Jack of Hearts
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...

Jack of Hearts Details

TitleJack of Hearts
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 1970
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Lgbt, Contemporary

Jack of Hearts Review

  • Emily May
    January 1, 1970
    "Lord save me from straight people" This was fucking fabulous.I have to admit-- going into Jack of Hearts I thought it might be one of those books that's IMPORTANT™ but a fairly average reading experience. I love the idea of fabulously gay, but fabulously gay doesn't sound like much of a plot. Turns out it might be!Okay, I'm seriously underselling this. It's actually a book about gay stereotypes, sex positivity, and how straight women's fetishization of gay men can have extreme and far-reaching "Lord save me from straight people" This was fucking fabulous.I have to admit-- going into Jack of Hearts I thought it might be one of those books that's IMPORTANT™ but a fairly average reading experience. I love the idea of fabulously gay, but fabulously gay doesn't sound like much of a plot. Turns out it might be!Okay, I'm seriously underselling this. It's actually a book about gay stereotypes, sex positivity, and how straight women's fetishization of gay men can have extreme and far-reaching consequences. Jack Rothman is out and proud and he loves casual sex. He has a reputation for being a slut (reclaiming; not shaming) but only most of it's true. After he starts to write a sex advice column on his friend's blog, Jack receives a mysterious note from a secret admirer. However, as more notes arrive, the tone of the messages becomes darker and more threatening, forcing Jack to make some tough decisions about his self in order to protect the people he cares about.Let's just say it right now: This book contains graphic, unapologetic gay sex. I mean, with all the icky bits left in. And hell, if you ask me, it is so refreshing. Jack's frank approach to sex and sexuality offers a much-needed voice in YA. The narrative is carried by his charisma and humour, which I absolutely loved. He’s hilarious and doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he never allows the joke to be on him-- or his sexuality. The book is a mixture of funny, moving, and informative. I think it could be really helpful for confused/questioning/closeted teens who need answers. It covers everything from consent to asexuality to BDSM. Know what you want. Ask for it. Be prepared for people to say no. That's the best any of us can do. There's some great discussion about gay culture, tops and bottoms, and a critique of het people's insistence on figuring out who is who in a gay relationship, enforcing their worldview that someone has to be the "man" and someone the "woman". If it sounds heavy-handed, though, it just doesn't come across that way. Jack is fun, and his tone is open and conversational.The characters are diverse, with Jack's two closest friends being the Latinx Jenna and Ben who is black, gay and fat (reclaiming; not shaming), plus a whole array of queer characters of all shapes and skin colors. They do all have quite a bit of economic privilege and live in the very liberal NYC, but Jack is quick to acknowledge this. Also: shout-out for Jack's super badass and supportive mom.My one real complaint is the resolution of the central mystery with the love notes. It's not hard to guess who it is and the oddly-timed unveiling of the culprit has a touch of deus ex machina about it. That was the only weak point of the book for me. And the smoking (lol) because I've become such a mum.I know Jack of Hearts is guaranteed to cause a stir and get banned a million times over. Not just by homophobes either (because, duh), but by people who believe there is something dirty and shameful in enjoying casual sex, especially sex that goes beyond the vanilla norm. I know already that some folks think this book has crossed a line. But, honestly, I find it so heartwarming. Is it a little crass and gross at times? Sure. But it's cute and sweet and empowering, too. It doesn't promote sex; it promotes self-worth and individuality. Jack says outright that not having sex, waiting for the right person, never finding a right person, having lots of safe sex with lots of people... all those things are okay if that's who you are and what you want. I am not a gay man but I seriously wish I'd had Jack to tell me that when I was a teenager.CW: Homophobia; alcohol abuse; stalking; graphic sex.Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Mackenzi
    January 1, 1970
    This book is like a hug that comes with a slap on the ass (in the consensual flirtatious sexy way). It's the sex ed class you didn't get in high school, positive and frank and honest without ever being didactic. Having this book as a teen would have literally changed my life, and also upped my eyeliner game considerably.
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  • Dahlia
    January 1, 1970
    I'm telling you now that from this book's release date onward, any discussion of sex in YA (and especially in queer YA) that does not include this book is invalid. Also, I blurbed this! Here's what I said:"Bold. Unfiltered. Supportive. Funny. Boundary-shattering. There aren't enough words for how much I loved Jack of Hearts, but if I could sum it up in one, it would be: necessary. Put this book in the hands of every teen who needs the courage to find comfort in their skin and desires (or lack th I'm telling you now that from this book's release date onward, any discussion of sex in YA (and especially in queer YA) that does not include this book is invalid. Also, I blurbed this! Here's what I said:"Bold. Unfiltered. Supportive. Funny. Boundary-shattering. There aren't enough words for how much I loved Jack of Hearts, but if I could sum it up in one, it would be: necessary. Put this book in the hands of every teen who needs the courage to find comfort in their skin and desires (or lack thereof)."I am honestly shocked this book got published as is but I am so, so happy it did. (Or that it will be, technically, as I am writing this in March and it pubs in October.) This book opens with discussion of a fourgy, goes in-depth about anal sex by page 30, and squeezes in discussion of BDSM, fetishization of queer guys by straight girls, when blowjobs go bad, and when you just don't seem to want it like everybody else does. (Despite being heavily about sex, this book is extremely and explicitly ace-positive, just FYI.) I'm sure people will be of very mixed opinions about it, and that's absolutely fine, but it's a fantastic discussion book and I think it's going to help a lot of queer teens.
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  • D.M.
