Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Posted October 29, 2015 by Nick/ 41 Comments

Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn BennettThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart
by Jenn Bennett
Release Date: November 3rd 2015
Published by Feiwel & Friends
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: ARC, eARC
Pages: 304
Buy on AmazonBuy on B&N
four-half-stars
Source: ARC received for review purposes

Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo 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?

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


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I don’t know what it was about this book’s synopsis, but something about it immediately captured my attention and I was dying to get my hands on a copy. Maybe it was the fact that the book has an anatomy artist. Or maybe it was the fact that it featured a graffiti artist who sounded sexy as sin. I went into The Anatomical Shape of a Heart with certain expectations and the book delivered in every way. YA contemporary fans are going to LOVE this book!

For a YA contemporary romance novel to really shine for me, the characters need to be compelling. Thankfully, Jenn Bennett seems to be talented at writing these authentic characters that come to life throughout the story. Beatrix Adams, the main character whose POV through which the book is written in, was probably one of my all-time favorite female characters. I loved that she was this character with aspirations that went beyond the norm and that she actually took the steps that she needed to in order to go after her dreams. Her passion for art, specifically anatomical/medical art, was unique, quirky, refreshing and contagious. Not to mention, her character growth throughout The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was smoothly executed. You actually see the subtle changes that occur to her character’s personality as a reader and that in itself made the book engaging.

Jack, a graffiti artist that she crosses paths with one random day, was just as well fleshed out for me. I expected him to be a dark bad boy character, but he was a sweetheart who easily charmed his way into my heart. He was battling with his issues with a family member being admitted to the psych ward, and the reason behind his vandalism was actually kind of heartfelt. You feel for this boy and fall in love with him over and over again as he opened up to Bex and the reader. Plus, he was a practicing Buddhist (a first in YA book as far as I know!). As a Buddhist myself, that delighted me to no ends. Despite all the obstacles he had to face, Jack always managed to be funny and made me smile like a goof whenever he was on page. There was just something special about his character that made you wish that he were your boyfriend instead of Bex’.

Besides having memorable characters, the romance between Jack and Bex too was beautifully written. I was in love with the love that grew between Jack and Bex. The flirtatious moments, the banter, the kisses and the conversations they had were sparkling with the intense chemistry that they shared. I loved this romance because you can see them slowly falling for each other throughout the book. Jenn Bennett makes you believe that the two of them are meant to be together and that nothing can really tear them apart. It was a powerful, touching and profound romance based on trust and mutual respect, one that I have no doubt readers will adore. Jack and Bex talk about everything and that made the shipper in me very happy. The book handled sex in such a positive and practical way – Jack and Bex discuss their fears and expectations of sex, which is something that is almost unheard of in YA but is still incredibly important.

The Anatomical Shape of Heart also heavily focused on family as a theme. Both Bex and Jack’s families play crucial roles in the book that went beyond just being secondary characters. The parents especially are part of their kids’ lives through and through, something that I appreciated. Their families weren’t without their flaws, but then again, whose family is? One thing I’ve learned from reading The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is that Jenn Bennett is masterful at blending together themes and making each one them equally important. Her writing was undoubtedly addicting and I sincerely hope she will continue to write more books in this genre because YA needs more mature, thoughtful and important books like The Anatomical Shape of a Heart.

I hope I was able to convince you to give this book a try. This is honestly going to go down as one of my favorite books of the year. I was able to finish this one within 2 days because I had a hard time looking away from it. If you’re a reader who enjoys sex positive romance novels with a strong focus on character evolution and family, then no excuses, you MUST read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart. While I wait for Jenn Bennett to explore YA further, I’m off to read her adult books.

 

Some of my favorite non-spoiler quotes from The Anatomical Shape of a Heart:

 

anatomical

  • I’ve spent the last three days at the Zen Center trying to get back on my feet, and you just pull me up like it’s nothing.
  • “Hey, Bex?” Jack said as he grated. “Just so we’re clear, if we were alone, I’d probably kiss you right now.”
  • “What do I want?” His fingers brushed over loose strands of hair near my temple. “I want to call you every five minutes. I want to text you good night every night. I want to make you laugh. And I want you to look at me like you did that first night on the bus.”
  • He was kissing me like we were both on fire and he was trying to put the flames out, and I kissed him back like an arsonist with a pocketful of matches

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  • I have been hearing nothing but amazing things about this one so I’ll definitely have to pick it up soon. Jack and Bex sound like a couple that I need to meet 😀 A beautifully written romance with a family themed book? Uh…YES, PLEASE.

    Awesome review, Nick!

    Christy @ Novel Ink recently posted: Reading slumps…what’s the cause?
    • Nick

      It’s so good, Christy! You should definitely check it out. Jack is so swoony! 🙂
      Thank you!

  • What a wonderful review, Nick!! I love the sound of this, and wow, I need to meet Bex and Jack, their romance and story seem so vibrant(and swoony). I loved Jenn Bennett’s historical romances, so I’m making to check this one out!! Thanks 🙂

    • Nick

      Thank you, Kim! You would absolutely love this one. I just read my first HR from her and enjoyed it so much as well. 🙂

  • I’ve heard amazing things about this one! Should get around to reading it. 🙂

    • Nick

      YOU SHOULD! 😀

  • I don’t think I have heard a bad thing about this book. I definitely should have signed up for the tour and now I’m regretting it. This sounds like such a wonderful read and I think I may have to purchase so it can try and get me out of this reading slump that I am in. Plus, family themed? There aren’t many of those, so COUNT ME IN 🙂

    Erica @ Novel Ink recently posted: Reading slumps…what’s the cause?
    • Nick

      It’s worth the purchase, Erica! I really hope you will love it as well. And I agree! We need more family themed books. 🙂

  • Yay for parents that actually play a positive role in a YA book! How sad is it that this is an anomaly? Lovely review, I so want to read this now!

