Review: Hello, Cruel Heart by Maureen Johnson

Hello, Cruel WorldHello, Cruel World by Maureen Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

Hello, Cruel Heart is an origin story of sorts for one of my favorite villains ever, Cruella de Vil.

The timing for this release is perfect for Cruella fans, as we also have a live action Cruella film releasing at the end of May, starring Emma Stone.

We all know, I just love when a villain gets her time to shine.

In this story, set in 1967-London, we follow a 16-year old, Estella, Cruella’s true name, as she branches out for the first time and tries to find her place in the world.

Orphaned at a young age, Cruella moved herself, and her sweet dog, Buddy, to London, knowing not a soul in the world.

It’s on that first day in the city that she meets Jasper and Horace. The three kids immediately bond while fleeing from the local police.

They’re inseparable from that point forward, doing whatever they need to do to survive. They become family and rely on one another for everything.

In her quiet moments, Estella dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer. She spends a lot of her time sewing and creating. She’s really good at it. She has an eye.

It is partly due to this special talent that she drifts onto the radar of wealthy twins, Magda and Richard, who sweep her into their world as a sort of pet project.

They’re posh, sophisticated and live a carefree lifestyle that Estella can’t even imagine.

She’s blinded by the money and social circle, thinking she can use their friendship as a jumping off point for getting her name, and fashion designs, out in the world.

Before she knows it, it’s all happening. Everything she ever dreamed of. She’s dating a rock star, for goodness sake!

She’s also keeping her alter-ego, Cruella, quietly subdued in the background of her mind.

Everything is going great, until it isn’t.

I had fun with this story. It reads incredibly fast. I read it in about 4-hours. I enjoyed learning about Cruella’s early life and gaining some insight into her motivations as a character. I see you, Cruella. I get it.

Although the story was quick, it did transport me. I was fully engulfed in the world while I was reading it.

With this being said, I did expect a bit more substance. I would have been here for even more detail and background. Especially coming from Maureen Johnson.

If you are a Cruella fan, a villain origin story fan, or even just a Disney fan, I would recommend checking this one out.

It is definitely a great way to get you in the mood for the upcoming movie. I know I will definitely be watching it.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I appreciate it very much!

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