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Extended Audio Sample What Hearts, by Bruce Brooks Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (243 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Bruce Brooks Narrator: John McDonough Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Recipient of a 1993 Newbery Honor, this novel is an achingly beautiful, powerfully rendered journey through childhood that is not to be missed.

Straight A’s and an Empty House

The day Asa wins a prize at school, he loses a home, takes a night ride on a roller coaster, and finds out that life doesn’t always run on tracks.

The Variety Show

Asa’s a lone operator, but he’s needed on his friend’s team—to recite a poem that’s about as real as the sunshine in cigarette commercials.

Playing with the Quik-E-Freeze Cool Guys

Seven moves in three years, and now Asa can’t have the room he wants in his new house. His fake dad’s a bully, Asa knows everything, and baseball’s a great way to act it all out.

How to Say I Love You, Too

His mom’s back and Asa’s looking down the road again, wondering if his life will stand still long enough for him to risk falling in love.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brooks blends fine sportswriting with a keen insight into the human heart.”

    Children’s Literature

  • “Effectively revealing the psychological burdens of an intelligent, sensitive child, this book remains honest and intense from beginning to end.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Combines fast, exciting action with an astonishing ending that proves the power of the individual imagination.”


  • “A boy’s coming-of-age story set within a troubled stepfamily is a worthy endeavor, and Brooks is extremely skilled in describing psychological subtleties of thoughts, feelings, and relationships.”  

    School Library Journal

  • “From an outstandingly perceptive writer, a moving portrait of a boy, observed at four revealing turning points.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • A Newbery Honor Book
  • An ALA Notable Book for Children
  • An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
  • A 1993 New York Public Library Book for Teens

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Peggy | 1/25/2014

    " Hmmmm. Not my favorite book. I finished it, but not because I loved it. I kept looking to see if maybe I had accidently picked up an abridged version by mistake or something; it just seemed so choppy. And we get more than half way through before we're told that Asa's mom is manic/depressive???? I mean, isn't that sort of an important detail? It becomes awfully important in the second half, so why aren't we even given an inkling of an idea in the first half? And his dad just disappears? And even though Asa describes this great relationship with him at first he never really gives him so much as another thought throughout the rest of the book? Even while he deals with his step-father? UGH!!!! This could have been a good book... except.... well.... IT ISN'T!!!! We never stay focused on anything long enough. You know what I will say? It's a great title. It really is. You have to get all the way to the end of the book to understand the title, but it's a good one. No, a great one. But that's the best thing I can say about this book. I will not be recommending it to anyone - middle school, young adult or adult. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Shelby Shibalover | 1/16/2014

    " not bad, i liked it. but i felt as if it had no main focus to it, no climax or problem. it actually crossed me as rather depressing...reminded me of rejection and hard times. definelty not a favorite! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kyrie | 1/8/2014

    " Sometimes I wonder what qualifies a book for a Newberry Award. This one was rather depressing and I just didn't like it. I guess it was too close to how life really is to make me very happy. I can look around me and see lives that aren't going great and stories that don't get resolved. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Jrobertus | 12/14/2013

    " a newberry award winning young adult novel, and i see why. it relates 4 episodes in a sensitive boys life and tells them well. "

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About the Author
Author Bruce Brooks

Bruce Brooks was born in Virginia and began writing fiction at age ten. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1972 and from the University Of Iowa Writer’s Workshop in 1980. He has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, newsletter editor, movie critic, teacher, and lecturer. He has twice received the Newbery Honor, first in 1985 for Moves Make the Man, and again in 1992 for What Hearts. He is also the author of Everywhere, Midnight Hour Encores, Asylum for Nightface, Vanishing, and Throwing Smoke. He lives in Brooklyn.