    • Nick

      Right? It’s very sad! I think you’d love this one!!

  • So agree with you! I finished this book a few weeks ago and I’m in love with it. The characters are awesome and the romance makes me swoon <3 Wish I have my own Jack right now xD

    Tiffany @ The Bookish Thought recently posted: Blog Tour : Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall (+Giveaway)
    • Nick

      Yay! So happy you enjoyed it too, Tiffany! Right? I want my own Jack! 🙂

  • this book sounds beautifully written. I knew a few people loved it, so I am so curious. Fleshed out characters? wonderful romance? yes please

    • Nick

      It truly was! Definitely give it a shot! 🙂

  • I loved this one so much. Jack and Bex were awesome. Loved the story and that there was also a focus on family. Great review!

    Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog recently posted: Why I don’t reread books
    • Nick

      Wohoo! So happy you loved it too! 🙂

  • I just read this one too and I liked it a lot. I loved the art, and the romance was just right. You are right the sex was positive and so well done. This is the first YA contemp I have read in awhile that worked for me.

    • Nick

      I’m really glad you liked it too. The sex was very classy! 🙂

  • I REALLY want to read this now! LOL. Yay for being sex positive too! I am all about that. I am loving those quotes too!

    Jessica@Lovin' Los Libros recently posted: Blog Tour: The Libby Garrett Intervention by Kelly Oram
    • Nick

      You should! You would love it! 🙂

  • YESSSSS I just read this and was super impressed. I’m totally with you, it’s a top read this year for me too.

    Christy LoveOfBooks recently posted: Succubus on Top & Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
    • Nick

      I’m so happy you loved it too, Christy! 🙂
      Have you read her adult books?

  • Great review Nick! I’m hearing so many amazing things about this book! I love books that focus on families too, can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this one!

    • Nick

      It’s definitely a book you need to get, Becca! It was so beautiful! 🙂

  • I’m currently reading this, so I didn’t read your review. I’ll come back to it, but I’m happy to see you rated it 4.5 stars, Nick. I love Jenn Bennett’s Pinterest page full of pics for the book. I browsed them a few days back to get a feel for what she’s thinking with the characters and setting. I love that she sets those pages up for her books.

    • Nick

      Yay, Rachel! I hope you love it! Her Pinterest page is amazing. It’s where I got most of the images to make the quote banner. 🙂

  • Yayy!! How absolutely amazing was Jack?! *major swoon-fest* He was so adorable, I can’t even take it!! Glad to see how much you enjoyed this one too. And your graphic is amazing! ♥

    • Nick

      Totally amazing! Loved Jack!
      Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Jack and Bex sound amazing. I love how beautiful this sounds, and that cover..LOVE IT

    kimbacaffeinate recently posted: Halloween Booktacular Giveaway
    • Nick

      They truly were amazing, Kim. I know you shy away from YA contemporary books, but this one I can see you loving. 🙂

  • I don’t read a lot of YA bit this sounds like something I would love to get my hands on. I always have a soft spot for sting female characters. Literature needs more of them. Great review 🙂

    Topofthebookshelf recently posted: October 2015
    • Nick

      This was very mature for a YA book! 🙂 I agree!

  • You HAVE convinced me to give this one a try. Characters definitely need to be compelling in a romance, and I’m so glad to head these two are. I’m off to add this book to my TBR.

    Quinn @ Quinn'a Book Nook recently posted: Movie Musical Challenge: An American in Paris
    • Nick

      Yay, Quinn! You would certainly enjoy this one. 🙂

  • I haven’t heard a bad thing about this book yet! I’ll be reading it next month and I am sooo ready! Contemporary is my favorite genre, and I will admit that the YA contemps I’ve been reading have been a little dry, so I’m so excited for the refreshing change that’s about to come. Diversity is just crawling through this novel and I am here for every bit of it! Amazing review girl 🙂 Oh and nice meeting you!

    • Nick

      It’s seriously deserves the praise. I hope you will love it! This was one of the good YA contemps.
      Nice to meet you too! 🙂

  • Oh this book is nothing short of amazing! I’m so glad you enjoyed it too, Nick!

    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted: [584]: Before We were Strangers by Renée Carlino
  • I’m so happy you loved this, Nick! And that Jenn has a new fan. 🙂 The romance between Bex and Jack was so perfect – I love the sex positive aspect and that they talked about their issues. And I love all the little things about their personalities that Jenn included.
    Lovely review as always, Nick!

    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted: ARC Review: The Revolution of Ivy
  • Love your review, Nick! I was over the moon with swoons over Jack and Bex’s romance. I agree, YA needs more mature romances like this one. Jenn Bennett’s writing was amazing, thoughtful, and I think pretty realistic. I’ve read her adult PNR series, and I’m going to start her UF series very soon. My husband is actually reading Arcadia Bell right now and loving it. 🙂

    Rachel recently posted: Monthly Recap: October
  • One of your favorite books of the year Nick? MUST READ!!! The romance sounds amazing (I’m already in love with Jack), and I’ve loved everything of Jenn Bennett’s I’ve read so I’m sure this one will be no different. Cannot. Wait:)