    January 1, 1970
    Jack is a high school student who is asked by a friend to write a column for an online blog. He becomes known unofficially as Jack of hearts (and other parts). He's a gay teen who isn't interested in settling down. He loves listening to the girls gossiping about him, even if some of the comments are outrageous. Unfortunately for him, he's gained a stalker secret admirer and things are about to get a little tricky. Jack uses his life experiences to help others through his blog posts. Luckily for Jack is a high school student who is asked by a friend to write a column for an online blog. He becomes known unofficially as Jack of hearts (and other parts). He's a gay teen who isn't interested in settling down. He loves listening to the girls gossiping about him, even if some of the comments are outrageous. Unfortunately for him, he's gained a stalker secret admirer and things are about to get a little tricky. Jack uses his life experiences to help others through his blog posts. Luckily for him, his witty writing and cheeky stories are helping him get laid. This is a fun light-hearted read intended for an adult audience. It's written from Jacks point of view and includes the letters/responses for his column. I really like Jack. He gets on with his life and tries not to annoy people. He's a lover of sex and not looking for the one. The writing is comical and Jack overshares his dating life. It's a fun read with a creepy twist. 4 stars out of 5. *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    This is going to rile up readers who don't want teens to read about sex and more, who don't want teens to read a raw, honest book about gay sex and a gay teen boy who not only loves sex but also wants others to enjoy it, too. It's a book about toxic heterosexuality and the ways white women (in particular) fetishize gay boys and men. But also, it's a book about a boy named Jack who runs a column on his friend's blog that doles out sex advice. And there's someone who hates, hates, hates that he do This is going to rile up readers who don't want teens to read about sex and more, who don't want teens to read a raw, honest book about gay sex and a gay teen boy who not only loves sex but also wants others to enjoy it, too. It's a book about toxic heterosexuality and the ways white women (in particular) fetishize gay boys and men. But also, it's a book about a boy named Jack who runs a column on his friend's blog that doles out sex advice. And there's someone who hates, hates, hates that he does it -- and they're determined to harm him. He's stalked by this person, and begins to worry his life and those in it will be truly hurt by this individual's distain for him and his confidence. An incredibly sex positive read that's a clear and real slice of teen queer culture today and more, what sorts of toxicity those who are exploring their sexuality encounter on the daily. Great pacing, great character development, and a book that's going to mean a tremendous amount to many teen (and I suspect adult) readers. My only slight niggle with this: how long till we see a female writer get away with something this radical? I'm so glad this exists, and I hope it breaks open some more ground. And I hope we see queer girls finding a book of similar frankness from a major publisher.Something else here worth noting: Jack is a child born of a sperm donor and a single mom. Bad ass. He also has one of the coolest moms in YA -- right up there with Leah's mom in Leah on the Offbeat.
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  • shady boots | #WatchPOSE
    January 1, 1970
    Okay, getting declined for this will be the most heartbreaking rejection of the year for me. Like, for real.Update: Declined. Figures. :/ Well, regardless this is going to be one of my most anticipated books this year for sure.
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is bold, ballsy, and honest! This book is sure to get readers thinking and talking.Jack Rothman is a rich, gay, New York private school-er who loves sex. He is--in his own words--a slut. He likes sex, has sex, and talks about sex. Jack writes Jack of Hearts, an advice column for teens where the sexually curious, confused, and frustrated send in questions, concerns, and fears about sex. Jack will talk about it all! A lot of his own sexual history ends up in the co Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is bold, ballsy, and honest! This book is sure to get readers thinking and talking.Jack Rothman is a rich, gay, New York private school-er who loves sex. He is--in his own words--a slut. He likes sex, has sex, and talks about sex. Jack writes Jack of Hearts, an advice column for teens where the sexually curious, confused, and frustrated send in questions, concerns, and fears about sex. Jack will talk about it all! A lot of his own sexual history ends up in the column. Fun, mishaps, likes and dislikes—they’re all in there. In detail! Columns include tips for blowjobs and anal sex, prep, protection, and what could happen and does happen during sex and after. Everything you need to know and more. What doesn’t Jack do? Well he doesn’t do boyfriends, relationships, or romance. He’s not ready. He freely admits he’s too selfish right now for a relationship. At this point in his life, he wants fun and sex with lots of boys. But a creepy stalker is putting a crimp in his plans and exploits. Disturbing notes start showing up in his locker at school that set off a chain of fear and doubt and stress. Jack has always been a source of gossip around school, but this feels different. He’s being watched and threatened. Jack and his two best friends, Ben and Jenna, are soon wrapped up in a dangerous mystery that not only threatens Jack’s safety, but also his voice and freedom to be who he is in this world.Let me just say right at the top here…in my opinion, the sex and sex advice in this book is needed on YA shelves. It just is. Teenagers are having sex and they need to see and hear that in their books. If books don’t reflect their target audience, then…well…really what’s the use? I think the frank sex talk is absolutely f*cking amazing! It’s honest and blunt. No sugar coating in sight in this book. Jack just says it and does it. It’s refreshing. That said--I didn’t agree with all of it. (view spoiler)[ I did not like the Grindr meet up with the older guy. That needed more CAUTION signs on it for me. (hide spoiler)] Sex, sex, sex is all over this book. But Jack often says he doesn’t want to be just about sex….“I know lots of kids want to be famous, and yeah, I like attention, but I’d much prefer it for things I do—like dress amazing and say witty things—than who I do.”Is sex all we get from Jack though? You’re going to have to read to find out and decide for yourself. So many questions ran through my head while reading this book and I’m still thinking about it all. I love it!There is a lot going on in this story, but let me try to break it down. Jack is a cute, stylish, makeup wearing boy. He’s happy in his own skin and you’ll feel that for sure. I loved his energy and fearlessness! But you’ll feel that energy and comfort change as this creeper begins to invade Jack’s life. He stops wearing makeup and dressing like “Jack”. He feels shushed and trapped. Sadly Jack also feels like no one will believe him about the stalker. Even a figure of authority thinks Jack brought it on himself by writing the column and having the “reputation” he does around school. (view spoiler)[ I wanted to slug Principal Pattyn so hard!!! (hide spoiler)] This “Why can’t he just blend in?” theme is addressed with force here. A lot of post-coming out issues are addressed here for teens—like straight people are horrible *sighs*, fetishizing, the heteropatriarchy, and the idea that gay people bring on the bullying themselves just by being themselves. Discussion helps spur on understanding and change and this book will get people talking for sure! These issues are out here in our society, so I’m happy to see Mr. Rosen light ‘em up for everyone to see.My one BIG complaint with this book was the big unmasking of the stalker. It really came out of nowhere! The suspense builds and builds through the story and then BAM!—we just sort of stumble on the identity of the stalker. And from there on out, I really felt like a piece was missing from the mystery. I needed something to tie it all together. I would have loved a column from Jack about trying to hold on to who you are when someone or something is trying to keep you down. The mystery and story needed something to pull it all together in my opinion. Plus….this probably isn’t fair to include in a review, but I have to say it. (view spoiler)[ I do think the police should have been involved at one point. This is a young adult book and it needs to be said and talked about—not reporting an incident makes it easier for creepers to terrorize. We need to get the crime on record to change laws and help each other. Report it! I know, I know. Easier said than done. But you will not only help yourself, but the next person. (hide spoiler)] As you can tell, this book really got under my skin. It made my emotions all light up with love and anger and pride. Phew…Sorry I feel like that all came out heavy and serious. But there is fun in this book too. I may not have loved Jack’s friends, but they added a source of humor and lightness that broke up the tension and ugliness. They shopped and glared at each other and laughed and danced. The fashion and color and parties all helped create a world so alive on the page. So please jump on in and meet Jack and his friends. You’ll get pulled into the mystery and suspense almost at word one! And I know for certain Jack will give you something to think about.Highly recommended.**Quotes taken from ARC**
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  • Rainbowheart
    January 1, 1970
    I refuse to accept the normalization and promotion of BDSM in young adult fiction. Plus, high school students having group sex and threesomes? I don't know who greenlit this book, but it's an indication of some very troubling trends, in my opinion.
