The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel and Friends on November 3, 2015
Genres: [Young Adult] Contemporary
Format: Paperback, ARC
4 Stars, Completed November 13, 2015
– SPOILER free –
I’m not sure how many times I squealed internally as I read this. Too many times to count, that’s for sure. Everything was just so adorable.
In The Anatomical Shape of a Heart (or Night Owls for some folks) Bex and Jack meet on the Night Owl bus. The mystery of strangers is what draws one to the other and Jack accidentally reveals his secret identity to Bex. Not only is Jack wildly attractive, he’s San Fran’s most wanted notorious graffiti artist. And Bex wants to figure out why Jack would put himself at risk with a criminal record. Soon they both find themselves bumping into each purposely-meaning the attraction is so strong they end up naturally seeking the other out. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is a love story of coincidence and chance between two young artists with very different artistic styles.
The best thing about this book for me was the healthy and honest relationship Bex and Jack shared. I was pretty much smiling at every single Bex and Jack scene because they were just that adorably cute together. I also loved how one challenged the other and they explored a few “firsts” together.
Another aspect of the book that I really enjoyed was the art. When I first requested this book, I believe I said something along the lines of “I took art electives throughout my years of high school and college, and I am currently a science major” to express my interest in this book. Because it’s true! I really do have an appreciation for art and my favorite museums happen to be the ones with art. However the Body Worlds traveling exhibit is pretty awesome, too. Being a student more focused on the science spectrum, I took a total of three anatomy and physiology classes and I have to admit they were probably my favorite biological science courses. So it goes without saying that I found Bex’s dream of becoming a medical illustrator super cool and unique. I’ve done dissections and have been to funerals where I’ve seen the deceased but to draw cadavers in a cold room? That takes serious guts (no pun intended).
Which brings me along to how much I really enjoyed Bex’s character. I usually find ya female MCs to be bland and on the meh side, but Bex was brave, fun, and, refreshingly, not a virgin (another bonus for this book was how it included realistically portrayed teenagers exploring sex and had sex positive vibes). Basically, she’s probably one of the more memorable protagonists I’ve read. And Jack turned out to be what he was originally described as: completely swoonworthy. Despite his charming self, there was one thing that made his character a little off… Being Buddhist myself, at first I was quite confused with his character being Buddhist and following the Zen thing, but I quickly overlooked it and it really didn’t bother me by the end. However, I can easily see why other readers found this annoying since there’s no real explanation behind why Jack chose that path; it easily could have come off as unnecessary for some.
The last set of characters I wanted to touch briefly on are the parents and their presence in the story. I rarely talk about the parental figures in ya books because, well, it usually isn’t a memorable aspect for me normally. But I really liked Katherine the Great, Bex’s overprotective mom, despite her controlling personality, and I enjoyed her contribution to the plot. I also really liked how Jack’s father decided to deal with Jack’s vandalism. Surprisingly, the role of parents was really interesting for me in this. And, thankfully, the overbearing mother figure didn’t drive me up the walls as it did in Saint Anything and Everything, Everything.
And oh, that sweet ending. I just loved how cleanly wrapped up this was. Sometimes a Sarah Dessen open ended ending is nice, but it’s also nice to have a finalized ending where readers are certain how it ends.
So if you’re looking for a light contemporary with a cute relationship between two young teenagers and happen to also appreciate art, I highly recommend Jenn Bennett’s debut into ya. It was so, so enjoyable and perfect for helping me get out of my reading slump!
Special thanks to Feiwel and Friends for giving me the opportunity to read and review The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. In no way did this affect my reading experience or honest review.