ARC Review: Conditions of a Heart by Bethany Mangle

Posted February 20, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in Review / 8 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Conditions of a Heart by Bethany MangleConditions of a Heart by Bethany Mangle
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on February 20, 2024
Genres: YA Contemporary, YA Contemporary Romance
Pages: 352
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: four-stars
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For fans of Talia Hibbert and Lynn Painter comes a funny and unflinchingly honest story about a teen who must come to terms with her disability and what it means for her identity, her love life, and her future.

Brynn Kwan is desperate for her high school persona to be real. That Brynn is head of the yearbook committee, the favorite for prom queen, and definitely not crumbling from a secret disability that’s rapidly wearing her down. If no one knows the truth about her condition, Brynn doesn’t have to worry about the pitying looks or accusations of being a faker that already destroyed her childhood friendships. She’s even willing to let go of her four-year relationship with her first love, Oliver, rather than reveal that a necessary surgery was the reason she ignored his existence for the entire summer.

But after Brynn tries to break up a fight at a pep rally and winds up barred from all her clubs and senior prom, she has nothing left to prop up her illusion of being just like everyone else. During a week-long suspension from school, she realizes that she doesn’t quite recognize the face in the mirror—and it’s not because of her black eye from the fight. With a healthy sister who simply doesn’t understand and a confused ex-boyfriend who won’t just take a hint and go away like a normal human being , Brynn begins to wonder if it’s possible to reinvent her world by being the person she thought no one herself.

My Review

I’ve enjoyed other books by this author, and this one was good as well! There was a lot that really made me angry for our main character. The fact that Brynn was the one who got suspended for a fight she tried to break up, one that with her disability caused her to have to go to the hospital ER, was just wow. I couldn’t believe that a school could be that blind to it. The fact that it was a private school though, really filled in the issue and then I could see how things might go that way.

Brynn’s history with friends and how they’d treated her either once they knew about her disability, or how they soon decided they were inconvenienced by it, totally made sense in why she didn’t tell her friends or even her last boyfriend. How no one at school had any idea what she dealt with. It made sense that she kept it to herself. And she had built a whole new persona about not being sick. But all of that pressure, then breaking up with her boyfriend because of a remark he made about not understanding or wanting to have to be sick like that all the time, all of it piled up on top of Brynn. And when things got crazy at school, it was like she exploded. Not only at the people at school, but at her family. Her father had the same disease, so while he understood what she was going through, he had to also make her see that maybe she was giving up. Maybe she hadn’t fought for what was right, what she wanted/needed.

There was a lot about this story that I liked, and I think I’ll probably recommend it for my state’s reading award, as I think the point of view of someone with this type of a chronic disease, as well as how the pandemic affected them is something that there are teens this will either resonate with as they see themselves in the character, or else it could help show those who have no idea what this is like a bit of walking on someone else’s shoes.

Another great book by Bethany Mangle.

About the Author


Bethany Mangle is the young adult contemporary author of PreppedAll the Right Reasons, and Conditions of a Heart. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys spoiling her dogs, playing video games, and spending time with her unbearably nerdy husband. She moves too much to put a location in her bio ever again.


Hi. I’m Bethany, a YA contemporary writer with three books out who’s living my dream of being a professional bookworm. I’m painfully introverted, but I’m working on being a little more open in the future. Besides writing, I have a lifelong love of video games. I also own way too many coloring books for a grown-up adult human being.

I split my time between West Texas and New Orleans. They’re polar opposites and amazing in their own ways. Please support my local indie, Blue Cypress Books.



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8 responses to “ARC Review: Conditions of a Heart by Bethany Mangle

  1. Sounds like a solid read and it’s great to see more books with disabled characters. That is sad Brynn has to go through some tough things in this book. Definitely sounds like a good book to recommend for your state’s reading award.

  2. Now, that would be a great edition to a teen resource library and I love that the author addressed her physical health struggle wrapped up with teen self-discovery.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I think it will be a great book to have available for our kids. I look forward to my budget next year so I can buy it.

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