*I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley, with thanks to the author and publishers. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: ‘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…
I can immediately tell you that if you don’t like graphic sexual detail and strong language then you should not read this book.
Personally I thought it both entertaining and educational, and would encourage my own children to read it when they are (a lot!) older, for its sensible advice and attitudes towards sex and sexuality.
Plus a ‘how not to’ for coping with bullies. Poor Jack. As happens with so many of us, he is excellent at assessing others’ problems and handing out sage, insightful advice. Yet when it comes to his own issues his friends, family and the reader are all SCREAMING at him to tell someone / call the police / it IS a big deal.
L. C. Rosen perfectly captures the slide into an emotionally abusive relationship and the crippling distress and depression it can cause; leaving the abusee fearful and compliant, even as outsiders think that the way out is clear. I felt physically sick on behalf of Jack at some points and was desperately willing him to change his course of (in)action.
I hesitated over the depiction of casual, abundant sex for teens, but (as previously mentioned) the attitudes are healthy and show good self-awareness and self-esteem so I came down on the side of that being way better than a mysterious silence on the subject. After all, hormones will rise whether we choose to speak of them or not!
Jack is an engaging, charismatic main character – especially when he has his full glitter quota – but I could happily read a whole book about Ben or Jenna too. The characters really came to life for me and I was fascinated by their firm friendship and differing attitudes to life.
I would label this book a great read for teens exploring their sexuality (all of them?!), or adults who would like more insight into the pressures of high school, peer pressure, bullying and the private life of teenagers.
My reputation for sluttiness is only partially deserved. Yeah, I was kissing that guy from St. Jude’s, sure, and then I kissed that guy Zack, who maybe was a friend of Jessica Lauter’s, but mentioned being president of his GSA, so I don’t think he was there with her. Although, maybe, I guess? I didn’t ask. He should have said something. There wasn’t a fourth guy. there was a big mirror in the bathroom, maybe that’s what Tori saw. But yeah, that’s me, Jack. I don’t love being called queeny, but I do have some fantastic tank tops and a love of eyeliner and black nail polish. I also have some great button-downs with mesh inserts and tight jeans with tears so high up you have to go commando in them. I talk with my hands a lot, too. So, sure, call me “queeny” if you’re feeling nasty. I won’t hold it against you, as long as it’s said with love.
– L. C. Rosen, Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts)
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is available on Amazon right now!