Shark Heart by Emily Habeck

Published: August 8, 2023

S&S / Marysue Rucci Books

Genre: Literary Fiction

Pages: 415

KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Emily Habeck has a BFA in theater from SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts as well as master’s degrees from Vanderbilt Divinity School and Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She grew up in Ardmore, Oklahoma.

For Lewis and Wren, their first year of marriage is also their last. A few weeks after their wedding, Lewis receives a rare diagnosis. He will retain most of his consciousness, memories, and intellect, but his physical body will gradually turn into a great white shark. As Lewis develops the features and impulses of one of the most predatory creatures in the ocean, his complicated artist’s heart struggles to make peace with his unfulfilled dreams.

At first, Wren internally resists her husband’s fate. Is there a way for them to be together after Lewis changes? Then, a glimpse of Lewis’s developing carnivorous nature activates long-repressed memories for Wren, whose story vacillates between her childhood living on a houseboat in Oklahoma, her time with a college ex-girlfriend, and her unusual friendship with a woman pregnant with twin birds. Woven throughout this bold novel is the story of Wren’s mother, Angela, who becomes pregnant with Wren at fifteen in an abusive relationship amidst her parents’ crumbling marriage. In the present, all of Wren’s grief eventually collides, and she is forced to make an impossible choice.

“I’m not worried at all.”

Wren never expected to fall in love. She was planning on getting her education and landing a high-paying job. Then fun-loving and charismatic Lewis stumbles into her life. And things are perfect until they aren’t.

I initially chose this book because the cover was gorgeous and had a shark on it. I didn’t know the story, so going in, I had an open mind.

The metaphors and imagery used throughout this novel were stunning. I associated the mutation as an entry into grief and working through those steps.

I liked Wren. She was solid and serious. I love that Lewis brought out the cheerfulness in her with his outgoing personality. Their dynamic was lovely. Lewis was boisterous and passionate. He balanced Wren beautifully.

This was written in a very lyrical style, and that made the story feel both longer and shorter, which won’t make sense unless you read the book.

This was a unique storyline, with a plot that had a little bit of everything. The pacing was perfect for the narrative, and the ending was spectacular.

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