Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3rd, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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?
A little birdie told me that I would absolutely like this book – by which I mean to say, Christina raved about it for weeks and then shoved it in my face by way of a Christmas gift. Yeah. I got the hint. But Christina knows me, so yes, I loved this book.
The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is not a contemporary romance I would ordinarily go for. The blurb seems very much like it’s saying there’s some instalove, some all-encompassing first love, which to me would be a warning sign for sap. That’s so not this book. It’s cute. It’s light. It’s heartfelt. And there is depth, with only a modicum of sap.
Bex meets Jack on a night bus, and he definitely immediately catches her eye. And she catches his. There is a prolonged stare which honestly already kind of sped up the butterflies in my stomach. From there they really slowly get to know each other, and Bex made me happy because she made Jack work for it. There was insta-attraction, but not instalove. Their relationship is cute and full of banter, and it sometimes gets borderline sappy. But there’s a magical quality about Bennett’s writing, because the chemistry is so intense that you get swept up in their relationship and don’t even mind a dramatic romantic gesture or declaration. I just shipped it a lot a lot.
Bex and Jack are great characters who have a clear artsy connection. I loved that so much. Bex really knows exactly what she wants to do – anatomical drawings. Her current project: cadavers. Not something I would ever jump at the chance to do, but her fascination with the human body and her passion for drawing made for a really unique and interesting voice. Jack is a graffiti artist – which is already intriguing. But there’s a mystery behind why he does what he does, and that just makes him that much more enticing.
Both characters have interesting, complex family dynamics. Bex’s parents split up and she’s estranged from her father. (Understandably, she has some daddy issues.) Her mother works incredibly long hours at the hospital to cover the bills, but they don’t have a cushy life by a long shot – which is why the art competition for a scholarship is so important. Her brother is a great ally and friend – and he has a great boyfriend which led to some awesome family scenes.
Jack’s family is infinitely more complex and dramatic, and it (understandably) takes him a little bit to trust Bex with all of the details. But when he does, wow. Feelings everywhere. I felt so awful for him – he’s really facing some of the toughest issues possible. But that just made his relationship with Bex that much more important. They really balanced each other out and – if you’ll let me get sappy for a little bit – saved each other.
At the heart of it, The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is just such a romantic story. They have some family stuff, obviously, but character growth is minor, and there’s not much friendship aside from the two of them bonding. Really, it’s a great first love story. There’s some nervousness, some awkwardness… There are definite butterflies. They have great and very unique dates, making the summer holidays so fun and full of adventure. So really, just watching them fall in love made me fall in love with this book. A great, feel good summer read with the Bay Area as a beautiful backdrop.