  • Cassandra {semi-hiatus}
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!*“Relationships are always made up of these little perceptions of relationships, you know. What you think is friendship is something else to someone else. You can never really know what’s in someone else’s mind, no matter how much you love them.”This book is as fabulous as the cover implies.Prepare yourselves: this is going to be a short ramble of love, because I have nothing but glowing praise for this book. *Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!*“Relationships are always made up of these little perceptions of relationships, you know. What you think is friendship is something else to someone else. You can never really know what’s in someone else’s mind, no matter how much you love them.”This book is as fabulous as the cover implies.Prepare yourselves: this is going to be a short ramble of love, because I have nothing but glowing praise for this book. It sweeps you off your feet and engulfs you in feather boas, smokey eyes, and of course, lots of glitter. It’s a pulsating nightclub of a read that leaves you with that midnight on the town glow and yes, a hint of a hangover. (Specifically, a book hangover.)I haven’t had that much fun while reading a novel in a loooong time, guys.It was everything I hoped for and more. This is a perfect “f**k you” to all the adults who want teenagers to only read watered down books where they don’t feel represented. This was a book that didn’t apply chapstick to the cracked lips of bigotry. Instead, this book punched it in the face and told it to do better next time. (It was the literary equivalent of a riot, honestly.)Aside from my obvious excitement over something like this being published and out in the world, I loved the characters in this book. My main man Jack especially has my heart. He’s so genuine. Same for his best friends, Ben and Jenna. This book also addressed the very serious issue of teenage girls fetishizing gay men. Preach.This is exactly the kind of book I needed. Something fun, fabulous, and a bit flamboyant. Just like Jack. Highly recommend to anyone looking for a good time, some surprising suspense, and a novel that handles all the intimate topics those in authority want to hide. “I respect that. Just ’cause I like sex and have a decent amount of it doesn’t mean everyone else should. Everyone gets to use their naughty parts however and as often as they’d like."
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.75 starsI was so happy to read this book, it's like a breath of fresh air in the YA world. Most of the time sex in YAs is a taboo or something that is just slightly mentioned. Here it definitely was not and that's totally fine. Jack is a gay teen who's very open about his sexuality and he is totally okay with people knowing that. The online sex advice column was a great idea to show us more of J The ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3.75 starsI was so happy to read this book, it's like a breath of fresh air in the YA world. Most of the time sex in YAs is a taboo or something that is just slightly mentioned. Here it definitely was not and that's totally fine. Jack is a gay teen who's very open about his sexuality and he is totally okay with people knowing that. The online sex advice column was a great idea to show us more of Jack's personality and life, and also his past. Jenna and Ben were great and I appreciated their concern for Jack, they just had his best interest at heart. The school environment in which the book takes place was interesting to read. I was happy to see that Jack had Nance on his side supporting him, considering that the principal was no help at all. The storyline surrounding Jack's stalker gave me the creeps, it was well done in that sense. (view spoiler)[ The only thing that bugged me was the fact that they didn't do anything sooner. When Jack's mother found out I was ready to see him go and check the cameras of his building but it didn't happen. Maybe it would all have been for nothing in the end but I think a try would have been nice. The part where Jack was miserable and powerless was hard to read. He just couldn't take it anymore, he was ready to admit defeat and let the stalker win. I was so relieved when the truth was discovered and Jack finally got back to his old self. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Reyes
    January 1, 1970
    ARC kindly provided by Penguin Random House UK Children's via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!ETA: I've seen a few reviews accusing this book of promoting risky behaviour among teenagers. To be honest everything about this book is so over-the-top that I hadn't even considered the implications of some scenes. To me the "pre-game" parties Jack and his friends have where they get high and eat cucumber sandwiches and drink champagne were so hilariously fake that I couldn't take it ARC kindly provided by Penguin Random House UK Children's via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!ETA: I've seen a few reviews accusing this book of promoting risky behaviour among teenagers. To be honest everything about this book is so over-the-top that I hadn't even considered the implications of some scenes. To me the "pre-game" parties Jack and his friends have where they get high and eat cucumber sandwiches and drink champagne were so hilariously fake that I couldn't take it seriously. Same goes for the orgy described at the beginning (which never really happened) and some other sex scenes. I'd love to think that any sensible 17yo reading this book would see through this as I did, but I understand that not everyone might do, and glorification of such risky behaviour is not something I can back up. So I'm lowering my rating to 1 star because, while I still appreciate the honesty of the sex talks included here, the mixed signals (make sure you always have safe sex, but it's ok to drink at a party until you black out and don't even remember how you got home but hey! you still have your pants on!) make this book very much not recommendable for the younger part of YA.I have very mixed feelings about this book... The first chapter left me shocked - and I mean open-mouthed, have-I-just-read-that shocked. When I was 17 I used to meet my friends on the weekends to have coffee and obsess over whatever had happened that week on Friends/Buffy/X-Files, so reading about a group of high school kids having an orgy in a hot tub in the first page already was a bit overwhelming, and not because of the sex itself, but because of how honestly it was discussed. If (like me) you read NA, you know the sex in those books is always the same: mind-blowing orgasms, never-felt-this-before experiences and too-big-to-fit members. Occasionally someone experiences a bit of discomfort before seeing the fireworks for the first time, and that's about as much a concession to reality you're going to get. Not here. Sure, Jack has a lot of mind-blowing sex (always tastefully discussed) but in his column he acknowledges how awkward, funny and even painful it can be. I have never read about teenage sex, gay or straight, with the honesty and simplicity this book manages, and that's no small accomplishment. And Jack's internal struggling about "being the right type of gay" was just awesome, and more than a little bit heartbreaking.Unfortunately, that's practically the only things I enjoyed. I've already said how I spent my weekends at 17, so it was very hard for me to connect with a bunch of rich kinds who spend their time partying, drinking, smoking pot and having sex. The mystery about the notes was no mystery at all because I guessed who the stalker was the first time they showed up, so mostly I spent the book annoyed at Jack for not wanting to go to the cops, not wanting to tell his mom and pushing his friends away when they were obviously worried out of their minds for him. Plus we get no explanation at all about the stalker's motives for making Jack's life a living hell. AT ALL. So in the end the whole stalking plot felt completely unnecessary, and it was like I was reading two different books: a YA about a funny kid writing a sex-advice column, and a dark thriller (the stalker was NUTS) about a kid being harassed. It made no sense.My guess is that this book is going to be very polarizing, so I recommend it to everyone so they can have their own opinion about it (not very useful, I know, but it's the truth!)
