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Artistically Romantic | Book Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

When art is dangerous and boys mysterious, you know a book is going to intrigue many – as does The Anatomical Shape of a Heart!

Book Review: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

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The anatomical shape of a heart jenn bennett book review

Title & Author: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

Genre: Young Adult – Contemporary, Romance

Release Date: November 3, 2015

Series: Standalone

Publisher: Macmillan

How I Got the Book: ARC via the publisher


“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?”

Romance: A Story

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart incorporates a few elements that are not often seen in YA. First, we have a different sort of heroine. Bex is the type of girl who likes to draw dead people. To be technical, cadavers.

She has her heart set on winning an art scholarship and becoming a professional text-book level body/organ artist. Which isn’t a topic that goes over well with the gentlemen folk.

Not to mention, Bex has got a Wednesday Adams vibe that can be off-putting.

I enjoyed the focus on art, as well. Not only Bex but her newly found friend Jack may also find an interest in art. The sort of illegal kind that involves spray paint and a bandit hat.

While these concepts kept my attention, they didn’t divert me from the fact that The Anatomical Shape of a Heart is mainly a romance story. Bex and Jack definitely have their problems, but they really felt like small in comparison to the focus on Bex getting butteflies and both of them making googly eyes at each other.

I don’t mind a great YA contemporary romance, but I was disappointed in very heavy emphasis on it in this book. There was a missed opportunity for greater depth.

Also to note: this book is at more of a 15-18 age level, as physical activity is described in detail and in quantity.

I really wanted to love the inspirational art and rockabilly style and adorable romance, but for me, the story was good but nothing revolutionary.


This is a book I think many readers will enjoy. The romance is sweet and believable and the connection to art inspiring and new. Although I personally didn’t connect with the story as much as I wanted to and found the plot to be romance heavy (to its determent), I think readers will find The Anatomical Shape of a Heart a solid YA contemporary.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.