Thursday, November 19, 2015

Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
by Jenn Bennett
November 3, 2015
304 pages

Goodreads Summary:
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?


I wasn't sure what to expect with The Anatomical Shape of a Heart and it took me by surprise. It wasn't just a simple love story between a boy and a girl. Surprisingly it talked about mental health and what it means to love and be loved.

Bex is an ordinary teenage girl who loves to draw bodies. Her interest lies in anatomy which in my opinion is super cool. She wasn't your typical squirmy girl that screams when seeing a dead body. Sure she gets queasy but she genuinely cared for the deceased. She put her heart into her artworks. She had a strong bond with her brother being able to confide in him even when she doesn't heed his warnings. "Mom says you should never ask for advice you aren't willing to take." (ARC, p. 104). While Bex says she's uncertain if she agrees with that, I like that she acknowledges it. There's partial truth in that statement. Her more cautious relationship with her mother bugged me because of how controlling her mom was being. It was sort of wonderful to see Bex lay everything out on her mom.

Who wouldn't fall for Jack? He's got the bad boy part down with his secret nighttime activity. Best of all, his graffiti weren't just pure jokes and/or for fun. They had purpose and he made them shine. If you're not swooning yet, let me just add, he's truthful, charismatic and gorgeous. Everything he does will make you love him more.

My one true reservation about the storyline was how fast and intense Bex and Jack's relationship developed. The attraction was there from the first moment they met but it just seemed they were in love too quickly. At least they were fully honest and open with each other. No holding back. Some parts were dirty sexy ;)

Not to give anything away, I really appreciated the look at mental health and conditions. It's insightful and quite powerful.

I think the familial aspect in this book was incredibly well-written. Both families were flawed but they weren't intentionally cruel to their loved ones. Their actions got carried away by their emotions. The fact that they took steps towards atoning for their mistakes spoke volumes.

Ultimately The Anatomical Shape of a Heart was a love story about acceptance. Our loved ones make mistakes but that doesn't define them. There can be forgiveness and not just between two lovers but between families too. This was a meaningful and heartfelt story.

4 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way. All quotes were taken from the Advance Review Copy I received.


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