Saturday, October 3, 2015

ARC Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published: November 3, 2015
ARC via NetGalley
Amazon // Goodreads

A mysterious graffiti artist, an anatomy-obsessed artist, and a night bus that will bring the two together.

Artist 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 Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

Oh, me gusta. Me gusta mucho. This book is absolutely fantastic. Never before have I been as stunned by a ‘fluffy’ contemporary novel as this one.  Compelling and gorgeous, heartbreaking and hilarious, THE ANATOMICAL SHAPE OF A HEART is a story to pre-order. I recommend it will all my heart.

Bex and Jack are artists. They meet like a Journey song- on a midnight train. At first look there’s the connection that is so hard to capture in words, but when done well, it sets the reader up for a fantastic tale of events. They have secrets. About their family and about themselves. This book is self-discovery. Let’s begin with Bex.

Okay, so after her father cheats on her mother she dives into her art full force. She wants to be the one to draw all the medical stuff in textbooks and for medical journals and all that stuff. So she has the brilliant idea to go draw cadavers at the hospital. When she meets Jack she gets defensive. Which is the logical reaction to meeting a super-hot guy with gold spray paint just like the person who’s been tagging the city and maybe sort of stalks you and flirts with you and takes you to tea. I was so freaking happy that she was logical. I was also extremely happy that Jack didn’t give up. For Bex, this drawing of cadavers is for a competition which will help her pay for college. Something super, super important. Although she adores her brother, he isn’t all that skilled at staying in college. (also, quick note, I love how sexuality was addressed with her brother is a totally non-stereotypical way and Saint Noah*gushes*)

Jack has a secret. It’s the reason for the gold words spelling things like rise, and endure, and bloom, and celebrate. Okay so the last one was the ultimate romantic gesture. Jack not the guy who will write you poetry or play the guitar or sing you ballads. Nope. He’s a total guy. Like a real life, I would totally believe you went to my school if you weren’t so hot kind of guy. It is so fantastic. The words written for their conversations were witting and sarcastic. The blushes and the hope. I mean, how often do you run into a vandal-Buddhist-vegetarian-jewel thief? There was this one scene at a party and Bex says they’re just friends, which granted, probably really hurts because at this point he’s practically shouting how amazing and unique and how much he likes spending time with her from the rooftop, but instead of freaking out and going all ape man he talks to her. Is it horrible that I swooned that he talked to her? Is that weird?

Do you want to know the best part of this book though? Like, do you really what to know why I was smiling the entire way through, even when bad stuff happened? These characters- Bex and Jack- even though they had no freaking clue who they were or where their lives were going to take them or what was around the corner, they were always true to themselves. They didn’t try to change themselves. They didn’t want to make the other better or modify themselves to makes themselves feel better. They simply were. Is there anything, really, that is more beautiful than that? They genuinely liked who they were. They might not have liked the situation, but they made the best of it.

This book addresses a bunch of stuff- maybe not stoplight on it as much as leaning what being alive meant-but lots of stuff still. Mental illness. Sexuality. Family. Politics. Love.

There isn’t anything quote-worthy because everything was quote-worthy. I loved how they talked to each other. How they didn’t give up. Sweet Lord, I admired them. So much. This book felt like the best kind of growing up. And on that note, GO PRE-ORDER IT. RIGHT NOW. GO ON.

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