Henry Hamlet's Heart
by Rhiannon Wilde
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Pub Date 18 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 18 Oct 2022
Charlesbridge, Charlesbridge Teen
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.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 227 members
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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
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!
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!
There's something about the title-- it kept popping up in my head. So easy to read and remember. Henry Hamlet's Heart. I love it!
The characters are all likable: supportive parents, funny and reliable friends, sweet little brother, trying teachers-- well, maybe except for John and the crew of Clarkson. Thank goodness they didn't appear too much in the story. It's light, too. No angst and stuff that makes you feel super crushed!
The conversations in the book are quirky + witty + funny. One of my favorite lines is this one:
There are only so many times one can say, "I'm fine" before it starts to sound like "fuck off."
And then there was this part where Henry describes how in the future, he'll probably be one of the people who'll refer to his house as 'the yellow house where my parents live in'. I didn't save the line and it sounds way better in the book, but the melancholy of eventually going away for college is portrayed so well that I kind of felt this cavity in my chest. A lot of stories often refer to college and moving away as the start of some exciting adventure, but here, it's shown as a lonely-ish step. That it's going to be hard to meet up with the friends you have as easily as when you were classmates. That part hit me hard for some reason.
Another good thing is that this book has retention-- kept me up until late at night because I couldn't make myself stop reading. I'm tempted to give it a full five, but I hesitate because of these two dorks' slight lack of communication. I get why they acted like that though, all the pushing and pulling. So my rating is that it's at least 4.5 stars. It's super, super good!
A Beautiful and poignant coming of age story that hits so close to home. I didn’t realise how much non australian fiction I read until there’s one with references that I can understand so closely.
Henry Hamlet, referred to as Hamlet by his mates, is in year 12 of high school in Brisbane in 2008. He’s struggling with his identity, his future and a surprising crush on his best mate.
- The secondary characters in this are so beyond gorgeous I love everyone of them so much (aside from John, he knows what he did). They all had their distinctive roles to play relative to the plot but were so unique and whole in their own way.
- The description of the setting was beautiful, I am not intimately familiar with Brisbane but Wilde’s writing made me able to picture it
- The high school confusion element of the plot was perfect, the battle between feeling like you had to know everything and like you knew nothing at all.
- I really struggle to find any flaws in this book, once I started I couldn’t put it down
- Whilst I love the ending, I do selfishly wish for more happy ending scenes at the end, more of the “boiyss” all together
My standout quote:
Couldn’t pick just one 😌
“His eyes never leave the road. Either he doesn't feel anything, or he doesn't care.
(I feel things. Things that could ruin everything.)”
“And then I'm standing on the street and it looks the same as
ever, sleeping-tablet still. Traffic light spots flash across house
Green. Red. Green.
Nothing's changed except all of it.”
(The cover is so pretty)
Henry Hamlet's Heart had realistic and meaningful characters that teaches about love and self-discovery. Although, I struggled to get through the first few pages, it gets better from there.
5 stars (this review contains spoilers)
The characters are relatable, Henry with his flaws and that he’s not perfect and Len with trying to push Henry’s away because he cares too much. I’m normally not a fan of the couple breaking up at 75+ % but it didn’t bother me this time. It was written well and there was a clear reason why Len broke up with Henry. I love how the cover matches with the last part of the book, Lens pictures of Henry. I love this book a lot and definitely recommend it!!
Read this in one day, and absolutely loved every minute of it. The characters are adorable, the story is relatable, and I want to give Henry Hamlet a huge hug. I'd recommend this to everyone! High schoolers everywhere who have been in love with their best friends at one point will love this story.
Henry Hamlet, what do I do and how do I explain how much you have made a place in my heart, you cutie!! I am surprised and adored by you.
This book is cute and if you enjoy reading books that are cheesy and softy and all cute, this one is a purrfeectttt choice.
Henry and Len, two BFFs, and Henry's sudden, 'I may be in love with my BFF and is he giving me hints' phase is cute, sometimes heartbreaking, and sadly, even as a slow burn lover, this one is a tidbit stretchy. Like, if you read, They Both Die At the End and how that book stretched, this one does not go to this extent, still, it is a bit .......
I loved reading this and my mood got better. Definitely a spring/summer kinda read.
What a cute story!
I genuinely had a great time reading this book.
It'd been a long time since I read a YA book. I'm usually more drawn to darker themes, so young adult books centered around highschool didn't use to catch my attention.
That was until I got this ARC, and oh god, I had forgotten how fun they could be.
The last year of highschool feels so cathartic and life changing while you are experiencing it (although in retrospective it wasn't that big a deal), and mixing that with falling in love? The drama, the pain, the uncertainty, it was so entertaining.
Henry Hamlet is a really fun character to read about. Outgoing, quirky and oh so dramatic. Being inside his head while his life seemed to crumble around him (at least that's how he saw it) was really exciting. Also, his little self deprecating thoughts had me cracking up:"(Grip, Hamlet. As in get one.)"
