The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
By: Jenn Bennett
Publication: November 3rd 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Goodreads description--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?
When I initially read the description for The Anatomical Shape of a Heart it reminded me of Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley which I really enjoyed. The two stories don't have much in common beyond the secret graffiti artist, but I enjoyed them both.
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart had such a unique set of characters. Bex's fascination with anatomy and her unique interest in drawing medical textbook diagrams is something that I can say without a shadow of a doubt that I've never encountered before. I loved how individual Bex was all around. She's typically a follow-the-rules kid, but her mother's lack of support for her desire for this type of art has her beginning to sneak around. And this is where she meets Jack.
Bex and Jack have a moment the first night they meet, but Bex is a bit too practical to throw caution to the wind. But Jack is charming and he hunts her down in a non-stalkerish kind of way. I actually loved the mystery behind these two in the beginning. They both purposefully flirt in a way that keeps much of themselves secret from the other. But of course, over time that wears down and the two find out more and more about each other through the more time they spend together.
Speaking of Jack, there's so much more to him that meets the eye, but I loved how he didn't really beat around the bush when it came to Bex. He pursued her. He was pretty open about how he felt about her even when he was closed off about what was going on in his life.
-"You're an interesting girl." "Says Jack the vegetarian Buddhist jewel thief."
-What did it mean? Yes, it was my birthday, so clearly it was a nod to that. But for the love of Pete, just send me a Have a Terrific Day! messsage online. No need to bring a felony charge into the mix.
-Mom says you should never ask for advice you aren't willing to take. I wasn't sure I agreed. Having an unbiased pair of eyes point out a sensible solution was helpful. But the sensible thing and the right thing weren't always the same choice, and no one but you could truly understand the difference.
-"Trust me?" "You ready to give me a reason to?"
-"Art shouldn't be practical. It should be emotional and expressive."
-We were both frantic and fevered, and it was the first kiss I'd ever had that felt like a fight. And the way he made my body ache made me think I'd been doing it all wrong until now.
Jenn Bennett's writing style in The Anatomical Shape of a Heart reminded me a lot of my friend Jennifer which I consider to be a good thing. Her words were flowing and smooth. I was hooked easily and quickly. The characters were rich and complex. And I loved so many unique features that she included in this book.
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart does have some language, some (though not too explicit) sexual scenes, as well as a gay side character. There's mental illness and suicide touched on. All of these are potential triggers for some readers in case these are issues for you in your reading preferences.
I enjoyed The Anatomical Shape of a Heart very much. I didn't want to put it down and actually risked getting car sick to finish it on our trip home from Gatlinburg so that I could keep reading until the end. I loved the unique characters and situations presented. And I appreciated Jenn Bennett's voice. I'll definitely seek out more of her books. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Anatomical Shape of a Heart? What did you think? Let me know!