Friday, 7 August 2015

Review: Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Publication Date: August 13th 2015
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK Children’s Books
Length: 272 pages

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster UK Children’s Books for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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?

Side note: This book has been published under two different titles, because, you know, it’s fun to confuse people. So whilst you may know it as Night Owls, you may also know it as ‘The Anatomical Shape of a Heart’ (which has a much cooler cover and I wants it now) and really I’m not sure why this has happened, but it has. Let the confusion commence! Double side note, I’ve nabbed the blurb from TASOAH because it is SO MUCH BETTER than the one given to Night Owls.

So this book guys, I need to hug it, and stroke it, and generally just not let it out of my sight for a while because I loved it so much. It’s definitely one of my top books of the year with a host of brilliant characters, swoon-worthy romance and an interesting and surprising plot.

I fell in love with Bex and Jack, they were such fresh and original characters – engaging, interesting and so desperately real. They do not come across as your average YA romance types – Bex is an artist determined to make it drawing anatomical studies and Jack is a rockabilly graffiti artist creating stunning yet odd pieces of art across the city.

They meet by chance and from that first amusing conversation and heated staring match across the bus aisle, I was hooked. Whilst there is so much more to the story, the romance really drives it. It’s a gorgeous romance and is portrayed so brilliantly and realistically – all the aspects, rather than just the early smushy stuff.

Whilst we have much easier access to Bex’s thoughts and emotions as the story is given to us through her, I loved that we got to see fleshed out characters, situations and families for both Jack and Bex. They were such vivid characters, unique, fascinating and complex. I don’t want to spoil anything for the story, so I’m going to stay vague, but suffice to say I loved it. I loved them and I’m having a hard time putting it into words how much.

This is so much more than a teen romance. As with all of my favourite YA romances it is packed with incredibly real characters and issues that make this a really engrossing read, with the romance adding extra squishy feelings on top. I loved how much time is spent looking at family, as both Bex and Jack have very different family lives and situations and it was interesting seeing them tackle the problems that arose, learning how to be their own people as well as a part of a family unit. There were even several emotional moments where I got a little bit teary eyed when it came to the resolutions of the family storylines.

The writing is gorgeous and down to earth with Bex’s clear voice, her humour, her hopes and fears, all shining through in some truly gorgeous turns of phrase.

“And then he was kissing me like we were both on fire and he was trying to put the flames out, and I kissed him back like an arsonist with a pocketful of matches.”

This is an awesome book, one that took me by surprise and swept me off my feet. It’s funny, it’s unique and it’s now a firm favourite. If you like your romances with a bit of hidden depths, this is a must read.


  1. This sounds so good! And you're right, the cover for TASOAH is much cooler. :)

    1. Isn't it gorgeous?! I'm saving myself so I can nab a copy of that cover instead! It's a really fantastic book, one of my top two YA contemporaries of this year. I really hope you enjoy it too!