Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Penguin Random House UK via NetGalley
Meet Jack Rothman. He's seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys - sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, 'it could be worse'.
He doesn't actually expect that to come true.
But after Jack starts writing an online sex advice column, the mysterious love letters he's been getting take a turn for the creepy. Jack's secret admirer knows everything: where he's hanging out, who he's sleeping with, who his mum is dating. They claim they love Jack, but not his unashamedly queer lifestyle. They need him to curb his sexuality, or they'll force him.
As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous...
Warning: Some strong language below...
Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is the unapologetically honest queer YA you never knew you needed.
Let me start by saying that I know there are going to be a lot of people who don't like this book and that the book and the author will probably face a certain amount of backlash, whether it's because there's, 'too much sex for a YA novel', 'it's too open about sex', 'it's too crass', 'it promotes slutty behaviour', 'it victimises straight people'...yeah, you'll probably see all of those opinions at some point or another, I've already seen a few of them myself from other readers. Personally, I found the honesty and openness in this book refreshing.
It's important to realise that teens are having sex (no, obviously not all of them, but some of them) and surely it's better to promote open discussions about sex whilst at the same time letting teens know that they're not alone and also strongly encouraging safe sex - all of which, this book does brilliantly.
Don't get me wrong, I didn't like everything about this book. I found it difficult at times to relate to Jack and his friends who are rich, vain, rude and at times, not very good friends at all. The fact that they all eat cucumber sandwiches, drink champagne and smoke pot before attending the parties of their private school peers had me rolling my eyes and reminding me very much of a much more queer Gossip Girl.
There were also times where I felt that the drama was made out to be more complicated than it actually was, like if Jack was completely honest about his stalker, the threats would have held no power and so things wouldn't have escalated the way that they did, but then I suppose, there would have been no story.
Intermixed with the drama and suspense was a lot of humour, mostly from Jack who has a very sarcastic, dry and witty sense of humour, something that I really loved about him.
"I'm not sure what constitutes a 'special blowjob.' Violins, maybe?"
The darker subject matter, particularly how it completely destroys Jack’s sense of self, was extremely difficult to read. It was painful to witness Jack's building anxiety and the short and long-term effects that it has on him, but I think this made the overall message even more powerful.
So no, in terms of plot, I can’t say this book was perfect for me personally, but in terms of the messages contained within it, the message that we all have the right to be happy and to be who we are (as long as we're not hurting anyone) without owing anyone an explanation, was much needed, the message that teenagers are having sex and so better to have open discussions about it whilst promoting safe sex, hell yeah and then there’s highlighting the harsh reality that no matter what you do or how you live your life there’s always going to be someone who has a problem with it and who’s going to try to make your life difficult.
But, in the words of Jack himself, "I get to be me. And if you don't like that, fuck off."
Jack's book is so resonant, especially in the LGBT community because as someone who doesn’t define as straight/hetero, there still (even today) seems to be so much drama/expectation surrounding your life choices. Like you have to justify who you are and what/who you like when actually, how you choose to live your life is no one's business but your own.
"It's not about making myself less amazing so I blend in - it's about making sure everyone around me sparkles with their own shade of glitter, that they feel as amazing as I do."
Overall, I like Jack, I think his story is extremely important for all teens (and some adults too), no matter their sexual orientation. This is a book that should exist, and I have no doubt that it will start conversations both good and bad, but at least we'll be talking about it, and talking about the important messages that the author is trying to convey.
Trigger Warnings: homophobia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts
RATING: 2.5/3 STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
How I got this book: Bought
He was that boy in the playground.
The one that pulled your pigtails.
The one that lifted your dress in front of the entire school.
Now he's that guy in the office.
The one that steals your lunch from the fridge.
The one that gets away with everything.
I'm sure you know him. Everyone knows that guy.
He's a #JERK.
Presley Malone knew her relationship with her fiancé, Jason, had run its course.
The second that ring came off her finger, she didn't expect to be the pawn in an immature game played by the office jerk.
His name is Haden Cooper, and he is six years younger than her. Immature and irresponsible, getting drunk and stoned every weekend like he never left college. He rode a motorcycle, carrying a different girl each week. He was everything a jerk should be—insensitive, unreliable, and most importantly, a heartbreaker.
Haden enjoyed playing games, and when it came to Presley Malone, it was all too easy. Miss Know-it-all with her over-the-top OCD was soon going to get a taste of what it was like to live on the edge.
But what starts off as an innocent prank soon becomes an unhealthy obsession.
He is wrong for her and she is wrong for him. It's a battle of the sexes ready to go to war. But in this battle there are no winners, and it takes only one fateful night and six tequilas for their lives to take an unexpected turn that changes them both forever.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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