His relationship with his family was so nice to read about, specially his dad, I loved that crazy man, and his friend group was also surprisingly good.
About the romance, I freaking loved it.
I specially loved that him finding out he liked boys (or A boy) is not a big deal at all. The drama comes from the specific boy he falls for, and that was really refreshing.
The love Henry had for that boy was so raw, visceral, profound, it was just painful, but so beautiful.
"I’M LOSING IT BECAUSE I KISSED YOU / BECAUSE I KISSED YOU I MIGHT LOSE YOU."
"It’s so obvious, in that look. I’m so obvious."
If I have to point out any negatives, well, I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but I'll just say that although I loved Henry's development as a character, his love interest felt kinda flat to me. I would have loved to know him better as a person and like him because of who he is, not only because Henry liked him.
That said, I think I'm going to start reading YA again because of this book lmao. There's just something so charming about the first love/end of a childhood narrative that I would like to continue exploring.
If you like queer coming of age stories this is the one for you.
An adorable romance that gave me Derry Girls kookiness mixed with Love, Simon gay panic but in a good way. Also, if you're a fan of Saving Francesca and always yearned for a friend group who'd get you: HHH is for you.
Let's begin by commending the author for transferring me to '08 Australia because whoa I hadn't known I was capable of time & space travel via book but of course I can. Books are magic like that.
I loved every bit of this book: the family, the humor, the angst, the confusion, the speaking up, the school-related shenanigans and stress. It's quenticenstally the perfect YA book! Perfect for all ages.
This book was so incredibly sweet. I absolutely adore the friends to lovers trope, and this book executed that really well. Henry and his best friend Len's relationship developed in a way that felt very natural, while not waiting until the 75% mark to actually have something romantic happen between the characters. I thought it was funny and well paced and written with a beautiful quality. My only complaint is that Henry was the only character I ever really got to know. The members of Henry's friend group were so alike one another that I was never really able to differentiate them in my head as I read, and Len started off to be a really interesting character who I saw plenty of but didn't seem to maintain the same magnetic qualities he possessed at the beginning of the book. One of my favourite archetypes of all time is the spunky grandma figure, so I was thrilled when we introduced to just that in the very first chapter, but she was painfully scare throughout the rest of the book, and I would've loved to see Henry's little brother just a bit more.
Overall, this was a really great book that painted a lovely relationship between two high school boys. Everything in it just felt very real—sometimes painfully so. Henry and this world will probably live in my head for a while.
Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for this eARC!
Thank you to Netgalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. This book is one of my favorites this year. I didn't want it to end, and Len and Hamlet are just adorable together. I kind of wish that it was a dual perspective book, I'd have loved to read Len's perspective. Overall, very very cute, good pacing, and great characters.
Oh this was such a joy to read. Lovely writing and characters that felt like people I could've easily known in 2008 had I been in Australia instead of southern California, and a close POV with all the awkwardness and melodrama of being eighteen and in love and grappling with a relationship you didn't expect, at the edge of adulthood and the end of everything you've known thus far. Great family stuff and great school stuff and what felt like a well-managed edit for American audiences.
By a near perfect moment of happenstance, "Existentialism on Prom Night" came on shuffle as I was finishing this up and it was an absolutely apt soundtrack for it that I think the characters might appreciate too, so that was fun.
Thanks to Charlesbridge and NetGalley for the ARC!
Wow, this book was such a great read! I definitely had all the feels. First I loved that it was set in Brisbane, my home, and all the band references were great.
Len was everything. My heartbroke for him and his inner struggles. I loved his character and just wanted to give him a hug and just say things would be ok.
Henry was also so loveable. He made me laugh and I loved how he accepted his changing feeling for Len and gave them a chance, even though he knew Len wasn't one for commitment.
I do wish I saw more of Henry and Lens relationship, I feel like we just caught glimpses of it. But saying that I still really enjoyed this, and the pace, and the slow burn. I liked part 1, which was just basic life, it kind of made me more attached to these characters. The writing was beautiful and lyrical. This was such a great read for me. Perfect for fans of Love, Simon.
It reminds me of that first love story back in high school, the uncertainty and awkward stare kind of situation. It's the kind of story that I never really experienced but somehow as I keep reading it I can nod to their moment, agreeing to them like I was with them. There were tears and laugh too, there were hopes and desperation too, all wrapped beautifully in a delicate writing style.
A very fine read, the story moves at a slow pace that it gives me time to indulge with every moment the MC went through.
Sincerely thank you for the publisher to provide me with the ARC in exchange of honest and unbiased review.
What a beautiful, sparkling little gem! This book was such a heartfelt, adorkable and sweet queer YA romance, full of relatable, fleshed-out characters to root for, a swooning friends-to-lovers romance, amazing friends and family, and some truly gripping and heartbreaking moments. I read this book in one sitting, completely hooked from the very first page!
