Henry Hamlet’s Heart by Rhiannon Wilde
A drunken game of truth or dare. Secret wishes tossed into a campfire. The last days of Year 12. A kiss.
Rhiannon Wilde’s YA debut, Henry Hamlet’s Heart, is a gorgeous queer love story set amidst the sun-soaked streets of Brisbane. It’s a story about two childhood best friends falling into feelings they didn’t know they had – and falling hard. One of the boys is the awkward, introspective, basically-just-a-mess Henry Hamlet and the other is Len, effortlessly cool, charmingly aloof, everything Henry isn’t. They’ve been friends for as long as they can remember, but things are different during their last year of high school. The air is charged with something new.
Wilde’s writing immediately drew me in with its deft combination of humour, heart and lyrical dialogue. The story is tinged with a persistent haze of warm nostalgia, as if every moment is a faded polaroid hidden away in the attic. Some moments are joyful, others are heartbreaking, some are just hilarious, but each one perfectly captures the peaks and valleys of teenage romance.
I fell in love with Wilde’s world of richly drawn characters, especially the achingly complex Henry and Len. I desperately wanted the best for both of them, hanging on to every word; half of me itching to know what happened next, the other half copying out yet another stunningly beautiful sentence to put on my wall. If you’re looking for something new to warm your heart this winter, look no further than this brilliant summer romance. For ages 14+.