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Melt My Heart | Bethany Rutter | Review

Lily Rose loves her own fat body, but she can't shake the idea that no one would ever choose her over her gorgeous twin sister, Daisy - not when they could have the thin twin. That is, until she meets Cal...

This is Lily's summer of new things. It's her last summer in the lovely seaside town she grew up in before she leaves for university in the autumn and, although she should be excited, she can't quite bring herself to be. She's spending the summer working with her best friend, Cassie, at Cassie's parent's ice cream stand; doing one new thing every day to prepare herself for the shock of moving away; and she's met a cute boy, Cal, who for once actually likes her rather than her twin sister, Daisy. But that's exactly what starts to cause problems. How can Lily tell Daisy that she's dating Daisy's crush? And why isn't she as into Cal as she should be? 

On top of that, results day is looming, and with it the end of the summer and the biggest new thing, leaving behind Lily's beloved home, the streets of which are being covered in hateful anonymous posters; Daisy, who isn't happy that they'll be attending different universities; and Cassie, the only person Lily ever really wants to spend her time with. Then, of course, there's the fact that Lily is keeping a secret. One much more important than dating Cal. She's not actually sure she wants to go to university at all.

Melt My Heart is a story of self-discovery. Over the course of one summer Lily is confronted with a lot of truths to face and decisions of how she will deal with them, and although these choices may overwhelm Lily, the narrative doesn't feel bloated or overly complicated. Each piece of Lily's summer weaves together to show the ultimate lesson she must learn, that she needs to trust her own feelings. Readers who enjoy coming of age stories will find a lot to love in watching Lily grapple with both the new things she chooses and the ones that surprise her, and although the ending seems to come quickly, it is anything but unsatisfying.

As with the protagonist of Rutter's last book, No Big Deal, Lily is fat, and although she has insecurities related to that, which are exacerbated by her skinny twin sister, Daisy, making comments she doesn't always realise are hurtful, Lily never considers losing the weight, and the narrative never suggests that she should. The only thing Lily needs to change is to trust herself more, and once she does, she finds rewards that any reader will agree she deserves. This is an ideal book for teen readers who are still discovering themselves, as that is exactly who Lily is, confident in some ways, but still growing in many others. Once again, Bethany Rutter has created a protagonist who feels like a real teenager, with all the confusion, pain, and joy that entails.

An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley for review. All opinions expressed are the reviewer's own.

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