Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2012
Source: Publisher **I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
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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?
Ah, what a wonderfully fantastic book. I will admit that when I first heard about The Anatomical Shape of A Heart, I put it on my TBR(as one does), but I wasn't like dying for it. But then my good buddy, Charnell was raving about it back in the summer. Even went on to say it's her favourite book of 2015. So of course that piqued my interest and made me need to get my hands on a copy. Charnell was not wrong, this book is a winner. It just felt so effortlessly written. The relationship was perfection. And the characters, ah, just so much personality.
I freakin' loved Bex. She's artsy, but not in a pretentious annoying way. Her wit and quirky geekiness shines through the pages. Seriously, I love the girl. What was also a great part of Bex was her relationship with her mom and brother. There's some bad blood with her dad, whom she hasn't spoken to in three years(which will come into play throughout the book), and you can definitely feel the lingering resentment in their household. But it's overshadowed by Bex, her mom and her brothers awesomeness. They talk to each other, they joke with each other, they hang out with each other, they fight with each other. Hey look, a real family dynamic. I LOL'd a bunch over what Bex's mom would say or do; like handing her boxes of condoms(with no shame); which I guess fits with her mom being "Nurse Katherine the Great". They would just act, joke and talk like adults. I absolutely despise when book parents treat their 18 year kid like they've never said a swear word or thought about someone sexually. Just c'mon.
SHIP ALERT! From the second or third page of the book when Bex meets Jack well waiting for the the night bus they have an instant connection. It's a total meet cute in my book. They have some fun banter and the relationship just progresses in this really fun way. Although Bex is smart enough not to just hand her number out to anyone, she makes Jack work to find her and earn it. The relationship starts off totally relatable with the whole "why hasn't he called yet?" And the "oh my God, maybe he isn't into me!" Everyone experiences those moments.
The summary makes it seem like Jack is going to be this secretive closed off guy. But he's far from it. Nobody unloads their whole life on someone they just met and are trying to impress. You get to know the person, and when they trust you they start reveling their past and secrets; their life. Jack's life is far from easy. Well he is breaking the law by illegally painting graffiti throughout the city. But it's far more than that. And I just loved him. Jack is charming and good looking, sure. But also extremely sweet and caring. Just the kind of guy your mom wants you to bring home.
The Anatomical Shape of A Heart was also a very sex positive book. A lot of teenagers let their hormones guide them. But I absolutely loved how Jack and Bex were able to talk about sex in an honest way. They both had expectations and like Jack says, if they're not able to talk about them then they are not ready to act on them. Also it wasn't totally fade to black when they were ready. Just because this is a YA book Bennett didn't shy away from a positive sexual relationship between teenagers; all the words and acts that come with it.
The Anatomical Shape of A Heart also flawlessly adds diversity to the story. And it's not one of those where you figure the author just thought, "on no, I better add a gay character in to keep my book relevant." Diversity is life and you see that shown in here in Bex's gay brother, and the mental illness shown and discussed positively(as much as it can). Nothing is just thrown in for the hell of it; that's Bex's family or Jack's or the plenty of non-white friends. I just felt the book wasn't trying to be diverse, it was just mirroring the real world, and I wish more books did that. I'm all for every book being diverse, but I also don't think it should be a thing we wish for anymore, they should just be.
I've read a bunch of books with characters who are artists or art is depicted in some way. But this is a first for me. I have yet to come across a book the focuses on anatomical drawings. It never even crossed my mind that there's people out there that draw still life of dead people or really their organs, cadavers, whatever. To me that's extremely disturbing. But that's mostly because I'm squeamish and would never want to think about someone actually sitting with a dead cut open body drawing their heart. I will admit to Bex/Jenn Bennett making it seem pretty cool though. Bex's expectations and than reactions to being around a dead body were pretty realistic too. The reality was definitely going to be different than the imagery she was use to. And I think a lot of us would think the same; if we can handle it in picture format how much different is the real thing? Obviously very different. As cool as Bex's art is, I definitely know I can only handle it in text.
Knowing me and my love/need for romance, The Anatomical Shape of A Heart is completely perfect in that department. *sigh* But it's so much more than that. There was no stupid relationship drama that happens in 90% of books. Bex and Jack were honest with each other, so the plot of the book didn't focus on them breaking up and finding their way back to each other. They got together and dealt with life together from that point on. Fucking yes. They're both becoming adults, which meant learning about their feelings and how to handle them whether with their parents, passions, futures, etc... Which is absolutely why The Anatomical Shape of A Heart is a new favourite. It is on point. And when I finished it I had to fight the urge to just start it all over again. Stupid TBR pile...