ARC Review: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen

Title: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)
Author: L.C. Rosen
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Published October 2018

Summary: 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.

I received an ARC of Jack of Hearts at BookExpo this year, and it immediately caught my attention, because I haven't heard of a YA book that was so openly sex-positive before. Right away, I knew that this was not only the kind of book that I wanted to read, but also the kind of book that I had to read. So after a crazy summer and a chaotic beginning of the semester, I finally got to sit down and read it, and let me tell you, I'm so glad that I did. So without further ado, let's get into the review!

As the summary explains, Jack has a lot of sex, and he's not ashamed of it. So when his best friend asks him to start a sex advice column, he's not entirely opposed to it. And before long, it becomes wildly popular. The only problem? Jack finds himself with a stalker, someone he dubs Pinky, and they want more than to leave cute little love notes in his locker. They want him to do some awful, vile things, otherwise the consequences that he has to face will be severe. Things keep getting more and more dangerous, so Jack knows that he has to do something to end it. The only problem is, what should he be doing?

I absolutely loved how sex-positive this book was -- it was a refreshing thing to read, and also I think it's something that's really important. Jack was unapologetically in love with sex, and he spent a lot of time with hookups, totally owning his body and doing whatever felt the most right to him. A good majority of this book tackles sex, so if that's something that you're not keen on reading about, then this might be a book you want to skip out on. But on the other hand, I thought it was really important to see a book that gives a teenager such a casual relationship with sex -- something that is rarely discussed in any of the stories that I read, and then when I do, it tends to be brushed over or not discussed much. Or, if it is talked about, there's usually a negative connotation along with it -- looking down upon someone who seems to "get around." This book is the total 180 of that, so that was such a refreshing thing to read, and it was so bold and blunt with some of the stuff it said that even I found myself blushing, as an adult! But that was really important to me to finally be exposed to as a reader.

My favorite character in this book was definitely Jack. In addition to being so into sex, he was also so unapologetically himself. He was open about being gay, loving makeup, loving fashion, and aligning himself with the stereotypical view of someone who is "gay." He even manages to acknowledge the fact that not everyone who is queer falls into that stereotype, and that's okay, and it was just really great to see, the way so many different types of people and sexualities and different relationships to sex were explored in this book. It really covers a lot of ground and made sure that no characters in the story were excluded.

(Spoilers in this paragraph, so please skip to the next paragraph if you don't want a major plot point ruined for you!) One of the only things that disappointed me a little bit was the fact that I was able to determine Pinky was Kaitlyn from the very beginning, so there wasn't really any shocking plot twist for me. It was pretty obvious from the very beginning, when Kaitlyn was acting different than her friends when she was around Jack. And after that, all of the clues were super obvious, but it seemed like Jack was just ignoring them. Maybe the plot twist shocked some other readers, but for me, I saw it right away and it became hard to ignore as I kept reading the story.

The only other thing that confused me about this book was the fact that the characters were apparently sophomores, but the way they were acting was so unlike any other sophomore high school experience I've ever heard, and plus, they're supposed to be 17, which is when you're a junior? So that confused me a little bit and I wasn't quite sure how to wrap my head around that at first, but eventually I came to terms with it and just rolled with the punches. But that was one of the only things that took me out of the story for a little bit!

Overall, I really loved reading Jack of Hearts. I tore through this entire book in less than two days because I was so invested in the story and couldn't put it down. The story had such a natural progression to it that kept it moving along the entire time, which made it soooo easy to stay up past my bedtime and convince myself to read just one more chapter. If you're looking for a fast-paced, hilarious, intense, super sex-positive read, then this is definitely the book for you! I'm so glad that I picked up a copy of this at BookExpo, because I'll definitely be recommending this book to all of my friends!

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