Author: Jenn Bennett

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Alex, Approximately Review

May 14, 2017 Reviews, Young Adult 0 ★★★★

Alex, Approximately ReviewAlex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett
Published by Simon Pulse on April 4th, 2017
Pages: 391
Source: Library
Also by this author: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
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four-stars
The one guy Bailey Rydell can’t stand is actually the boy of her dreams—she just doesn’t know it yet.
Classic movie fan Bailey “Mink” Rydell has spent months crushing on a witty film geek she only knows online as Alex. Two coasts separate the teens until Bailey moves in with her dad, who lives in the same California surfing town as her online crush.
Faced with doubts (what if he’s a creep in real life—or worse?), Bailey doesn’t tell Alex she’s moved to his hometown. Or that she’s landed a job at the local tourist-trap museum. Or that she’s being heckled daily by the irritatingly hot museum security guard, Porter Roth—a.k.a. her new archnemesis. But life is whole lot messier than the movies, especially when Bailey discovers that tricky fine line between hate, love, and whatever it is she’s starting to feel for Porter.
And as the summer months go by, Bailey must choose whether to cling to a dreamy online fantasy in Alex or take a risk on an imperfect reality with Porter. The choice is both simpler and more complicated than she realizes, because Porter Roth is hiding a secret of his own: Porter is Alex…Approximately.

Jenn’s first YA novel left a major impact on me as a reader. I can’t totally explain it, all I know is that it was beautifully written and completely took me by surprise. That being said, I’ve been anxiously awaiting the release of her second young adult novel. I’ve been hearing nothing but positive things about Alex, Approximately so I couldn’t wait to read it for myself. In the end, it was pretty much everything that I wanted it to be. It had wonderful characters, solid plot, and fabulous romance. My standards were rather high because of her last book, so it says a lot that this one managed to stay close enough to that. It wasn’t quite as good as her previous novel, but like I mentioned, that’s a lot to live up to. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this book. I feel like I didn’t love it as much as others seem to, but it still was a decent read for me. It was fast paced and just what I needed. I’m glad that I read this!

Bailey is a strong character for the most part. I thought her personality was so much fun and I loved her sense of humor. She was relatable, and just a decent character all around. She also had a whole lot of depth to her as well. The trauma that she had was a bit darker than I expected, but I thought that Bennett addressed the subject with a very good amount of sensitivity. I also adored her love for classic films. I can’t say that I’ve personally watched many of these films, but I just adored the passion that she had for it nonetheless. You could really feel that passion bleeding through as the book progressed. I won’t lie though, it did bug me how naive she was about Alex’s identity. The worst part about it was how hellbent she seemed to track down who it was, but she wasn’t even close to discovering this.

Porter is definitely my dude. It’s no secret that I’m a true sucker for book boyfriends and Porter is a wonderful one to say the least. He’s funny, swoony, smart, and charming. What more could you possibly want? I’m not sure if he’s an all time favorite of mine, but he’s still scored major points in my book anyway. I thought that his personality was so hilarious and memorable. He was a cocky guy, but not to the point where it became unbearable or frustrating. You still cheered for the guy, and wanted the best for him. This was especially the case once you discovered his own background. Can I just hug him now?

Since this is written by an author who has previously released adult romance books, you can guess that even her YA books are steamy. The romance doesn’t disappoint here in the slightest. Porter and Bailey have a hate to love or enemies to lovers romance, which is a trope that I’ve always loved. I thought that she couldn’t have written it any better. You immediately believe in the passion that the two share for another from the start. It’s also a fairly mature YA romance which I enjoyed. I’m always a fan of these books that promote sex positivity, and this one totally does that. You’ll fall in love with Porter and Bailey both as individuals, and you’ll love them even more as a couple.

While this wasn’t quite the book that I was expecting, it was still a damn good one. I was REALLY close to giving it five stars, but something held me back from doing that. I will say that the plot was still unique enough. I also felt like the characters were very complex and well developed. You truly grow to love basically every character that Bennett introduces us to, which is a hell of an accomplishment. All in all, I’ll say that this was a really beautiful romance that I thoroughly enjoyed from the first page until the last.

four-stars

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The Anatomical Shape of a Heart Review

November 3, 2015 Reviews 1 ★★★★★

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart ReviewThe Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett
Published by Feiwel & Friends on November 3rd 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Also by this author: Alex, Approximately
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five-stars
Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down.
Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart?

There is just not enough words to describe how amazing this book is. I read it back in July and was immediately struck by the beauty of the characters and this story. It was unlike anything I’ve ever read and quickly became one of my favorite YA romance books to date. I can’t talk enough about how freaking swoony Jack is. If you dare pick this up, full warning that you will fall madly in love with him. It’s pretty impossible not to fall for this guy honestly! Jenn Bennett has created her first YA novel that I won’t soon forget.

If you can’t already tell, I have tons and tons of feelings about this book. It’s hard to know exactly where to start with a book that you really love. However, I guess I’ll start by talking about what makes these characters so memorable. Beatrix is a unique and determined character who knows what she wants to do with her life. She long to be like Leonardo da Vinci and draw sketches of cadavers. She is determined to win a scholarship so she has the money to afford college. Jack is a character who is from a much different world from Beatrix. He’s a rich kid who also is a graffiti artist for reasons unknown to her. More on their personalities: Beatrix is a bit hard to crack at first and it bothered me how mean she was to Jack, but she quickly becomes more likable as the book progresses. Jack truthfully doesn’t have an unlikable moment in the story, you cheer for him from the start.

I loved how sex positive this book is. Beatrix isn’t a virgin while Jack, who has a reputation for being a player, actually is a virgin. I love how the two talk about what they both want when it comes to sex. They don’t revolve their relationship around it, but they still use it to move their relationship to the next step and I absolutely loved how well written this part was. It was honest and shows that communication is key in every single step in a relationship. Kudos to Jenn Bennett for writing this incredibly honest story.

If you can’t already tell, I love Jack and Beatrix as a couple. They completely balance each other out and I love how honest they remain with one another. What I love the most about this book is that it has no love triangle, cheating, or a breakup between our two central characters. It simply is a journey with a few roadblocks in the way. However, these are natural things that are out of their control, not choices made by the characters. I love how realistic the drama is and that it’s not just drama that isn’t needed. We always are certain that Jack and Beatrix are going to make it out together, but we wonder about the other characters as well.

In the end, I can’t recommend this book enough. There is one specific moment towards the end that explains the title of the book and I was definitely nervous that my heart was going to explode from cuteness overload. It was adorable without being overly sappy. I loved everything about this book and wouldn’t really change a thing about it. So if you have loved YA romances like My Life Next Door, On The Jellicoe Road, The Distance Between Us, or Since You’ve Been Gone, I think you’ll truly enjoy this one as well.

five-stars

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