The Anatomical Shape of a Heart

By Jenn Bennett
Published on November 3rd 2015
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Source: Publisher
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?
Hi friends! It's me! Writing a book review! It's been ages since I've done one of these -- I've mostly been writing about sports and having an attention span too short to get through many books lately.

Sometimes it's nice to take a step back - not every reader is mainlining 100+ books like a lot of us bloggers are. Your average reader isn't seeing essentially the same YA book with slightly different names and circumstances (this is Amber! she's a homecoming queen and ALSO a secret spy!! / this is Ember! she is class valedictorian and ALSO it turns out her boyfriend is the prince of a small country!! / this is Aymbyre! she is a lady in waiting!! she is also a princess!! and a secret spy!!!)  Stepping away from reading for a bit has maybe made me appreciate what I read even more -- at my most heavy reading "peak", I was lucky to find any books I liked at all, which is, honestly, probably part of why I slowed down in my reading.

But I miss books. I miss blogging and reviewing and giving you all my thoughts on what I've read. So I'm trying to get back in the swing of things, and a little while ago picked up this book about two very different aspiring artists.

And considering the above, I feel like this is a book that needs two reviews from me.  If I put on my Blogged A Lot hat and hearken back to the days where I routinely read and reviewed 100+ books a year, this story would be just mediocre.  Jack is your stereotypical bad boy with a sad past. Beatrix (Bex) has all the requirements to be a popular girl but is into super-realistic art and being kind of a hipster instead. Of course they fall in love. Of course there are obstacles and misunderstandings. Of course!! There's not much original here; for the most part they don't really even come off the page like authentic teens; and so many of everyone's problems could have been solved by just using their words.

But for this being the first book I'd picked up in quite some time to read and review, I was swept up in the story.  The first half moves faster and I read a large chunk of it in one sitting, engrossed in the budding relationship between Beatrix and Jack, plus untangling both of their pasts (Bex's estranged relationship with her father; Jack's ... everything ... with his parents). This book is great at pulling at your emotions, and that slightly more jaded 100-Books-A-Year version of me was irritated that I was basically being emotionally manipulated into crying at parts towards the ending. Haven't-Read-A-Book-That-Wasn't-Research-In-Months me just reached for the tissues.

Are you going to find anything groundbreaking here? No, you're not. It's just your standard teen romance.  But Jack is respectful and not actually a giant jerk in a leather jacket and Bex finds inspiration for her art and relationships are mended and repaired and made happy.

It's a good way to spend a few hours, have a few feelings, and then find yourself wanting to google anatomical art.

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