Judging the Cover
While Unwrap My Heart by Alex Falcone and Ezra Fox may have gotten its dusty, bandaged fingers around my heart, the cover design brought mummy-preservation-threatening tears to my eyes. The cover is poorly-paired and even more poorly kerned typography above an illustration of a human and mummy about to hold hands. The illustration has merit, it’s a cute style that fits the tone of the story. Everything else, however (Publisher’s Weekly quote excluded because it’s hilarious) hurts to see, and I can only hope that the authors will consider releasing an anniversary or collector’s edition with a better cover. If they don’t have time to do it themselves then I’m sure a book cover designer or design agency would be happy to help them bring this comedic take on the young adult genre to its fullest potential.
What’s the Story?
Unwrap My Heart is the classic romance story: boy meets girl, boy is a recently reanimated mummy, girl is a highschool student with a mysterious lineage.
On a more serious note, Unwrap My Heart follows the adventures of Sofia: your regular teenage girl who quickly falls for the new boy in school. They get paired up for a school project and immediately hit it off, much to the chagrin of Sofia’s childhood best friend. However, the more time Sofia spends with this hipstery new guy, the more she becomes sure that something is off with him. He keeps disappearing for days at a time, and now two goons are following her around. What’s happening? And does it have anything to do with her missing mother?
My Slightly Spoilery Scrutiny
I think it’s very important to go into Unwrap My Heart with the knowledge that it is a parody book. The authors, who conceived of the idea on their podcast Read It And Weep, are comedians, and they’re approaching this from a comedian’s point of view. That being said, not only is this book ridiculously funny (I often found myself stifling laughter) but it manages to also drive home some very salient points about how YA romance is often portrayed.
The age gap is something that is not-so-subtly mocked, which I enjoyed immensely. Despite my love of dark romance, when reading about underage characters I get very skeeved out by age gaps of 5 years, let alone 200 years. Seth, the mummy in the story, died when he was 16 and has no recollection or experience of the intervening 2,000 years before he was resurrected and met Sofia. This puts him, physically, mentally, and emotionally, at her age, so the following romance wasn’t creepy or off putting (unless you have an aversion to mummies).
Other problematic tropes that were critiqued during Unwrap My Heart was teenage/parent relationships, love triangles, childhood friends who feel ownership over the protagonist but don’t act until someone else shows interest, and the empowerment of teenage girls to make their own choices without isolating her from her support network.
Sofia has a healthy relationship with her father, who is a positive influence on her, and who was lowkey my favorite character. I thought he was absolutely hilarious and very well written, and I was pleasantly taken by surprise that he and Sofia had an open, communicative, and supportive relationship. It was wonderful to see, and I hope I see more of it in the future.
At first glance this might not seem like a four star read. However, the more I thought about it, considering the surprisingly relevant and well-written criticism of the YA genre and the way the authors balanced comedy with an actually emotionally touching story of familial and romantic love I knew I couldn’t rate this any lower. It’s not a masterpiece, hence only four stars, but I do think it was a quick, entertaining, and a good read. At the end of the story (and there was an exciting climax that had me holding my breath at times), a sequel was teased and I’ll say right now that I would love to read a sequel and see what happens next in Sofia’s life. Maybe a New Adult romance parody is due?
Theme song: Walk Like an Egyptian (spotify, youtube, apple music)
Title: Unwrap My Hears: or It’s Time for Mummies
Author: Alex Falcone and Ezra Fox
Publisher: Completely Legitimate Publishing