Book Rewind Review: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen was a hell of a book! I feel like I barely have words for how this book made my grown ass feel after I finished it, but I will try to give it the praise it deserves below in my review. Jack of Hearts was released last October, and I really hope more people read this book!
Book Rewind is our version of a #TBT to give love and praise to the backlist titles that we didn’t read/review when released. So many reviews are focused on current and newly released books, so we created a weekly post to share the spotlight on previously released books.
Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts)on October 30, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, GLBTQIA+
Pretty Little Liars meets Dan Savage in this modern, fresh, YA debut about an unapologetically queer teen working to uncover a blackmailer threatening him back into the closet.
Jack has a lot of sex--and he's not ashamed of it. While he's sometimes ostracized, and gossip constantly rages about his sex life, Jack always believes that "it could be worse."
But then, the worse unexpectedly strikes: When Jack starts writing a teen sex advice column for an online site, he begins to receive creepy and threatening love letters that attempt to force Jack to curb his sexuality and personality. Now it's up to Jack an his best friends to uncover the stalker--before their love becomes dangerous.
Ground-breaking and page-turning, Jack of Hearts (and other parts) celebrates the freedom to be oneself, especially in the face of adversity.
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is first and foremost a book with sound advice coming from your local HS queer teen in the anonymous AMA style. Secondly, it is a book about bullies, stalkers, and the abuse of the digital age. Thirdly, it is about solving a mystery. Lastly, it is ultimately about making a difference in the lives of the marginalized.
This book is real, raw, and unfiltered. It is about Jack, an out, fashion loving queer teen, who is reclaiming the word slut. He loves sex and thinks there is no better time to enjoy it, before life gets too serious. His best friend runs a blog, and she decided to test the waters at school and see if anyone was interested in participating with an AMA sex advice column. By the time she asks Jack to do it, the emails have already started pouring in and the gossip around school is at an all time high. He ends up getting a love note in his locker, and at first he is flattered until the notes keep coming and the tone turns threatening. He has a motto of “it could be worse” until he realizes that maybe the ‘worse’ part of his openness is starting to come true.
I loved the fact that this book exists, that this book was published by one of the big 5, and I really hope it falls into the hands of teens who need it. I also hope it opens hearts and minds of those who are not the direct audience, because yes, I think parents should read this book. I think more than just queer teens should read this book. I think the information within these pages is truly supportive, necessary, and ground breaking.
I would not be surprised to see Jack of Hearts land on the Banned Books List, because we know that most of the challenged books are about queer kids. I can only hope that the if it does, the spotlight will help bring it’s existence to more people who would really benefit from reading it. Because it is so beneficial and it is also fun! Also, what teen isn’t more intrigued by banning something?
Seriously, this book is a good time. I loved listening to the audiobook. I laughed, smiled, and did lots of head nodding. The narrator does an amazing job at bringing all the emotions and aspect of this book to life. Jack of Hearts is the most sex positive book I have read in YA. Nothing was taboo. NOTHING. Even the nitty gritty wasn’t glossed over.
Among all the sex positivity, was an overarching theme of no matter what you are into, someone else is too. You are not alone. Oh and even had the most brilliant words of advice I have ever read about being asexual. It was the most perfectly articulated and beautiful advice coming from a sex positive teen on aro/ace folks (remember advice column format). Also, let’s not forget my second favorite part, where Jack addresses the fetishization of queer culture and sex by straight people. Can I get a hell yeah? HELL YEAH. Queer people are not here for your entertainment, yes we are so cool you all want to act like us or be our friends, but we can see the true friends through the trash (too much, eh, this book doesn’t hold back so why should I?).
Even with all the heavy hitting topics addressed in the book, the overall tone of the book stays fun and positive. Yes, Jack has a stalker, and he does do some questionable things to try and keep his family and friends safe, but in the end they address why his decisions were bad and could have been more harmful. No matter what, Jack is fun, caring, knowledgeable, open, and conversational. He can make mistakes, but he learns from them too.
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is not only groundbreaking, empowering, and well it’s also a whole lot of fun.
Thank you Lev A.C. Rosen for writing this book, for covering a plethora of topics and stereotypes, and for doing it in a very consumable way. I also have to thank Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for publishing this book.