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  • Julie Parks
    January 1, 1970
    This certainly is the kind of book that makes you say WOW! And not just the language, the cover design and also the idea behind it. The bravery to bring this idea to the publishers. Kudos!I don't care what the critics think, I think we need these kinds of books. And I don't want to call it "different" because that makes me think of it as sexist or labeled. Because I don't. It's just a great story, in a way who cares about the rest if you enjoy reading the story.I think it's inspiring and educati This certainly is the kind of book that makes you say WOW! And not just the language, the cover design and also the idea behind it. The bravery to bring this idea to the publishers. Kudos!I don't care what the critics think, I think we need these kinds of books. And I don't want to call it "different" because that makes me think of it as sexist or labeled. Because I don't. It's just a great story, in a way who cares about the rest if you enjoy reading the story.I think it's inspiring and educational. And a very entertaining read with well-developed characters and a certain something that at least in today's literary world still feels original.Thank you NetGalley for the chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Max Baker
    January 1, 1970
    Thank You Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewJack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is an important book. It deals with a lot of themes revolving around sexuality, specifically queer male sexuality. I know that a lot of books right now are focused on female sexuality, and trust me we need that, but I can't deny how happy I was that there was a YA book that catered towards a queer male demographic that isn't fetishistic or erotica. But, as I'm sure I've stated Thank You Edelweiss for providing me a free review copy in exchange for an honest reviewJack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is an important book. It deals with a lot of themes revolving around sexuality, specifically queer male sexuality. I know that a lot of books right now are focused on female sexuality, and trust me we need that, but I can't deny how happy I was that there was a YA book that catered towards a queer male demographic that isn't fetishistic or erotica. But, as I'm sure I've stated before, just because it's an important book doesn't mean it's necessarily good. Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is by no means bad, but I can't bring myself to call it anything more then just okay. It's important and it's an okay book. That's really the gist of it.The book follows Jack Rothman, a out and proud sorta femme guy going about his day to day life with a reputation of being a "slut." And I thought this character was very nuanced and interesting. A non-straight passing main character who unabashedly loves sex and wants it more then finding love. I like that this is a queer YA story that isn't a romance. Instead the book deals almost exclusively about sex. What do you like about sex? How do you tell your partner you're into or not into something? What if you don't want to have sex? These are questions that are brought up and answered in posts that Jack posts to an online blog for his advice column. And they're one of, if not the best, parts of the book. Not only are they educational, but they give a real insight into Jack's character and how he came to be as a person.There's a very interesting look at queer men in this book. How they're viewed by both straight people and members of the LGBT community. Jack is somewhat flamboyant and that draws ire from two prominent figures in the book, the Principal, who brushes off everything Jack does as dramatic and wishes he would blend in more, and Jeremy, an ex who views Jack as doing a disservice to the community by playing into stereotypes. I liked how Rosen addressed these issues, of straight people being okay with gays if they just blend in and not be gay and gay people trying not to be seen as stereotypical in order to be taken seriously. I thought both of these themes were handled brilliantly.However, the reason I didn't love this book is...well...because of everything else. There's a weird sort of boringness to this book that I didn't anticipate. And I think it's because there isn't a strong correlation between the main plot, Jack getting blackmailed, and the sex-positive message. The entire stalking plot line is creepy at times, as it's designed to be, but the resolution is so quick and so brushed off that I can't understand why it wasn't a bigger, more dramatic climax. In fact, this book doesn't have a climax, it's just build up until the book is over. There's no final scene where Jack and his stalker confront each other that feels satisfying to the narrative arc. And the book somewhat addresses this issue, mentioning how there didn't seem to be a reason for the stalker's behavior. It's like Rosen wrote himself into a corner and couldn't think of a proper motivation or resolution for the character or the plot. So what we end with is a lot of creepy notes that are creepy and that Jack deals with, but doesn't connect to the message of the book. If the stalker was upset about Jack being sexual active, make it a focal point. There's mention of the stalker making Jack take down the column and stop having sex, but it's never serious and the sex aspect is never really touched on in the other notes.So we have a book with no climax, no connection between themes and plot, and a stalker with no motivation. And yeah, all that sucks, but I could have maybe forgiven it if the characters were memorable. Specifically, Jack's two best friends Jenna and Ben.Jack as a character was fine, but Jenna and Ben? They were boring, and they were boring because there wasn't that much to them. Ben was a fat, black, gay romantic and Jenna was a Hispanic journalist/planner. You see this a lot in books that deal in having a positive message, the side characters or the characters closest to the main character have distinct traits that influence the plot, but nothing else. Jenna and Ben exist to give context to Jack and push the plot forwards. They never felt like characters, just pawns moving and saying what was needed for the plot. They don't develop, they don't grow, and, most importantly, they never had any chemistry with Jack. I never believed they were friends, because there was always these sheen between Jack and them. Jack was a full character and they weren't, and because of that it creates a separation from the reader and prevents them from empathizing with the characters. If Jenna and Ben were more interesting, more developed then my feelings on this book would be completely different. But they weren't.Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) is important. It's important because it talks about sex, queer sex, in a positive, open way. But it the story and the characters bog down the themes and the issues presented. I'd definitely recommend this book because of the educational value for sure, but I don't know how entertaining others will find it.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    Not a major fan of the cover, but excited to pick this one up!
