Happily Ever After Book Nerd Recommendation
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Young artist Beatrix just wants to get into the hospital’s Willed Body program area so that she can study real cadavers to improve her art work and one day illustrate medical texts. One evening on the Night Owl bus, Beatrix meets the mysterious Jack and she can’t stop thinking about him. When Beatrix finds out Jack is a locally famous graffiti artist, she begins spending time with him. But not everything is easy in Beatrix’s life and she’s about to confront the truth behind parts of her past while also finding ways to push towards her future.
I love Jenn Bennett’s adult romance series so I was very curious about her writing young adult. I was very happy with this book; it had the quirky, interesting characters, great romance, and wonderful writing that Bennett is known for. I liked that Beatrix was different but didn’t consider herself the misunderstood, moody teenager. She was comfortable with who she was and didn’t feel like she didn’t belong in this world. She was very mature for her age, but considering I was the same way growing up I probably related very strongly to this part of her personality. I also liked the way Bennett portrayed the side characters in the book. For instance, Beatrix’s brother is an openly gay man but his character isn’t used to make a point or be a stereotype; he’s just a character. Bennett always does a great job with characterization so I felt like I really knew the characters as if they were real friends of mine.
I also really liked Jack, though he was pretty perfect in that way that young adult romance heroes often are. But I was ok with that because it’s fiction and sometimes you want your characters to be better than regular people. The reasoning behind Jack’s graffiti was very sweet if a little misguided in terms of legalities but he just wanted to make his sister happy. Though Jack was reluctant to be in a serious relationship he was fascinated by Beatrix and their sweet romance was great to read. This book is very sex-positive with a very open and mature look at sex between teenagers. I respected how Bennett handled this topic as it can be very sensitive but often gets handled poorly in books for young adults.
I loved the book but it didn’t have the same kick that Bennett’s adult romances have for me. This is purely personal preference and I think it mostly comes from not being a teenager anymore and struggling to really connect with young adult books. There was nothing wrong with Bennett’s writing or storytelling, I’m just looking for more adult characters now.
5 out of 5 stars
Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she’s spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Da Vinci’s footsteps, she’s ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive, and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in her family’s closet tear them apart?
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3, 2015