Set in Brisbane in 2008, Henry Hamlet’s Heart tells the story of Henry Hamlet and his best friend Len during their last High School year; at that moment in life when you’re supposed to make important decisions impacting your whole future, but still struggling with the journey of growing up, finding out who you are and learning to love. There was so much Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Red, White & Royal Blue vibes to the story, but with some darker layers in the form of trauma after losing a parent, social awkwardness and anxiety, and bad/abusive parenting.
Henry and Len have been friends forever, despite their differences. Len is a heart-throb, a popular jock who is also on the debate team and love photography. Henry is clumsy, socially awkward and too smart for his own good sometimes. But somehow they’ve always matched. Even more than Henry had realized until a truth-and-dare kiss changes everything.
I absolutely loved Rhiannon Wilde’s writing style and the amazing friendship and dynamic between Henry and Len. I loved their banter and the humor, and not to mention the burning chemistry… Both of the characters immediately stole my heart in their own separate ways. I also really appreciated the little twist that the most popular of them both, Len, was the one that had been secretly pining for Henry, not the other way around as one would expect. The way Len always looked out for Henry and how he truly loved him for him and for all his quirks was truly adorable.
I also absolutely loved the side characters (except Len’s mean and abusive father). Their friends and family were all so well developed as characters and so sweet, hilarious and supportive.
The story dragged a little in the middle, but it was still addictive enough to stop me from putting it down even for a second.
All in all, this was an adorable, quirky, heartfelt and emotional friends-to-lovers story that I recommend with all my heart!
Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for the free review copy of the book, which I have voluntarily reviewed.
This was a great Read! Such a heartfelt and emotional story with memorable characters 🥺
Loved the LGBTQ+ representation with childhood friends to lovers.....my heart is bursting with emotions. Definitely recommend
As soon as I saw this book and read the description I just knew that I would have fallen in love with it. I also knew that this would be one of those books that even though it does makes you suffer you'll want to read it again and again.
I loved it, I couldn't stop thinking about it, it's so beautifully written, especially the characters I fell in love with them, they felt so real I could feel what they were going through and all I wanted to was hug them (and shout at them too).
This story is so relatable, it brought me back to my teen years when I was going through the journey to find my true self, and this book would have helped me so much.
I was sad when I finished it all I wanted to do was keep reading their story.
I can't tell you how much I loved it, I highly recommend it.
This story is one that exceeded all of my expectations! There's nothing like a good friends to lovers queer romance, and the pining in this one is done especially well.
Both MCs are done very well, and are developed, unique, and dynamic. I especially like how they interact in their friend groups. For a relatively short book, the side characters are done pretty well. The romance is absolutely amazing and relatable. I was completely enamored and could barely put the book down to go to work, and I ended up staying up late to finish it the same day I started.
There are very few things I would change, but I do wish the story had been a little longer (probably just because I'm obsessed), and went into a bit more detail on the relationship between Len and his Father.
All in all I CANNOT wait to get a physical copy!!
Okay wow I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would which is amazing!
Henry Hamlet's Heart is a YA contemporary queer romance about an Australian boy graduating high school, he's a bit nerdy, very into writing and debate... and in love with his best friend but he doesn't know it yet.
I'm a big fan of friends-to-lovers (ESPECIALLY best friends) because of all the yearning and the angst so naturally, this book scored a lot of points for me even though it was pretty cliché otherwise. It was simply a typical (queer, coming out) romance. I'm talking about the "kissing your same-sex friend on a dare and having a gay crisis because of it"-trope, as well as the public coming out in the end, the 75% break up et cetera. However, I really enjoyed all of those tropes in this book and I think others will too.
The characters and their relationships could have been a bit more fleshed out, I think, especially Len but they're not flat or boring in any way, I would have just enjoyed a little bit more character and relationship development. Henry's friends were all very realistically written and each had their own distinguished personalities which I really enjoyed.
The queer representation in this book is well-written and fleshed out. The Gay Crisis was relatable and I really loved all the queer joy. This book is perfect for anyone looking for a fluffy romance or just a cute queer romantic coming out story. If you're not the biggest fan of the coming out trope or want queer protagonists who already know they're queer before they fall in love, maybe this isn't for you. However I do have to say I would consider myself the latter, so you never know. Life is full of surprises.
Overall, I loved this book and I may or may not have cried a wee bit over it. I am taking off .25 stars because the ending was a bit rushed and I would have liked to see more of Len and Henry's relationship but I'm very excited to see what Rhiannon Wilde (amazing name btw) comes up with in the future.
This book felt like going back to my roots. It's a lovely queer YA romance that reminded me why I fell in love with reading in the first place. Also love the fact that it's set in 2008 and there are so many references to the emo music I love(d) in middle school. Really glad I gave this one a shot!
This was such a fun read!
Henry Hamlet’s Heart follows our titular character, Henry, as he tries to make it through Year 12, still not knowing exactly what he’s supposed to do with his life after he graduates, all the while trying to navigate how to deal with the fact that he’s falling in love with his best friend, Len.
Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of romance books, but this was cute. While they did make me feel second-hand embarrassment at times - and they definitely could have avoided some problems if they weren’t so over-dramatic - the way Henry and Len’s friendship became something more was done really well. I don’t tend to like ships with the “childhood best friends to lovers” trope, but Henry and Len seem to be the exception. Even separately as characters, I thought Henry and Len were well-developed and, despite their flaws, still really likeable. The other relationships in this book - between Henry and his family, Len and his sister, and all of the other friendships - were great and, especially in the case of the “Boiyss”, had a fun dynamic.
My favourite thing about this book is that it’s set in Australia. Most of the contemporary books I read are set in the US, so it was super refreshing to hear the characters talk about foods I love and using slang that I was familiar with - subtle things that made everything about this book feel more real to me. The Year 12 experience was also so well captured I couldn’t help but think fondly of when I was in the same boat as the characters (at the same time, reading this book made me very grateful that I graduated years ago).
Overall, I enjoyed this and definitely recommend to anyone looking for a light-hearted read.
This was such a charming novel with a fun storyline and the most loveable characters. We got to see Henry’s character arc, both emotionally in regards to acknowledging his feelings for his best friend and also becoming more confident in himself and realising that he does not have his future completely mapped out. This is an inspiring story for so many people.
Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing this arc in exchange for an honest review.
This was a heartwarming coming of age story at its core that showcased all different kinds of love. It is narrated by 18 year old Henry Hamlet who, in keeping to his namesake, is a walking emotional wreck trying to balance being on the cusp of graduating high school and, after a game of truth and dare gone awry, falling for his childhood best friend, Len. I loved seeing the individual relationships between Henry and his family, friend group, and boy and girl best friends, and how this love looked different for all of them. I especially loved the australian school setting and am amused to see that we all lived the same schooling system experience.
Thus is a perfect comfort read that had me beaming for most the book and i definitely recommend -truly a hidden gem of a book.
This story is so cute and sweet. I enjoyed reading this one. Nice potrayal of teenage love and romance. I loved the little family of Hamlets.
This book is so light and you can enjoy it while reading.
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with ARC
In a word: heartwarming. Henry is the type of lead that you can easily root for from the start; awkward and endearing. His entire family was lovely to read about and instantly made me want to be adopted by them. (A bisexual grandma in 2008? Hell yeah!) And I enjoyed every single scene with the boiyss.
Now moving along to the romance. I am an absolute sucker for a best friends to lovers trope. The yearning, the hesitation, all of it. It’s a bit of a slow burn for obvious reasons which made the story that much more believable. I loved Len and how his character was practically the opposite of Henry. He was also really sweet and charming.
The reason I put this as 4 stars is because the ending left me wanting a tad more. I feel like with the way the story played out it definitely needed some sort of epilogue or additional chapter.
Thank you so much to Charlesbridge and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review.
If you loved Boyfriend Material and Red, White & Royal Blue but want a change from the Enemies to Lovers trope - Henry Hamlet's Heart is just the thing.
It's funny, the chemistry between our two boys is wonderful, we've got fully fleshed out side characters with their own issues, worries and stories and this overall human-ness that gets forgotten so easily sometimes.
The only thing that threw me off every now and then was the fact that it's set in 2008, since it's not 'now-enough' for me to relate and not far-away-enough for me to have historical knowledge on the time.
In 2008 I was six, so that was a little weird, but that's really not the book's fault.
A sweet queer romance of two young boys in high school who both discover themselves.
It's well written and I enjoyed it.
"How do you un-know someone, if you only know most of you because of them?"
Set in Brisbane, "Henry Hamlet's Heart" is a whimsical, endearing story about coming to terms with who you are, and growing the courage to embrace it. This is Henry's last semester at high school, and he has no clue about what comes next. Thankfully, his family doesn't push him to make all his big choices right away - and he can always count on his best friend, Len, to be there for him. Until Henry catches feelings after a fateful party, and things start spiralling out of control even further.
Someone should've warned us all that Aussie writers have perfectly understood the queer YA assignment. I really do hope that this book blows up, because it's a delightful read from cover to acknowledgements! In essence, this is a slice of life tale about a queer teen realising and accepting his feelings, as well as trying to handle high school, debate team, his grandma's wedding, and the difficult and delicate task of being by a friend's side as the latter deals with unresolved trauma and family issues. In summary, our nerdy main character doesn't have it easy! I could relate to Henry a lot as he stumbled his way through all of these challenges, which I suspect would be what most of us would end up doing.. He's an anxious mess at times, and he has no clue what he's doing half of the time. If that doesn't scream "Relatable Teen MC", I don't know what will!
The other character that shines is, of course, Len. I personally have a thing for enigmatic boys who hide secrets behind their crooked smiles, and mister Fancy Socks To Work was no exception. Despite how frustrating his choices were at times, I really loved his bond with Henry for the most part. The little gestures he had with him throughout the book made me really emotional, and I believe that the author did an amazing job at showing the duality of him - he's both confident and insecure, both warm and distant, both strong and in need of help. I was glad to see him get closure regarding his career aspirations, and it was very sweet of him indeed to do what he did towards the final pages of the book.
