Once Upon a Broken Heart

Flatiron. (Once Upon a Broken Heart: Bk. 1). Sept. 2021. 416p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250268396.
Gr 8 Up–Evangeline thinks she has found true love with Luc, until he betrays her and abruptly proposes to her stepsister Marisol. Her anger and hurt cause her to do the unthinkable—pray to Jacks, a Fate known as the Prince of Hearts, who has a reputation for being untrustworthy. He grants her request to stop the wedding in exchange for three kisses. But the stories about Jacks were right, and while Jacks does stop the wedding, Evangeline finds herself in quite a predicament. The lush worldbuilding Garber is known for is on full display here. While there is a modern edge to the characters, they’re dressed in corsets and other 19th-century garb, while dealing with magical spell books, curses, and vampires. Evangeline, with her rose-gold hair, is a feisty but sweet heroine. The pacing is dynamic—it’s hard to put this one down. The cliff-hanger ending is a clear setup for a sequel, but no one will be complaining about the opportunity to revisit this intricately imagined world. Most of the main characters are cued white with the exception of Luc, who is described as having brown skin. Fans of the “Caraval” series will no doubt be happy to see Jacks in his own leading role, but this spin-off series opener can be enjoyed without knowledge of that story.
VERDICT Garber already has a following, so expect this to circulate well.

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