  • Lola
    January 1, 1970
    DNFBefore we get into this negative review, let me acknowledge how awesome the cover is. Yes! I love it! A cover such as this one would not have been approved 20 years ago – and a book such as this one not published 10 years ago. Incredible. I also very much appreciated Jack’s transparency. He is bold and straight-forward. He doesn’t hold back on us. He tells us a lot and knows not what ‘‘too much information’’ means. I mean, hearing him discuss how the first time he had sex, the person penetrat DNFBefore we get into this negative review, let me acknowledge how awesome the cover is. Yes! I love it! A cover such as this one would not have been approved 20 years ago – and a book such as this one not published 10 years ago. Incredible. I also very much appreciated Jack’s transparency. He is bold and straight-forward. He doesn’t hold back on us. He tells us a lot and knows not what ‘‘too much information’’ means. I mean, hearing him discuss how the first time he had sex, the person penetrating him got some of his shit on his member was like WOW. If that’s too much for you, stay far away from this book because you’re probably not ready for Jack and Jack should be welcomed with open arms. I should have stayed away. Because although I so appreciate reading a book with an LGBTQIA+ character who is not in the closet, Jack’s constant high-pitched voice annoyed me. Well, alright, I didn’t exactly ‘‘hear’’ him talk, in a literal way, but you just KNOW when a voice is calm, angered or high-pitched after reading a couple of novels in your life and especially if you’re the type who can actually hear people’s voice tones. To me, Jack felt like he was always on edge – and of course he has the right to be, what with all the creepy letters – but I couldn’t stand it.I also didn’t particularly like the story or the secondary characters. Really, this is a book that anyone could finish in an afternoon – it’s that fast and easy to read if you’re interested – but it’s not a book that you will think about long after finishing it, unless you’re thinking about all the things mentioned that you kind of wished you hadn’t known to begin with. How is knowing some guys get shit on their penises or condoms while fucking other guys going to help me in my life ahahahah?? So I have no idea who to recommend this to, but if all that I just mentioned captured your interest, go for it, yo! (I know, this was a weird review, but this is a hella weird book so it matches ha!)
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  • Jane
    January 1, 1970
    I feel really conflicted about rating this, so I’m settling with 3.5 stars for now. I liked Jack and the excellent discussions and gay rep, but there were significant parts of this story that fell flat. The stalker/mystery storyline felt so intense, yet was resolved oddly. I also figured out who the stalker was almost immediately. Jack’s friends didn’t feel well developed as characters, and I refuse to believe that an adult (especially Jack’s own mother) wouldn’t have stepped in before things go I feel really conflicted about rating this, so I’m settling with 3.5 stars for now. I liked Jack and the excellent discussions and gay rep, but there were significant parts of this story that fell flat. The stalker/mystery storyline felt so intense, yet was resolved oddly. I also figured out who the stalker was almost immediately. Jack’s friends didn’t feel well developed as characters, and I refuse to believe that an adult (especially Jack’s own mother) wouldn’t have stepped in before things got so bad. But that being said, this book is sex positive, especially about discussing sex in a realistic and honest way. I think the writing style will certainly be hit or miss depending on your preferences, but it’s a much needed contribution to contemporary YA and queer lit.
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  • charlotte
    January 1, 1970
    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. Review also on Reads Rainbow Galley provided by publisherI had kind of mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I liked it, but there were distinct parts of it I was less keen on. Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is a story about Jack, a gay teen at high school, who is roped into writing a sex advice column for his friend's blog. But, in the process, someone makes it k 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. Review also on Reads Rainbow Galley provided by publisherI had kind of mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I liked it, but there were distinct parts of it I was less keen on. Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is a story about Jack, a gay teen at high school, who is roped into writing a sex advice column for his friend's blog. But, in the process, someone makes it known that they have been stalking him. (P.S. the stalking storyline does get pretty damn creepy, so like. Just a warning.) THE GOOD- All the talk about sex positivity and safe sex. The whole premise of the book, that Jack gives sex advice, is somewhat leery for me, given the ages of the characters, but the actual advice given is (on the whole) really good, and focuses well on sex positivity and having safe sex and consent, which I really liked. As the main character is gay, there is more focus on sex in that context, though also some more general things that apply to straight couples too (less on lesbian sex, but that's kind of understandable in this case...). There were occasional things that I thought veered a little too close to some particular tumblr discourse for comfort, but, for the most part, it was really refreshing to see a YA book that's so open and frank and positive about it all (especially with gay sex because that's still seen as pretty dirty). One thing to note, while there are discussions of sex, the sex scenes in this are all fade-to-black.- It's ownvoices, and there's huge value in books by mlm about mlm and things like sex that might otherwise be hard to find anything on. Basically, it's really important.- In one article, Jack calls out these straight girls who are busy fetishising him, and it is truly glorious. I can think of a few books that might benefit from just reading that one chapter.- The characters are funny and well-rounded (even though I did get irritated by them a few times), and actually it's a pretty compulsively readable book.THE BAD (OR LESS GOOD)- In a way, this links in with my first point in the good column. Yes, it was good having all this sex positivity, but I did feel just a bit skeevy reading about this all from a 16/17 year old. You: "Sixteen and seventeen year olds can be sexually active." Me: "Yes, but that doesn't stop me feeling fairly skeevy about it all." Maybe this is all because I'm not actually the target audience, true, but still. A point to bear in mind if you're reading this at somewhat older than sixteen.- Also, he said he started "three years earlier", which would make him 13 or 14. Like. I'd say that's too early but. You do you, Jack. So long as it's safe and consensual.- So, the characters are supposed to be about 16-17, but they read a whole lot older than that. I have genuinely never met a 16-17 year old who doesn't treat sex as something pretty funny, and is as mature about it as Jack was in this. It reads a little more like they're all college-aged.- The fact that both Jack and Jenna hook up with college guys. I really don't understand why authors can't see that this is borderline creepy. They're sixteen. People in college are at least two years older than that and, eighteen year-olds hooking up with sixteen year-olds? Creepy. (Also, his mum? Weirdly okay with it?)- While Jack's all "sex positivity!" and "not having a sex drive isn't a problem!" in his articles, he does make one comment in his narrative that I wasn't a particular fan of. It comes when he's discussing his best friend, Ben, who's "saving himself" for the right guy. And he references the fact that, in doing this, Ben is not having sex, not kissing boys, and just masturbating alone in his room. Which "must be miserable". So, he's all sex positivity, wait til the right time, in his articles, but in this? I don't know what's going on. It also never gets confronted, which was a bit sucky.- Personal dislike: this book did use the q-slur as a blanket term, but like I say. Personal.- When he uses femme to describe himself. As a cis gay guy.- "The idea of having to think, 'Wait, is this okay with my boyfriend?' before kissing some cute boy I just met at a party." Jack, that's called cheating.So, overall, I liked this book, though I definitely was not the target audience for it. But it's one of those ones that shows the importance of having ownvoices books about topics like this. It was a whole lot more engaging than yet another straight woman trying to tell me how gay boys/men feel.