Characters aside, the romance itself was super sweet and realistic. It truly did feel like a first love, and a strong one at that - those of us who can relate will find themselves sighing more than once! Far from being perfect, the characters' relationship has its bumps and setbacks. While I wasn't happy that things weren't quite working out, I was so to have a realistic portrayal of what most teen romances actually look like. And that ending! I'm still swooning!
All in all, this was a very cozy read that brought me a lot of happiness, written with an excellent prose and carefuly spun into a tale about two boys learning how to love each other right. I couldn't recommend it enough, and I'll definitely keep an eye out for future Rhiannon Wilde books!
I am so grateful to the publisher and the amazing author for letting me read this novel. I inhaled it in under 24 hours, and it broke and reshaped and boosted my little heart. Flawlessly written, bursting with human feelings and doubts, this coming of age tale tells the story of Henry Hamlet, soon to graduate high school and head to university (which one, though?), his lovable and quirky family - each on their own path in life, dealing with its assorted doubts and joys - and his friends, Emily from the girls' school and the Boyiss at his own all-boys school. One boy in particular will stand out.
Truly loved, loved, loved this book. One of the finest - if not the best - I've had the privilege to read on NetGalley!
Thanks to Netgalley and Charlesbridge Teen for providing me with an early copy in exchange for an honest review. The book comes out on October 18th 2022.
Both covers for this book are so gorgeous wow.
Picked this on a whim but I truly enjoyed it. It was a nice, vitty, cute and feel-good kind type of a story. The book opens with protagonist’s grandma who came out as bisexual and is now planning her wedding with a woman. Like are you kidding me? If that doesn’t win you over nothing will.
Main plot is set on Henry and his own journey to figuring some things out, along with his best friend Len. There are some serious topics introduced but the book is not too heavy. It’s actually mostly sweet and romantic. Sometimes it’s a bit too cheesy even. Whenever there is a ~I released a breath i didn’t know i was holding~ line it makes me deduce points but other than that it was good. I liked family dynamic, I liked their friend group, I liked friends to lovers which usually hardly wins me over. It’s very easy to get into and if you’re looking for a cute gay story without high stakes I deffinitely recommend this one.
Oh, this was a lovely read. It was lighthearted with just the right amount of angst.
Henry Hamlet’s Heart follows Henry, a Year 12 student who has no clue what the future has in store for him, and his best friend Len. Like all Year 12’s, they party. However, when Henry catches feelings at one of these parties he begins to spiral.
While this book gave me secondhand embarrassment, it was still an amazing read. Being a teen is hard, especially when these never felt before feelings begin to develop. Henry really struggles with his feelings and how to accept them. With all these things going on, you start to understand why Henry is spiraling. Henry is a very relatable teen. He doesn’t know where his life is heading, but as long as his best friend is around he feels okay.
Now Len has his issues, but he’s still an amazing character. The way he is written invokes frustration, especially when it comes to his decision making. There is definitely a duality to him. I think this portrayal of grief is good. Len has his moments, but it all leads back to grieving. He fears losing Henry, so he pushes him away. Len is both confident and insecure. I loved Len, but I would understand those who end up disliking him.
Overall, this book was sweet. The writing style was great. Both the main and side characters were very well written and felt relatable. However, I wish there was an epilogue. I would have liked to have a flash forward, since the book ended quite abruptly.
Thank you NetGalley and Charlesbridge Teen for providing the eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with this title in exchange for an honest review.
Henry Hamlet's Heart was one of those books that I knew I would enjoy from the first chapter. I mean, a friends to lovers romance with a snarky and unsure about the future high school senior? Definitely right up my alley. But even more than that, this novel surprised me with its beautiful prose—I found myself crying, laughing and marveling at Wilde's writing at the same time.
This is a book for anyone looking for a bit of nostalgia; for the 2000's, for first loves, for those endless afternoons with friend where everything seemed possible... Henry and Len have a very special place in my heart and I'm sure that given the chance they will have one in yours too.
Thank you to Netgalley and Charlesbridge for providing an advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review.
Henry Hamlet's Heart was a very cute, coming of age story that follows Henry Hamlet and his band of Boiysss. Having finally arrived in Year 12, Henry and his friends need to navigate studying, exams, friendship, relationships, family and parties and try and survive the year. On top of that, they all need to decide what they're doing for university, if they're even going, and worry about what will happen post-high school.
Henry Hamlet's Heart was very relatable. I'm thirty and I graduated high school back in 2010, but reading this book put me right back in the mindset of being an eighteen year old trying to juggle friends, graduation, and university admissions. It is clear that Wilde has lived the high school experience because there is no way she could have gotten Henry and his friends and his experiences so bang on without having gone through similar situations herself.
