Review: Hearts Alight by Elliot Cooper

Dave Cunningham hates the rampant consumerism that’s come to dominate his family’s Hanukkah celebrations. But a chance to bring a bit of a holiday happiness to his long-time crush, Amit Cohen, helps put him in a more festive mood.

In the quest to craft the perfect gift, Dave tries to urge a few personal details out of stoic Amit. Unintentionally, he learns the Cohen family’s secret: Amit is a golem. But Amit has a problem that runs deeper than his magical origin, and a Hanukkah miracle might be the only thing that will keep the budding flame between him and Dave from going out.

I went into this pretty naïve about what a golem was and admit to googling it. Once I did a bit of light research, getting the gist of a golem being probably made of clay and unfinished in the eyes of God, I was more than curious how this would all work out.

Dave, I get him. Though our religions are different, the way he feels about the present-palooza that is taking over Hanukah is how I feel with the commercialization of Christmas. Through all we think we have to do, have to buy and to keep up with the Joneses, it lessens the true meaning of the holiday. I mean, I do get trying to blend the modern traditions with the old but still… ugh.


But Dave, he is willing to put it aside to hang out with his friend Jake and get a chance to see his crush, Jake’s uncle Amit. Goodness, that first glimpse of Amit at the bar all stoic and silent just pulled at my heart. Seeing him through Dave’s eyes really gives you the chance to see Amit for the beautiful man that he is. He is also the man Dave is trying to make a gift for, the perfect gift and one that isn’t bought. When a jerk wad makes fun of Amit and Amit takes off, Dave goes after him and we get to learn a secret.

Your secret sort of challenged everything I thought I understood about the world. And just...everything. So I kept thinking about it and what it meant and what it could mean.

Knowing the small amount of information regarding golems, I found it so very endearing that Dave takes Amit to his father’s shop and shows him the dreidels he has made. The way he takes care of them and who he makes them for makes a lot of sense and when Amit tells his secret about being a golem and Dave touches him… the connection and chemistry was amazing to witness.

I like that Jake tells Dave Amit can “recharge” his batteries when touched by someone who cares. Obviously, Jake and Shoshanna care about him but the difference between familial love and that of a romantic love could be what keeps Amit Earth bound, even after he’s fulfilled his spiritual obligation.

The date playing D&D and Amit setting up his character was adorable. I loved his character’s name and all that he put in as traits. The uncertainty of the new relationship with Amit and Dave was bittersweet as Dave accepts Amit but there are the facts of his being non –human that could make things difficult.
The first night of Hanukah with Dave’s family was just adorable and the exchange of gifts between Amit and Dave were sigh worthy. This story, was so hopeful and heartfelt that I wasn’t ready for it to end. I just hope whatever Dave learns from Joe is magical enough to let this new relationship continue for a very long time.

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