartthrob and Henry is a neurotic mess. Somehow it’s always worked.
That is, until Henry falls in love. Hard. How do you date your best friend? 
From an exciting debut author comes a passionate story of growing up, letting go, and learning how to love.

This smart and charming queer YA rom-com about falling for your best friend will win the hearts of fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.

Henry Hamlet doesn’t know what he wants after school ends...

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ISBN 9781623543693
PRICE $18.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 315 members

Featured Reviews

This was cute! I love a good gay coming-of-age story, I thrive off of the painful yearning. I found Henry to be a really likable character, but I liked Len a little less. The bi representation with the grandma was a sweet bonus. I’ve read comparisons between this and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, and while I loved the latter more, I can see lots of similarities, although this one lacks some of the conflict that makes Becky Albertalli’s novel so engaging. I’m not totally sure what sets this apart from other entries in this genre though, and it feels a bit too basic.

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Henry Hamlet’s Heart is a sweet and heartfelt coming of age story. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and it filled me up with so much joy I simply couldn’t put it down. It surprised me with how captivating it was, how much it pulled me in, and I genuinely cared for all of the characters. I’ll be thinking of Henry and Len for a long time, like they’re old friends. I also appreciated the theme of it’s okay not to know what you want to do in life, yet. It’s okay to just be, to just exist. You don’t have to have your whole life figured out yet, or know what your 5-10 year plan is. It’s one of my favorite things to find in books because so many people think they have to have it figured out, but they don’t. You don’t always have to know, and that’s okay.

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It was sweet and a pretty fast read, the characters were all likable and the story engaging. There's nothing that really sets it apart from other books in this genre but it was still a good read. Would recommend!

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Love the cover! The art is adorable and captures the vibes of the book’s contents so thoroughly.

This is a fun and frothy high school romance about a shy and nerdy guy named Hamlet who finds himself falling for none other than his best friend Len. His best friend who has known almost his entire life.

I loved the writing style of this, succinct and yet still evocative. It was quirky and witty at times, mostly attributed to Hamlet’s little mental commentary in so many awkward situations.

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While I did enjoy this story quite a bit, I also found myself having a few mixed feelings as it progressed.

Both MC's were pretty adorable, with Henry being funny, quirky, awkward and more than a little oblivious, and Len being a good best friend, but also having some trauma to deal with after the sudden loss of his mother.

As the book began, introducing us to Henry's family, friends, and school, I loved its fun and light-hearted feel, showing us the day-to-day events that he experienced.

But while I loved the writing style and Henry's voice, the many, many, MANY chapters of his daily goings on started to feel a bit much, leaving me sometimes wishing I had a fast forward button to "get to the good stuff," i.e. the actual YA romance.

The book actually reminded me a lot of "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda", which I found to be very heaving on everything but the actual love story.

Getting to The Romance™ does eventually happen, but even slow burn fans may find themselves wanting things to speed along while reading one friend's drama after another, with slow progress toward the guys acting on their feelings.

Overall, the first and (most of) the second parts of the story worked well for me, leaving me hopeful and happy about Harry and Len working toward their lurve connection>

However, OMMFG, beginning with the last few pages of part two, I became insanely frustrated as the author pulled out the over-used YA plot points of [ "I'm not worthy" and "The Commitment Freakout" (hide spoiler)], leaving the guys avoiding one another and not speaking for nearly the ENTIRE last third of the book.

Then once the guys finally did clear the air and reveal their true feelings, *BOOM*, the story was immediately over, leaving me feeling as though a door had been slammed in my face. It was just... over.

I would've thoroughly enjoyed at least some sort of epilogue, preferably from a few years down the road, describing where life had taken them and their relationship. Even if it were only two or three pages long, I believe that would've helped sell me on their relationship falling into more of an HEA.

So yeah, there was a lot that I liked about the story, but definitely a few things that I would've preferred having happened differently, and I'd rate it at around 3.5 stars.

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Got an eArc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

"How do you un-know someone if you only know most of you because of them? How do you even try?"

'This smart and charming queer YA rom-com about falling for your best friend will win the hearts of fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli.'

Yeah. I'm a fan of Adam Silvera. And yeah, it won my heart. It is already in the description. It is smart. It is charming. It is a rom-com. AND it has my favourite trope falling for your best friend! What could I ask for more? My heart and mind are satisfied. I instantly added it to my favourite shelf with no hesitation, no second thoughts.