Henry was such a likeable character for me. I loved his inner monologues and the author really nailed his character voice. I found Len to be irritating, but I know other friends who gravitated more towards him as a character. I think if we would have gotten some chapters in his POV, it would have made the experience better for me as a reader. But the banter between Henry and all of his friends was hilarious and I found myself smiling and laughing out loud at several different points. (Spew Grant, anyone?!)
Overall, I think this is a decent addition to LGBTQ+ YA books. If nothing else, the high school experience is so relatable and I loved getting to reminisce about my own past. Also, the new cover on this book is to die for. It is so accurate and I just find myself staring at it constantly. I find something new every time I do.
This book was really cute! I was really emotionally at the end. I think when people showcase their love and feelings through art it really shows how much that person means to them. Especially considering the fact Len had photos that dated back years of Henry! I thought the story progressed really fast, and I really appreciated the friends being accepting of their friends no matter what. I finished this in a day and loved it!
This book had a slow start. Honestly, I debated not finishing it a few times but I’m glad I did. Their romance was so cute and Len was such an interesting character (I want more on him, please!) and the reunion at the end (why didn’t I see that coming?) it made me cry. This book was absolutely worth holding onto and reading until the end.
Eu demorei alguns dias pra entrar de cabeça na história, mas quando o fiz, esse livro se tornou um amorzinho. É divertido, leve e me deixou com o coração quentinho
First of all, a big thanks to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for providing an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
I have this strong urge to protect Henry Hamlet from all harm, at all costs. I just want to give him a big hug and tell him that he’s such a unique and kind soul.
This beautifully written friends-to-lovers coming of age novel is exactly what i needed. Henry Hamlet is a pretty relatable character; he’s a socially anxious over-thinker who struggles with self image and the all familiar “what next?” as high school comes to an end. In other words, Henry Hamlet is the opposite of his childhood best friend, Len.
The book focuses on how these two young friends deal with the issues that pose as barriers in their lives, and how they slowly come to realize that what they really needed was right there in plain sight. As Henry’s mind enters into existential crisis mode and Len battles his grief and repressed feelings, the two best friends begin to see how the last term of their senior year might actually be quite life-changing for them. They find love, they fight it, they question it and embrace it, in all of its confusing forms.
It’s light, quick and funny in the right moments. Honestly, Henry’s friend group is the type i wished i had back in high school. It’s so delightful to see how their personalities compliment one another despite being SO different. The book gives you this nostalgic feeling, like you’ve been missing something all along and witnessing Len and Henry’s character growth is somehow that missing piece.
This was such a cute book! I loved the little tidbits of Australian culture in the book and the cast of characters was really lovable. Henry was such an entertaining character to follow and I found myself really appreciating his family and their dynamics as well. My biggest (and possibly only) gripe with the book would be the abundance of male characters, but I felt like the author really tried to include as much of the female characters who were there to make up for it. Thanks to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for the ARC.
I greatly enjoyed this book from page one. It's a wonderfully sweet childhood best friends to lovers story with a loveable cast of characters and just the right balance of emotions. I fell in love with Henry and Len and their relationship, as well as the supporting characters and Henry's family. There were just a few things that were left unclear and I wish there had been an epilogue or an extended scene at the end, since I felt like it ended a bit abruptly and we never did learn what their future post graduation looks like, but overall it was a lovely read and I will definitely be checking out more works by this author. The cover artwork is also stunning which was what prompted me to pick up this title in the first place. Greatly recommended to anyone who enjoys queer coming-of-age stories in a high-school setting.
Thanks to NetGalley and publisher for the eARC.!
I will start off by saying that I was given this book for free in exchange for an honest review from netgalley.
I loved this book, this is not my genre at all. Both contemporary and I don’t read much YA anymore but I just loved this. It’s a strong four star read for me and I would recommend it to everyone.
The writing style was great and it didn’t take long at all for me to get into the story. It was great that our main character wasn’t already in love with the love interest and it was something we got to experience with him.
A lot of coming of age stories usually have horrible parents(at least the ones I’ve read) but I thought it was great that Henry’s wasn’t and that there are more than just him and Len that is a part of the community. Hello Grams!
I really don’t have anything negative to say, but if I have to come up with a reason that it was four starts instead of five it has to be because it was very predictable. But I didn’t read this story to be shocked. I read it because I wanted to feel warm inside and that is what it did.
It gave me what I wanted.
This was so good! Made me cry a little near the end. I love a good friends to lovers story. The writing was good and I felt like the story flowed really well. Would recommend!
my rating: ★ ★ ★ ★.5
I loved this book to pieces. This coming-of-age, romance book was hilarious, emotional, wholesome and all things beautiful.
Henry Hamlet is a character I think everyone will find relatable. In his final year of school, he’s a hardworking student, captain of his school, and a great debater. But like anyone else at this stage in life, he’s plagued by self-doubt and the constant worry of “what’s next?”. His parents are super supportive, he has a younger, adorable brother and friends who care about him. But as Len, his best friend and confidante describes it, he doesn’t have “Experiences with a capital E” - as someone who’s constantly caught between worrying and dedicating his time to various pursuits, Hamlet has lost out on experiences that would typically make up for your most cherished teenage memories.
