Review: The Anatomical Shape of A Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of A Heart by Jenn Bennett
Publication date: Nov 3, 2015
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received ARC from publisher (Thanks!)
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? (

The good
There are so many things I want to say about The Anatomical Shape of a Heart! At first glance it just seems like a quirky premise — anatomy artist meet cutes with notorious graffiti artist — but it’s really smart, funny and heartfelt (no pun intended). It’s the summer before senior year and Beatrix Adams is an artist who enjoys drawing the human anatomy. To win a museum-sponsored college scholarship, she’s determined to join the hospital’s Willed Body program so she can draw actual cadavers. (Which is kind of creepy but you do what you gotta do!) It’s during another failed interview that she bumps into Jack at a train station. They have a connection (not to mention lust-at-first-sight) instantly and I was immediately drawn into their lives and the beginnings of what I knew would be a swoon-worthy romance.

First-off, Beatrix is awesome. She’s self-aware, matter of fact and made me laugh with her observations. She was someone I very easily connected with. Plus cadaver-drawing aside, I really liked that she had such a specific and unique focus in her art. I didn’t even know that was a thing! Something about her voice just felt extremely real. The author found the right balance between an authentic teen girl voice and someone who is a little more mature for her age. Also kudos for not falling into the manicpixiedream girl trope which could’ve been so easily done. Then Jack. What can I say about him, aside from the fact that he sounded gorgeous and again I must ask myself — where were these boys when I was in high school? I loved how he wore his heart on his sleeve, his kindness and how straightforward he was in his feelings towards Beatrix. And the FLIRTING. Seriously cute and bringing on the swoons.

They both have stories and pasts and little secrets but the book itself was surprisingly low on the drama and angst. We learn their issues quickly, which only further endeared them to me, and we also get to watch them actually work through it. But the part that probably impressed me the most was the communication between Beatrix and Jack as they inevitably get involved with one another. There was a candidness that I feel is often overlooked (the only other book with this same level was (My Life Next Door) and it made me realize how much I appreciate when authors address real teenager type stuff.

(No) reservations
None! I was just surprised by how quickly I finished the book and I did not feel ready to leave Beatrix and Jack behind!

Do I recommend?
Yes! I was very impressed by Jenn Bennett’s YA debut novel and I’m looking forward to reading more of her work!

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

What's your favorite heart artwork?

I've had my eye this print on Society 6 for a while. It's called A Map of the Introvert's Heart and I love how it uses heart imagery to depict the personality traits of an introvert. (I can relate!)

Click on the image on the left to see it in all its glory. I don't know when but I will order this eventually! Probably as a mug.

1 comment

  1. I love the heart artwork you picked out! (And now I want it. Thanks.) But yes, THE ANATOMICAL SHAPE OF A HEART was SUCH a great surprise. It was a contemporary I didn't expect to love as much as I did, and it's definitely not really like anything I've read before. So glad we ended up liking this one!


with love,