Heart On A Chain by Cindy C. Bennett
17-year-old Kate has lived her whole life in abject poverty, with an alcoholic father and drug-addicted mother, who severely abuses Kate. At school, her second-hand clothing marks her as a target. Her refusal to stand up for herself makes her the recipient of her classmates taunts and bullying. That is, until Henry returns.
Henry Jamison moved away six years earlier, just as he and Kate had begun an to develop feelings for one another. He returns to find the bright, funny, outgoing girl he had known now timidly hiding in corners, barely speaking to anyone around her, suspicious of even him.
Kate can’t figure out what game Henry is playing with her – for surely it is a game. What else would the gorgeous, popular boy from her past want with her?
Kate finally decides to trust Henry’s intentions, opening her heart to him. Just when it seems he might be genuine in his friendship, tragedy strikes, threatening everything Kate has worked so hard to gain. Can Henry help her to overcome this new devastation, or will it tear them apart forever?
Heart on a Chain is a Cinderella story for modern-day high schoolers. Told almost entirely from the perspective of Kate, who is severely abused at home and bullied terribly at school, the book is predominantly a love story between Kate and her childhood sweetheart Henry.
When Henry moved away a few years earlier, he was in love with Kate; at least as in love as a young boy can be. When he returns, he is enthusiastic about renewing the friendship – and possibly more – but Kate is in no position either at school or at home for something like that.
I’m a big fan of the male point of view in romantic books, so I was happy to have a little insight from Henry at the beginning and at the end. Of course, I don’t always expect it, and it isn’t always necessary, but that little glimpse into how he felt added something to the story.
Heart on a Chain has an addictive quality to it. You just have to keep reading in order to see what could possibly happen next. You just need someone to find out about the abuse, and you’re just waiting for someone to do something about it (the teachers at Kate’s school should be ashamed of themselves!). It’s one of those books you’ll stay up late for.
I don’t know all that much about how the legal system works in America, but if it really was possible for the police to have any interest in charging Kate with anything after her ordeal then I’d say it’s time for the legal system to be overhauled!
If there was anyone in the school who should have been up on criminal charges, it was the worst of the bullies, Jessica. If I were Kate, I would be pursuing assault charges, not forgiving her! The ‘Ugly Stepsisters’ don’t always deserve a happy ending!
The appeal of Heart on a Chain is plain to see. Most people go through a bad time in their high school years, and I’m sure a lot of people wished they had a Henry to pull them out of it.