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  • Michaela's Journey into Books
    January 1, 1970
    *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*This is the sex positive novel that we need in our lives.This novel follows the story of Jack who is an out and proud gay boy who has a reputation as the school slut. Jacks' friend persuades him to stat a sex advice column on her online newsletter. Jack soon starts to find notes in his locker from a secret admirer. These start of as innocent but soon turn threatening and it's up to J *I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review*This is the sex positive novel that we need in our lives.This novel follows the story of Jack who is an out and proud gay boy who has a reputation as the school slut. Jacks' friend persuades him to stat a sex advice column on her online newsletter. Jack soon starts to find notes in his locker from a secret admirer. These start of as innocent but soon turn threatening and it's up to Jack and his friends to find out who is behind them before someone gets hurt. I really loved the character of Jack, he is not afraid to be himself. He also likes sex and is not ashamed of this and is very outspoken about the fact that he is not ready to get into a committed relationship. We definitely need more characters like Jack in YA literature.I also really liked Jack's friends. Jenna can be quite blunt at times but she genially cares about Jack and wants to protect him. Ben is a sweetheart who is also gay but unlike Jack he is a virgin and is waiting for the right guy.This novel is very sex positive. The novel promotes the message that sex is normal and not something that you should be ashamed of. You should be able to do what you want with your own body as long as it is safe, legal and consensual. That whether you decide to have lots of sex or no sex it's completely normal and you should not be judged for it. It also promotes the importance of safe sex and explores non heterosexual sex.There is also discussion around homosexual stereotypes.Trigger warning for homophobia, stalking, slut shaming. There is also talk of sex.Overall, I really loved this novel and we need more sex positive stories like this in YA. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.
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  • Cori Reed
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars! I think this book will make a big difference to a lot of people.
  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    I received a free copy of this book at BookCon, otherwise I would not have read it. I think there is a fine line between not shaming teens for their sexual activities and encouraging them to engage in risky situations. This book went too far to the encouragement side without having a real discussion on any of the risks these characters were taking. I'm not naive, I know teens have sex, but it's not all fun times like depicted in this book and I think that does a disservice to the teens it is tar I received a free copy of this book at BookCon, otherwise I would not have read it. I think there is a fine line between not shaming teens for their sexual activities and encouraging them to engage in risky situations. This book went too far to the encouragement side without having a real discussion on any of the risks these characters were taking. I'm not naive, I know teens have sex, but it's not all fun times like depicted in this book and I think that does a disservice to the teens it is targeted at. I was also disappointed in the way the author glamorized drinking and drugs - especially having a parent practically encourage it. People who speak out on teen drinking and drug use don't do so because they are uptight - teenage brains are still developing and there are real consequences to exposing them to drugs and alcohol. A more realistic depiction of high schoolers would have also included the teens (both girls and boys) who get drunk at a party and wake up to discover they did something they regret, those who were pressured into sex, the nude photos that get spread to the whole school, those who truly struggle after their first sexual experience, and the teens who invite strangers they've met on Grindr to their house for sex. Jack is a great example of a teen who thinks they know everything about life. Also, I could have done with a little less straight-bashing. Especially from the head of the GSA. And the villain made no sense, by the end it felt like a throwaway plot device. This story could have been told without it.As someone who works with the teens this book is marketed to, I was disappointed. This could have been a great story about accepting and being open and honest about sexuality, but turned out to be a 'sex, drugs, and drinking are great and have no consequences!' story.
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  • Ashley
    January 1, 1970
    3.75 (:Thank you to Edelweiss and Little Brown for the advance copy of this book. I have been intrigued by this synopsis since the moment I heard about it. It’s not often that a gay teen is the main character of a young adult book, and it’s even more rare that that teen is so unapologetically open about their sexuality. Overall, I felt that this book was an important read but it did feel overwhelming and hectic at times. When I first started reading this, I was immediately taken aback by how muc 3.75 (:Thank you to Edelweiss and Little Brown for the advance copy of this book. I have been intrigued by this synopsis since the moment I heard about it. It’s not often that a gay teen is the main character of a young adult book, and it’s even more rare that that teen is so unapologetically open about their sexuality. Overall, I felt that this book was an important read but it did feel overwhelming and hectic at times. When I first started reading this, I was immediately taken aback by how much was happening in such a short amount of time, and I found this happening throughout the book in other places. This is the biggest issue I had with this story because I felt that trying to keep up with everything that was being thrown at me made me disconnect from the overall story itself. Thankfully though, after the first hurdle at the beginning for me, these parts were few and far between. Another thing I noticed right off the bat was the frankness of the language. I had never seen a book where sexual terms were used so frequently. It was quite refreshing actually since, as the book illustrates, everyone has questions and concerns but are too embarrassed to ask.One of my favorite things about this story was how real and authentic Jack as a character was. Especially in reaction to his horrible situation. He gives such in point real life commentary when he discusses how he cannot go to the police with his problem because gay people will not be looked at the same as straight, I clapped in my head while I read this on the train. Another thing I really enjoyed about this book was the way it highlighted the struggles of LGBTQ+ individuals going beyond coming out of the closet. In Jack’s emails, he talks about real date experiences and relationships that books revolving around LGBTQ+ characters do not normally touch upon.The only other thing I had an issue with was the resolution to the climax, while there were places where Jack did deal with Pinky in the story, I felt there was no real motivation or conclusion to that part of the story. I would have liked a little bit more on that.Overall, this book was a fun and important read that I believe should be popular in the contemporary genre.