I love Hamlet with my whole heart. My list of 'Fave characters I love with my whole heart' is getting crowded, and I don't care. Hamlet deserves a place there. And Gran and Marigold's relationship? I love it. I love their love even though they aren't the main characters and are always in the picture.

Hamlet is someone that seeks assurance, while Len is distant because he doesn't know how to work with things that need communication. It hurts how Hamlet tries to seek verification, but Len kept saying he's dramatic, don't overanalyze, don't overthink, and more. I can't help but hate that part of Len, but when Len did try to communicate, I'm finally giving him the benefit of the doubt as a red flag. There will be more scenes where he gets distant, and it's hurting Hamlet, but I'm going to tell all of you to go through it because it represents some people who are going through something within themselves. How being distant helps a little or blinds our judgement. Was those part stressful? Yes, but it's worth it.

This made me realize how much I'm a Len. I can't describe it, but this book shows me how I'm so much like him internally. Who loves too much but fear creeps up. The thought of all being ruined or I'm the one who does it, but, either way, leads to it.

TW: HP Reference, Grief and Mentions of death of a parent (search it up for more specifics or correct TW as mine is what I thought is TW while I read it)

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Henry Hamlet's Heart is well-written with compelling characters and a relatable theme of self-discovery. There are plenty of high school shenanigans to keep a reader entertained with lighter moments between those of existential crisis. While it wasn't a good fit for me personally, I can see how it would be a perfect fit for others, especially teenage boys on their own journey of self-discovery much like the characters in the book.

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Thank you to netgalley for the e-ARC!

Okay I will preface this with I do NOT normally enjoy friends to lovers. I am firmly an enemies to lovers girl but I thought this was REALLY sweet. I instantly fell in love with Len which I think was the intention. He was so patient and obviously in love with Henry as Henry worked through his own feelings.

My main complaint is that while this is a slow burn it felt kind of rushed once they got together? Like the entire book was leading up to them getting together and then it was just over? I would’ve enjoyed an epilogue showing us a bit of time later but that’s just me. I would give this 3.5 stars so I’m rounding it to 4 because the writing was good and it was a sweet easy read.

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This was seriously so good. Once the story really got going, I found that I couldn’t stop reading and couldn’t stop thinking about it when I did have to put it down.

This book gives all those warm fuzzy fluttery feelings that come along with first love. But more so with that tentative tender time when senses are heightened around that certain someone before a full fledged romance kicks off. You really can FEEL it through Wilde’s words.

The humor that comes through on the page… the sweet sadness and everything in between. I laughed out loud and I certainly shed tears in this beautiful debut. I cannot wait to see what Rhiannon Wilde brings

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While predictable, Henry Hamlet’s Heart has all the best parts of young queer love and then some. Henry is very high strung. He’s president of his class and gets top grades. Now in his last year of high school, he’s about to head to college, with no idea of what he wants to do with his life. And now, of course, he has feelings for his best friend, Len. They’ve been friends forever but one kiss on a dare at a party and Henry is falling hard. He doesn’t know what to do with these feelings, especially when Len dates around and seems to be moving from one person to the next when things start to get hard. Henry risks losing Len entirely if he explores this new facet of their relationship, but can he let his feelings go? The answer is, of course, no.

Henry is so awkward and endearing from the start, drinking too much at a party and getting sick. He’s trying to fit in but he’s also got a great group of bros so he’s alright, overall. Not exactly popular but he has people who have his back. He’s adorable and so is his family. I love their dynamic; it feels realistic and fun, true family love. His and Len’s friendship is also great, as is the budding romance. The way the romance grows is slow, yet fast, since it has that basis of friendship to grow off of. It’s that classic ‘oh’ moment, when the main character realizes their feelings are romantic and not just friendly affection, and I’m here for it. Of course, Henry’s feelings of inadequacy come into play. When Len is much more popular than he is, why would Len want Henry at all, much less romantically?

Despite the formulaic nature of this story, I found the characters and background story to be utterly compelling. Henry’s anxieties are all too relatable. He takes things so seriously and overthinks everything because he wants to fit this vision other people have of him and his own vision of himself, which is based on his outer vision. It’s all very convoluted for the fact that it’s the human experience: living up to expectations while also finding your own happiness.

Fans of Becky Albertalli, Rainbow Rowell, Phil Stamper, and Adam Silvera will love this book. It’s a wonderful morsel of sweetness with a great balance of angst, one you won’t want to miss if you like any of the aforementioned authors!

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This book caught me off guard at how good it really was! I was expecting it to be okay, but it really shattered my expectations! I found it hard to put down!