One young woman's journey to find her place in the world as the separate strands of her life - family, money, school, and love - begin to tangle.
All Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a Marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy's moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy's hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia in Izzy's junior year, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school - even if she is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy's family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she's been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.
How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy's journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.
"How to Build a Heart" was a Kirkus Best Books of 2020 pick, a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Award winner, and finalist for the Maine Literary Award 2020.
- Amy Macdonald in the Portland Press Herald calls How to Build a Heart "A story of finding one's moral compass in an uncertain world filled with bigotry and bias."
- An absolutely enthralling depiction of family and self-discovery.
- Kirkus, Starred Review
- Padian creates a world that the reader can easily dive into. Anyone who's ever been a self-conscious teen will see themselves in Izzy.
- Book Riot
- Padian creates a compelling world with relatable characters and deals with serious issues without feeling heavy-handed ... An excellent classroom or book discussion starter.
- School Library Journal
- Padian takes a familiar theme - a girl hiding her background from others - and makes it fresh with her protagonist, Izzy Crawford. ... Throughout the novel, Izzy's strength, candor and humanity shine through.