Until he kisses Len. Done as a dare, it quickly develops into very real, strong feelings that both of them have trouble denying. Young love is always beautiful, if hard to deal with and the book encompasses that as we go on Hamlet’s sometimes painful, sometimes funny and mostly beautiful journey of figuring out how to love his best friend. The side characters are quite well-developed too, and moments with them were always light, funny and emotional.
I only wish that this book was written in double pov because Len is a very complex character, more than Henry even, and since the story is mostly from Henry’s pov, I felt like many of Len’s actions and motivations were not conveyed more clearly. Also because this story was crazy cute, Len’s pov would have definitely added to its cuteness.
All in all I recommend this to anyone who’s a romance fan. Especially if you have read and enjoyed the Heartstopper series and Red White and Royal Blue, this is a book you will definitely eat up!
(Thank you to NetGalley for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review)
Henry Hamlet’s Heart was not really for me. It wasn’t bad at all, and I did like it a little, I was just a bit bored. Contemporaries are very hit or miss for me, and this one did not land. The characters are great and the romance was cute, it just never really pulled me in. But if you’re the kind of person that loves very character driven stories, I would definitely recommend this!
Do you ever feel like you've stumbled across a gem of a book and want to shout about it to the entire world? I finished this somewhere around 2 AM this morning after I accidentally read it in one day. I honestly couldn't pinpoint what it is about this book that stuck a hook in my heart and dragged me along for the ride, but I'm so happy that it got me.
There actually wasn't a character that I disliked, which is rare for me in books. I thought they all had their place and served the story well. I LOVED Henry's family; the slight dysfunctionality of it all was perfect, and I especially loved all the eccentricities of Henry's dad. And, obviously, I loved Henry and Len (both together and separately). Friends to lovers remains my favourite trope and it can never do wrong in my eyes!
I really liked the story. The last few pages (chef's kiss). If you aren't familiar with Australia/Queensland/Brisbane there are a few things that are hard to find. I would've loved more development in the beginning few pages. It's a cute tale and I'm excited for this author.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! it was an amazingly quick read and once I sat down to read it, I couldn't put it down!!
Henry Hamelts Heart is truly a captivating read. From the very beginning, I was hooked. The day I was approved to read it, I read half of it that same day. It is one of my favorite types of books, a cute LGBTQ+ romance that Doesn't make coming out the focus of the book. Instead, Rhiannon Wilde took the time to develop the friendship and romance between Len and Henry. I truly enjoyed the characters and their interactions in this book, but especially those between the Boiyssssss. Rhiannon Wilde's writing style is fresh and engaging, without seeming outdated, even in a book that takes place in 2008. I was shocked when I learned that this was only her first novel, as it has the skill and ability expected from more mature authors. I also loved the character of Emilia, and I think we all need someone like her in our life. Throughout the novel, I felt myself rooting for Len and Henry. This book is definitely one that I would recommend to my friends or anyone that asks. It was a quick read for me, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I give this book a 4.75 out of 5.
This story was heartfelt and genuine. I loved the dynamic between Henry and Len trying to figure out their futures, and now Henry gets a curveball with questioning his sexuality. It felt real and personal, where Henry's reactions were understandable: confused, messy, and throwing everything he thought he knew into question.
I wish we got to see a little more of Len's life with his family and more of his reactions, but overall I enjoyed this story to pieces.
3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for allowing me an ARC to review before it is newly released on October 18, 2022.
This book was tough for me. While I loved the concept, and I think a lot of other LGBT+ readers will LOVE this book, this kinda fell flat for me. I didn't much care for the protagonist and didn't find myself rooting for him throughout the book. His love interest is kind of dark and brooding, and honestly, I didn't want them to be together. In a lot of ways, it read to me as a very codependent relationship that would leave one or both of them spiraling and it was hard to read.
There were some really great things about it though. The characters were all different and served a purpose in the story. I loved the relationship with the grandmothers and the overall tone of the book. Just for me, it seemed to not really go anywhere, and I found myself not rooting for anyone. However, if you like other YA queer romances, I would recommend giving this one a shot, and seeing for yourself!
I struggled to get into this book and at first DNF'ed it. But, a few days later, I realized I couldn't stop thinking about Henry and Len. I went back and finished it pretty quickly after that. Once I got into it the second time, the characters really engaged me and I felt like I could relate to Henry's struggles as a queer woman. I loved that it's okay to just exist and not have everything planned out.
What a gem! (4.5 stars)
Henry Hamlet's Heart is a queer YA romance set an a Brisbane all-boys high school in 2008, and I devoured it in a day. Equal parts funny, sincere and vulnerable, this book is a tough one to put down.
