This is a review for Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by L.C. Rosen. It comes out on October 30th and is published by Little Brown Young Readers. I received this book as a part of a giveaway and was not pressured in any way to review it. This review contains spoilers. Thank you NOVL for this copy!
I don’t even know where to start with this book. I finished it in one night, so that says something.
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) was a phenomenal read. It tells the story of Jack, an unapologetic gay teen in Manhattan, who writes a column on giving advice to others on their love life, while being stalked, essentially. There’s a lot going on there. This book had so many great elements that I loved. First of all, it had very diverse characters. The 3 main characters were Jack, a gay teen with a single mom, Jenna, a latino girl with a complicated family situation, and Ben, a black gay teen. It’s safe to say that there was a lot of representation in this novel.
Secondly, Jack of Hearts pushed the stereotype of what it means to be a gay teen. When people think of a gay teen boy, a stereotype probably pops into their head of a flamboyant, well dressed kid. In this story, there were characters that were gay but do not fit that typical description in your head. For example, Charlie, Jack’s “friend” of sorts, is a jock basketball player and is gay. Also, Jeremy, an ex of Jack’s, is preppy and an aspiring politician. This book is so important for gay teens who may feel like they are being pushed into a stereotype. Jack of Hearts shows that your sexuality doesn’t define you and you can be who you want to be.
The suspense in this novel is likely what made me finish it in one sitting. Throughout the book there is an ongoing mystery of who Jack’s stalker, nicknamed Pinky, is. Pinky’s notes get progressively more intense as the novel goes on and it kept me on the edge of my seat. The reveal of Pinky was kind of a let-down which is why my rating isn’t 5/5 stars. I can appreciate the twist that pinky was a girl instead of a boy, however, I wish the reveal would have been more shocking instead of anticlimactic. Also, there was not much to be done about Kaitlyn being the stalker at the end of the novel. I would have liked more of a resolution.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this book. Jack was an honest character and had lots of depth. It was true to teens living in NYC (I know because I know several) and probably many gay teens. The humor mixed with suspense in this novel made it an amazing read. It was not your typical “gay teen YA novel” where you can predict the ending and be done with it. I would highly recommend reading this story.
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