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  • Tracy Fenton
    January 1, 1970
    Quick recap: my 16 year old son recently “came out” loud and proud and having seen Love, Simon at the cinema with him earlier this year I jumped at the chance to read this book when it appeared on Netgalley. He’s NOT a reader like me (I would consider disowning him just for that (joke)), but I never shy away from a challenge and may have mentioned this book to him 5 or 10 times, even getting in contact with the publisher to arrange for a paperback copy as he doesn’t read on a kindle. Eventually Quick recap: my 16 year old son recently “came out” loud and proud and having seen Love, Simon at the cinema with him earlier this year I jumped at the chance to read this book when it appeared on Netgalley. He’s NOT a reader like me (I would consider disowning him just for that (joke)), but I never shy away from a challenge and may have mentioned this book to him 5 or 10 times, even getting in contact with the publisher to arrange for a paperback copy as he doesn’t read on a kindle. Eventually he took the bait and said “why don’t we read it together on your kindle until my paperback copy arrives?”. Cue some very awkward bedtime reading and I dread to think what my neighbours thought if they could hear my 16 year old reading out loud some of this book to his middle aged mum.Once the paperback copy (with stunning matching fan) arrived my son decided he was going to go and read it alone and left me to finish the book on my kindle so here are my thoughts:Jack Rothman is a fascinating character. He’s confident, sassy, intelligent, loyal to his friends, popular and very sure of himself. He’s a credit to his single, working mum, a sensitive and caring friend and let’s not forget his sense of style, great sense of humour and love for all things glittery. He is also really, really, really into casual sex and doesn’t care who gossips about him.When his best friend Jenna asks him to write an anonymous sexual advice column on her website he, begrudgingly at first, agrees and using his frank and often brutally honest replies elevates his status to “super star” within the school. This, however, brings the unwanted and scary attention of a stalker who initially appears harmless but then starts threatening Jack, his family and friends. Now Jack is on a mission to catch his stalker and get back to partying.This book is aimed primarily at the LGBTQIA Teen market and I am pretty sure this will appeal to both boys and girls, straight or gay as there are so many important messages within this book. However, it is also bound to get a lot of negative reviews and possibly upset a few people because it’s so graphic in places and as a mum I found it both “eye opening” and “eye watering” at the amount of casual sex Jack has.To sum up my feelings here; this book is OUTRAGEOUSLY open, FANTASTICALLY frank, GLORIOUSLY gay, EFFERVESCENTLY educational, HEARTWARMINGLY honest and BREATHTAKINGLY bold.
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  • Debbie McGowan
    January 1, 1970
    It is very rare that I give a book such a low rating, particularly when I don't finish it, but Jack of Hearts felt off to me from the very first page. I've brought up two children and worked in a high school for fourteen years, so I know adolescents are sexually active and often engage in drug use, heavy drinking and so on. Whilst I don't believe books are a suitable medium for lecturing them on safe and healthy behaviours, there's something...immoral about ramming those behaviours down their th It is very rare that I give a book such a low rating, particularly when I don't finish it, but Jack of Hearts felt off to me from the very first page. I've brought up two children and worked in a high school for fourteen years, so I know adolescents are sexually active and often engage in drug use, heavy drinking and so on. Whilst I don't believe books are a suitable medium for lecturing them on safe and healthy behaviours, there's something...immoral about ramming those behaviours down their throats.This is NOT for young readers, and there are hundreds of better novels than this out there, mostly published by indie authors and small publishers. To my mind, this is yet another book with young adult characters written for adults (regardless of its claims). The first scene - the overheard conversation - I gave the benefit of the doubt because focusing on the sexual aspect of LGBTQ+ people's lives *is* a damaging yet seemingly innocuous form of homophobia. However, there's a significant cultural difference between the under-25s and older generations whereby LGBTQ+ people *may* be seen as little more than the sum of their parts by (heterosexual members of) older generations, but younger people on the whole DO NOT do this. They are far less fixed in how they view gender and its relation to their identity and their relationship with others. Perhaps this is different in the US than it is in the UK, but it simply doesn't ring true for this (UK) reader.For all of that, I persevered to 12%, at which point the justification for buying real fox fur was the final straw.Did not finish.Do not recommend, certainly not to young readers.
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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    For Jack and his amazing sex positivity, this is a four-star read. I've met plenty of people twice Jack's age who haven't learned the lessons Jack is here to teach teenagers no matter what their sexual orientation is. There's so much here that doesn't get covered in sex ed but that every teen should know: what makes good sex, the different ways people can be ready for sex, how some people don't want sex at all and that's just fine, all kinds of stereotypes, misogyny among gay men, fetishization For Jack and his amazing sex positivity, this is a four-star read. I've met plenty of people twice Jack's age who haven't learned the lessons Jack is here to teach teenagers no matter what their sexual orientation is. There's so much here that doesn't get covered in sex ed but that every teen should know: what makes good sex, the different ways people can be ready for sex, how some people don't want sex at all and that's just fine, all kinds of stereotypes, misogyny among gay men, fetishization of gay men by straight women, and even a little kink. Every time Jack got a new letter to answer I was so excited to see what the question was and how he'd respond. I was happy to suspend my disbelief and let Jack be this wise because it's the kind of thing you just want to see in the world.I gave the book three stars because the other plot was too much for me. This is a problem I run into in YA a lot and it's probably more about me than it is about the books. The central conflict around stalking really stressed me out, it made me anxious and it felt manufactured just to give some narrative oomph when all I wanted to do was let Jack be Jack. Stalking is an important thing to address, but I didn't take any pleasure out of it as a mystery to solve and I didn't feel like it led to any real character development. There were many times when I would think, "I cannot believe I'm reading this in a YA book!" But then I would think how it's so much better for teens to actually have this kind of knowledge in a way that's presented with love and care. It's a useful book for teens who aren't sexually active at all (several of the letters Jack answers are from virgins) and I can't help but imagine that it will make anyone who feels worried or scared about sex feel more in control and confident around their choices. And while Jack provides advice through a column, nothing here feels preachy or contrived. It's natural and really, really good.