I always love a good OzYA, and Wilde nailed the Aussie atmosphere. The banter, the Brisbane heat, the meat pies, the dingo-ate-your-baby jokes - it's always a treat to read a book that feels like home. And though I'm hardly qualified to comment on the feel of 2008 (... I was six) the cultural references were still a lovely touch of nostalgia (hey, people were still listening to Fall Out Boy and played snake on Nokia phones when I hit high school, I swear).
Atmosphere aside, Henry himself (self-described "writer, debater and neurotic mess") was loveable and almost eerily relatable. He made a great counterpoint to Len, and their slow progression from close friends to lovers (and all the drama along the way) was equal parts awkward, adorable and authentic. Though I felt some of the friendships felt one-dimensional in early stages of the book, they developed nicely, along with great insights into the complexities of both Henry and Len's families. Points for Henry's bisexual Gran! She's a legend.
But above all, this book was a capsule of the mixed emotions that come with the final year of high school. The uncertainty about the future, the fear that you'll drift away from your friends, the curiosity about where you'll all end up... I've never read a book that so accurately captured what those final months of Year 12 felt like for me. Oh, and there's a special kind of joy that comes from reading about students studying the books that you loved in English class.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I did feel that some characters (particularly Vince, Martin & Clarkson) struggled to develop beyond stereotypes. I also wasn't a fan of the way Hamish was written - don't get me wrong, I know writing children is no easy task, but it did feel like he was slapped in unsubtly at convenient points to make little profound points.
Overall, this was a great read, and one I'd highly recommend - especially if you've just graduated, or if you're facing down those final years of high school.
This definitely reminds me a lot of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, but it holds its own. Henry Hamlet is an adorable character. Your heart goes out to him, to all that he has to deal with. It will bring you back to how it feels to be in high school, to falling in love for the first time. Plus the side characters are darling, too? That grandma? She just gives me all the comforting feels. If you enjoyed couples such as Aristotle and Dante, Nick and Charlie, then you'll love this one. A solid 3.5 stars!
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me access to this book for an honest review.
TW: HP references, abusive parent, grief
I usually start with things I liked while reviewing but I would like to start off with the negative thing first for this one.
The HP references? Not only very harmful for the trans community but also very problematic. I just don't understand why authors won't give up on the same old wizard story references. It is 2022, we're tired, please find some new, and better, books to reference.
Except for this I actually really liked this book. Set in Australia, it revolves around a teenage boy, Henry Hamlet, who is in grade 12. We see him embark on a journey of love and friendship with his friends.
The writing style was beautiful, it made me feel all the emotions Henry goes through. It was funny, it was emotional and it was also hopeful.
I loved Lacey, Henry's family, and friends so much! The characters are written with a lot of depth, except for maybe Harrison. The bi grandma was an absolute delight to read about and the wedding made me extra happy. :')
Henry's story made me want to cry but it also made me smile a lot. I loved Len so much :') I don't know why but I got little vibes of Red, White, and Royal Blue (but the books are actually nothing alike) here and there and I'm here for it. There's also SO MUCH yearning in this novel. SO. MUCH. And I for one, love books where characters yearn. ;)
I would absolutely recommend it to everyone in need of a friends-to-lovers queer romance done really well!
I really enjoyed this. a great deal It was beautifully written and incredibly relevant in so many ways. I was sixteen when this book was set, so many of the small allusions and oh, just the sensation of first love in high school.... it was like a smack in the face (a good one!!) and brought back so many memories.
what about the characters? They were very genuine. Henry and Len in particular, but also their entire buddy circle, extended families, and teachers. They're all fantastically realized.
I was intrigued throughout the narrative and sobbed several times for a variety of reasons. This is already one of my favorite books of the year, and I know I'll be reading it again.
Henry Hamlet's Heart is a heartfelt story of two best friends falling for each other in Brisbane, Australia in the late 00s.
It's funny, light-hearted, full of banter and school shennaningans that seem like the whole world when you are a teenager. Henry is adorably nerdy while artsy Len is an amazing friend but has the habit of hiding from feelings, afraid of getting hurt.
I loved the two first parts of the book, where we watch Henry, Len and the Boyisss (their friend group) during their last school term. Henry's family is weird and full of love, and I adored his little brother Ham. Len on the other side was dealt a tougher hand, especially after his mother's death left him with his (let's be honest, absolutely terrible) father.
The third part suffered from the author's choice to use some overused and eye-rolling tropes: "I'm not worth for you", "Running away afraid of getting hurt", "I refuse to communicate". It's implied that the underlying reason for this behaviour lies with the grief of the past, but it isn't really explored - and the book is from Henry's POV, so we never know what Leni is thinking.
The finale makes up with a very sweet scene, although (as in many other YA romace books) I wish the book would have one-two more chapters with the boys being more talkative and open about their feelings instead of ending with the climax.
Another standout of the book was the Australian feel, and the 2008 feel - you could very quickly see that this book is not set in the present, without explicitly mentioning it immediately.
Thank you NetGalley and Charlesbridge Teen for the ARC of the US version!
I laughed. I cried. I fell a little more in love with love and reading. Henry Hamlet's Heart is my heartstopper<33