Book Review: Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) by Lev A.C. Rosen
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Source: Borrowed

My first time getting it in the butt was kind of weird. I think it’s going to be weird for everyone’s first time, though.

Meet Jack Rothman. He’s seventeen and loves partying, makeup and boys – sometimes all at the same time. His sex life makes him the hot topic for the high school gossip machine. But who cares? Like Jack always says, ‘it could be worse’.

He doesn’t actually expect that to come true.

But 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.

As the pressure mounts, Jack must unmask his stalker before their obsession becomes genuinely dangerous…

This book has been on my radar since I first saw it on Netgalley (and was sadly declined). I was drawn to it because I love the idea of a sex positive YA book, especially one featuring a character like Jack, a gay boy who unapologetically loves makeup, shopping, and sex. When I saw it at my library, I had to check it out and see what it was like.

I ended up having some really, really conflicted feelings about this one.

Like I said, I love the concept. I love that YA books are moving in a more sex positive direction, and I think this book was a very good idea. I think that the advice Jack gave throughout the book was great (although I have to suspend a lot of disbelief to think that a teenager would know enough about sex to reasonably give such wide-ranging advice), and it reminded me a lot of a more risque version of the advice column in Ask Me Anything.

The discussion of consent, coming out, asexuality, healthy relationships… all of that was great. The fact that Jack and his friends smoke cigarettes, frequently get black out drunk, and hook up with random strangers on Grindr (despite being actual teenagers)? Not so great. Of course, I don’t want to censor life for the target demographic of this book. I’m not deluding myself into thinking that many teenagers aren’t going out and doing these exact things. But there’s never any consequence for these behaviors. Jack doesn’t get in trouble for smoking inside the school. (What?) Aside from a mini-lecture from his mother, there’s very little said about the alcohol. There’s never a discussion about the possible repercussions of lying about your age on a hook up app. Jack has a lot of sex with a lot of different people and good for him, but it felt like all of this was inserted into the book to scream, “HEY, LOOK AT JACK! HE’S ONE OF THE COOL KIDS!”

Now, aside from that, one of the other things I wanted to mention was the mystery, or, really, the lack of it. The thing is, throughout the book, Jack occasionally gets these ominous notes from a stalker. They start out fine, along the lines of “I think you’re cute” and slowly progress into some really creepy, threatening stuff. Jack gets freaked out by it, but he never really does anything aside from worry, so what’s the point? I found the principal’s reaction troubling, to say the least, and the way everything ended left a lot to be desired. If this were just a book about the sex column without this weird stalker plot, I think I would have enjoyed it more.

All in all, I think that this book had a great concept, but I’m not entirely on board with the execution. I appreciate the open and honest Q&A about sex and think it’ll help a lot of teens, but the constant partying and constant sex made me, an adult, feel weird. If the characters were even a couple years older, this would have been less of an issue, I think.


Have you read Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)? Is it on your TBR?
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Book Review: Smooth Criminals, Vol. 1 by Kiwi Smith & Kurt Lustgarten

Smooth Criminals, Vol. 1 by Kiwi Smith & Kurt Lustgarten
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: July 9, 2019
Source: Borrowed

When a bit of hacking goes wrong, geeky Brenda accidentally unfreezes Mia, a master cat burglar from the 1960s. Together, they work to pull off a heist bigger than either of them could have dreamed…and solve the mystery of Mia’s cold storage in the proc

When Brenda, geeky hacker extraordinaire, accidentally awakened Mia, an international jewel thief frozen in the 1960s, she wasn’t sure what to expect…but it surely wasn’t a new partner in crime! With their powers combined, they decide to pull off the heist of the century and with fifty years of catching up to do, Mia already has a target in mind. Writers Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith (Legally Blonde) and Kurt Lustgarten (Misfit City) and illustrator Leisha Riddel swing into action and steal the show with this daring and hilarious caper of time-melding suspense.

I found this graphic novel in the new releases section at my library and couldn’t pass it up! I love the concept of a thief frozen in time and accidentally set free by a hacker.

The first volume of this series is a lot of fun, and the action kept me really engaged throughout the four issues. The storyline definitely moves along with one thing happening after another, but one problem I had was that every issue basically just ends with no resolution. I’m left wondering what the heck is going to happen next, and since the next four issues aren’t out yet, I assume I’ll be waiting a while to find out what Brenda and Mia will get up to.

I think that this series has a lot of promise, but it might be better to wait until at least the second volume is out before picking it up.


Have you read Smooth Criminals? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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