Review: Night Owls/ The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennet

 

Last week I read “Night Owls’ by Jenn Bennet. I bought the UK version of this book 1) because my friend/co-worker had this copy as well and compared to the US version, titled: ‘The Anatomical Shape of a Heart’, seen here: on  Jenn Bennet’s websiteNIGHTOWLS_LANDING_2016

the cover is so pretty. The graffiti-like spray paint font fits in so well with the story. Not to mention the gold coloring *inserts heart eyes emoji if she knew how to do it on the computer*. And 2), I also just love the tagline on the UK version which reads: “Feeling alive is always worth the risk”. I just love that, it speaks to me on so many levels.

‘Night Owls’ is the story of  an eighteen year old girl, named Beatrix, or “Bex”, Adams, who resides in San Francisco with her divorced mother and her older brother. It’s the summer before Beatrix’s senior year of high school and she plans to spend it getting a scholarship for college. Beatrix loves to draw, but not just anything. She likes to draw human bodies and their different parts. Beatrix plans to become an artist for medical textbooks. Beatrix’s mother, however, isn’t all too fond of her future plans. Instead, she’s rather Beatrix draw anything but the human body, or at least what’s inside of it.

Against her mother’s wishes, Beatrix takes the bus into the city to the local medical school so she can have a meeting with a professor about possibly drawing one of the cadavers being studied by the students. Until the professor cancels their meeting, leaving Beatrix to take the Night Owl bus home, which is the latest running bus in the city that doesn’t have the greatest reputation and one she tries to avoid riding at any cost. While waiting for the Night Owl, Beatrix sees a boy she’s never seen before. She’s automatically taken by how handsome he is, and can’t stop staring at him. And he can’t stop doing the same. The boy strikes up a conversation with her, in which she learns that his name is Jack.

After they tell one another about who they are. Bex admitting she likes to draw dead people and Jack admits that he’s both a Buddhist and a lousy vegetarian. Bex can’t helping thinking, however, that there’s something about Jack that seems familiar. When the bus comes to a sudden halt, Jack’s backpack is knocked over and out of it rolls  a can of gold spray paint. At this Bex instantly realizes just who Jack is. She picks up the spray paint and watches as Jack immediately looks nervous. She’s heard of him before. He’s the notorious graffiti artist who’s been spraying single words all around the city.

When Bex gets home, she immediately sits down to research this infamous “Jack the Graffiti Artist”. She finds little information, other than multiple sources attempting to put together what all of the gold, spray painted, words mean. Bex decides to let it alone for the time being. The following morning however, Bex learns that the world “Bloom” has been spray painted in gold atop the Golden Gate Park entrance. She realizes that the park is not far from stop where Jack got off of the Night Owl the night before.

A few days later, on Bex’s birthday, she goes to the local art museum with her mother and brother to see a heart diagram by a famous artist she likes. While there, Bex is caught off-guard by the world “CELEBRATE” spray painted in gold across the top of the heart diagram exhibit. Bex takes a picture and can’t help wondering if Jack had done it for her.

I’m not going to go too far into the story, only because I really adored this. It’s a very sweet read about love and going as far as one can for others. This touches a bit on mental illness and coping with it. The characters are relatable and interesting. The pacing was done very well and each event and situation came and fit together nicely. This is just an all around sweet novel about meeting someone who can not only make you feel alive and new, but others around you as well.

4/5 Stars for this one.

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