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

 The Title and cover of this book are perfection and I will not hear otherwise

The Title and cover of this book are perfection and I will not hear otherwise

Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)
by L.C. Rosen
Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: October 30th 2018
Rating: worth my preorder wait
Times read: 1
Recommended by: Kelly Jensen on the HeyYA podcast

Jack of Hearts and Other Hearts is a story about sixteen-year-old Jack who is very gay and very sexually active. His friend convinces him to start a sex-advise collum on her blog, picks up a secret admirer and that's when things start interesting.

Jack is quite warm and likable. This is actually a pretty remarkable feat of writing because he is also shallow (Does he have any interests outside of sex? The one class that Jack does seems to like, sculpting, he makes sexual), vain, and selfish. He is exceptionally extroverted which is always a hard sell. Pretty much everything that Jack does or wants to do in this book would be one of the lower circles of Hell for me. Even the way he relates to his mom and friends didn't feel familiar. Jack also doesn't have much character development. He starts and ends the book in almost the same place character wise. But while I didn't relate to Jack, I know that there are many out there who will. More importantly, Jack's motivations were understandable and consistent with who he is and it is was impossible not to be invested in his story.

This is definitely the most sexually explicit YA book that I have ever read. If you read the first few pages and can't deal with it, this is NOT the book for you. I can't think of another book that is this sex-positive/sex forward LGBTQIA or not. Be prepared for this book to be challenged and banned all over the place. Because something something teenagers reading about sex shock horror ect. Which is too bad because this book does it's best to normalize all kinds of sex and sexuality. There are more than a few teen readers who need to hear that message. The full columns of sex advice are in the book, and of course, Jack is writing to a reader which makes it feel as if Jack is writing to you. Or seventeen teen year old you. Which pulled me out of the story a bit. YMMV.

You can’t kill a reputation. All you can do is live your life.

This is a fast read. The writing is sharp and entertaining, and the mystery and danger of the plot propel the reader forward at a breakneck pace. I read Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) in two sittings, and it would have been one if I wasn't secretly 110 years old and go to sleep embarrassingly early.

There is also a really important theme about the fetishization of gay men by straight women and the damage that it does. Which is definitely a thing and you can see this even so far as to how much better m/m YA novels sell that f/f. I do kind of wish that Jack didn't say, "Straight people are awful." an explanation so often because it came off slightly meant spirited and he was never called out on it. But that is a minor quibble.

If you are looking for an exceptionally sex-positive LGBTQIA book to read or if you are just looking for a YA book that will push your boundaries Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is worth checking out.

From Goodreads:

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...