Title: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)
Author: L C Rosen
First published: 2019
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin in 2018
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.
This was a fun read and a very different type of YA than I am used to.
First of all, I don’t think I have ever read a YA book that talks so openly about sex, especially gay sex. It is pretty explicit about it. I think it addresses a lot of questions that teens may have when they are starting to explore their worlds, whether gay or straight. If only for that, this book is worth reading.
But this book is not just that. The main character, Jack, is very well written and I enjoyed spending time with him a lot. He was just so unapologetically himself that you just had to love him. This changes when he becomes the victim of a stalker, an becomes the subject of notes that become gradually more threatening and demanding. It shows that even the most confident person can be brought down by a bullying campaign. The book does a great job dealing with bullying and slut shaming.
The revelations at the end were a little but lukewarm, but it did not take that much away from the book in itself in my opinion. I throughly enjoyed it. It does talk about teenagers having sex, so if that bothers you, this book is not for you. In the end, teenagers do have sex and it is a good that this is addressed and normalized in this novel. It also shows that this is different for everyone. The fictional column letters will no doubt be helpful for many teens out there.
6 out of 7 stars