Hummingbird Heart Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Hummingbird Heart

Dylan meets her birth father for the first time and must decide whether or not she wants to donate bone marrow to her newly discovered half-sister and also whether or not she still wants her father to be part of her life. Dylan is a young girl who is happy living with her mother and adopted sister but occasionally wonders about who her birth father is. Every year, she sends her birth father a photograph of herself and a letter, but she never receives any reply. Dylan's mom is obsessed with tattoos, and, much to Dylan's disapproval, has nineteen of them and counting all over her body. Dylan wishes she could just have a normal life like her friend, Toni, who has a mother and father, a minivan and a golden retriever. She has a crush on a cute boy named Jax, but she thinks Jax would probably prefer dating a girl like Toni, not a girl from a messed family like her own.
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One day, her mom tells Dylan that she received a phone call her Dylan's dad and he wants to meet her. Dylan decides she doesn't want to meet him after all, and her mom seems relieved. Later, at a party, Dylan officially introduces herself to Jax and instantly feels chemistry with him. At the party, Toni convinces Dylan that she's got to meet with her dad. Later that week, she calls her dad and has an awkward and short phone call conversation with him determining that everyone should meet for dinner while he's in town. Dylan wonders why he wants to meet her after so many years of silence. Before the dinner, Dylan's mom reveals that she never sent any of Dylan's photos or letters and that was why Dylan's dad never sent her any replies. Dylan is furious.

When they meet Dylan's dad, he turns out to be a pretty down to earth guy. He even lets Dylan speak to her half-sister, Casey, over the phone. Dylan confronts her dad about why he never made more effort to get in contact with her and he avoids answering the question. Instead, he asks to speak to Dylan's mother in private. Dylan and her adopted sister, Karma, go for a walk. When they come back to the restaurant, Dylan's mom is upset and they leave the restaurant without even saying goodbye to Dylan's dad. Dylan's mom refuses to explain the details of why she's upset – she simply asks Dylan to forget about ever meeting her dad again because he's a selfish man.

Dylan decides to visit her dad at his lawyer firm to get to the bottom of the situation. Her dad finally explains that her half-sister, Casey, has leukemia and needs a bone marrow transplant and she may be the only one who has the right bone marrow to donate. Dylan has mixed emotions –she's angry that her father hasn't contacted her for her entire life and only thought to contact her now because he cares more about his other daughter.

Meanwhile, things move really quickly between Dylan and Jax, culminating with Jax trying to sleep with her. Dylan is a virgin and she's not ready to move that fast so she has to distance herself from Jax. The next day, Dylan's mom tells her that she had run away from Dylan's dad when she found out she was pregnant because Dylan's dad and her had already broken up and moved on with their lives. She tells Dylan that her dad never knew about her and that's why he never tried to contact her. Dylan decides she's going to be Casey's bone marrow donor but she doesn't want to meet Casey because she doesn't want to be sad if Casey succumbs to her cancer. She gets her blood tested to confirm if she's a match for Casey.

Meanwhile, she invites Jax, Toni and some others over to her house. Jax brings some joints and Dylan gets stoned. While everyone is stoned, Toni tells Dylan that she's pregnant. Because Dylan is high, she doesn't really censor herself and ends up telling Jax this news. Dylan and Jax get into an argument about what would hypothetically happen to Dylan's baby if she hypothetically got pregnant as a teenager. Toni gets mad at Dylan for spreading her secret.

One day, Dylan finally meets Casey and has a good moment of bonding with her and her dad. Dylan makes up with Toni, promising to help her make her decision on whether she wants to keep her baby or not. She also breaks up with Jax. A few days later, she gets a phone call from her dad saying that Casey got really sick and her blood counts are down. Dylan hopes that her blood tests will reveal that she can be Casey's donor as she feels like time is running out. Dylan visits Casey at the hospital to spend time with her. One day, Dylan's dad tells her that there is a bone marrow donor available in Toronto and he plans on taking Casey there for treatment. They still don't know whether Dylan's blood is a match but they may not need to use her as a donor anymore. The story ends with Dylan's dad wanting Dylan to be closer to him and his family.
Best part of story, including ending: I thought the story was a very genuine portrayal of how a teenage girl might feel upon learning the "ugly" truth behind her birth and all the mistakes her parents have made that culminated in her current life. In particular, Lou's relationship with her mom is very complicating and full of misunderstandings that could easily ruin a relationship. Because her mom had made a series of bad decisions in her youth, Lou becomes estranged from her father for most of her life. But, can Lou really blame her mother, who was a teenager at the time she made those critical decisions?

Best scene in story: My favorite scene was when Lou and Casey finally meet. Casey is much younger than Lou and has the innocent charm of a toddler. It was because of Casey that Lou was willing to give her father another chance and set aside past misunderstandings.

Opinion about the main character: I like that, in the end, Lou didn't blame her parents for the reason why her own life became so complicating. She was able to understand and forgive her mother, especially, for what she did during a time in her life when she was very young and had to make decisions on her own.

The review of this Book prepared by Sharon C. a Level 12 Black-Throated Green Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of Hummingbird Heart

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   very sensitive (sigh) Time/era of story    -   2000+ (Present Day) Family, caring for ill    -   Yes Who is sick?    -   Sister because he/she is    -   physically ill Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   student Age:    -   a teen Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Canadian (Aboot!)


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () City?    -   Yes City:    -   dirty, grimy (like New York)

Writing Style

Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Robin Stevenson Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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