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  • Tika
    January 1, 1970
    ★★★☆☆/★★★★★Book Review: Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) by L C RosenPositives✂Likeable main character and supporting cast💌Very funnyNegatives💌Rude - like an x-rated version of Love, Simon✂I guessed 'whodunit' early onI enjoyed this LGBT YA contemporary. Jack is a very likeable main character though he seems to have more sex than I have hot drinks in a week 😂 the stalker aspect was a good addition though I did guess fairly early on.Jack Rothman is out and proud. He is something of a sexlebrity a ★★★☆☆/★★★★★Book Review: Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) by L C RosenPositives✂️Likeable main character and supporting cast💌Very funnyNegatives💌Rude - like an x-rated version of Love, Simon✂️I guessed 'whodunit' early onI enjoyed this LGBT YA contemporary. Jack is a very likeable main character though he seems to have more sex than I have hot drinks in a week 😂 the stalker aspect was a good addition though I did guess fairly early on.Jack Rothman is out and proud. He is something of a sexlebrity at his school, and his apparent sexcapades are discussed in great detail in the girls bathrooms each week.When Jack's best friend Jenna asks him to write a sex advice column where readers can send in anonymous questions for Jack to answer, he is initially wary but then agrees when he sees a chance to show that he isn't quite the player that his peers believe him to be. As his 'Jack of Hearts' column gains more readers, Jack himself gains a stalker and we follow Jack and his two best friends as they attempt to untangle this escalating situation.As I mentioned in my negatives above, I do think this one should be marketed at the older end of YA, so 16+, as it's pretty graphic and sexually explicit at times. I'd recommend if you liked Love, Simon and don't kind a bit of rude and graphic language.
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  • Stacy Fetters
    January 1, 1970
    "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.”Jack of Hearts follows the life of Jack who is sexually out to the world and very proud of it. He has two very best friends who have each other’s backs no matter what. Jenna (bff) invites Jack to write a sex-help column on her blog and he accepts the offer. After the first one is posted, things start to get weird and he finds himself the target of a crazed secret admirer. As this adm "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.”Jack of Hearts follows the life of Jack who is sexually out to the world and very proud of it. He has two very best friends who have each other’s backs no matter what. Jenna (bff) invites Jack to write a sex-help column on her blog and he accepts the offer. After the first one is posted, things start to get weird and he finds himself the target of a crazed secret admirer. As this admirers demands become more dangerous and creepy, Jack and his friends band together to stop this sicko once and for all. I really enjoyed this book. When I read the synopsis, I knew that I had to have this book in my life. This was so much more than a YA story. It was raw, and openly honest about the lives of the millennial world. It sheds a lot of light on what happens to people on a daily basis. The author holds nothing back and follows things through with a lot of heart. Jacks character is one of my favorites and his sassy attitude brought myself into a better mood. I will warn you. Some situations in this book were very detailed and graphic. If sex of any kind makes you uncomfortable then this isn’t for you. But I will say that you should go into this with an open mind. The story isn’t all about sex, there’s also a mystery, being comfortable in your own skin, and loving support from family and friends. This was truly a great read and I wish people will give it a chance. Who doesn’t like a little sass with a great big mystery!?
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  • Manon
    January 1, 1970
    *4.25 Stars*I got a physical ARC at Deptcon 4 because Deptcon is the best.I enjoyed this book. It wasn't perfect but the characters were endearing and the intrigue kept me on my toes. Actually, I was just plain scared at times.I got into it a bit doubtful but as I read, the characters grew on me and I couldn't stop reading. I feel like I read the entire second half of the book without breathing even...I'm very happy and grateful that I got to read this early.
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  • Ricky
    January 1, 1970
    When my friend Harry brought this ARC to my attention, he and I both worried that the book would rely a little too much on the "promiscuous gay" stereotype. And when I finally opened it up to read the prologue, talking about all sorts of "fourgies" and our protag Jack's reputation for hooking up with literally every man he can, was that a confirmation of our worst fears?Well, then Chapter 1 comes along and we finally get Jack's POV for the rest of the story. Yes, he's very sexually active. Yes, When my friend Harry brought this ARC to my attention, he and I both worried that the book would rely a little too much on the "promiscuous gay" stereotype. And when I finally opened it up to read the prologue, talking about all sorts of "fourgies" and our protag Jack's reputation for hooking up with literally every man he can, was that a confirmation of our worst fears?Well, then Chapter 1 comes along and we finally get Jack's POV for the rest of the story. Yes, he's very sexually active. Yes, he's unapologetic about it. No, he's not nearly as promiscuous as his overblown reputation implies, and a lot of that may just lie in people's perception being skewed by stereotypes without being tempered by, you know, actually getting to know the guy.But yeah. Jack's had sex of all sorts, and done it with guys of all sorts. Gay, bi, straight - yes, there's one scene of a straight-identifying guy taking it up the ass and enjoying it, even if he makes it clear it's just a one-night stand experiment. But you know what? I liked that Rosen wrote in a cast of characters who were very open-minded when it came to sex. (Not everyone, of course. We gotta have our villains here.) But Jack, Ben, Jenna, Charlie, Peter, Ricky, Caleb, and of course Jack's mom, they're a diverse and welcoming lot, always a plus.The central mystery was a little bit half-baked at times, I found. It got to the point where I found myself skimming pages a bit just to get to the next funny part, or else cringing a bit at some maneuver Jack pulls to try and solve the mystery - like, inviting one of his prime stalker suspects over for sex and peeking at the other guy's phone under the pretext of trying to get a look at his porn history. But when the solution finally comes out, it makes a ton of sense, and reinforces one of the book's key themes with profound resonance.Not unlike with What if It's Us or Odd One Out, I read this one while laughing a lot, even if I also felt a certain cynical despair because I've never really had friends I could get high and drunk with, a parent who allowed me the freedom to explore my sexuality and tolerance for vice, and a network of people with whom I could explore said sexuality to my heart's content. Or maybe not "heart's," because Jack makes it pretty clear that love and sex aren't the same thing. Ehh, you know what I mean. But perhaps the best part of the book, for me, is Jack's advice column. Not only because of how witty as hell he is, or how much he takes care to provide the best advice to straight, gay, bi, ace people - I was especially pleased with his response to an ace-spec classmate's question about why they felt so "broken," and his insistence that they're perfectly okay as is. And also with when he gets a question about tops and bottoms that's so awkwardly worded it could only have come from a straight person, whom he well and truly takes to task. But also because, like everything else in his life, he's not afraid to get dirty but clean at the same time. He has standards, which he shows in his sex life and his advice column. Always use protection, always have consent, that sort of thing.And also, whatever your needs for sex and love may be, don't let anyone - and I mean ANYONE - tell you they're not worth pursuing.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.3.5 STARSThis book has some really important discussions revolving around sexuality and I just love how we are getting more and more YA with LGBTQIA+ main characters. Jack is an openly gay teen in high school who is very open about his sex life and whose (often untrue) exploits are the talk of the school. Then through the request (or should I say insistence) of his best friend Jenna (who is extrem Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.3.5 STARSThis book has some really important discussions revolving around sexuality and I just love how we are getting more and more YA with LGBTQIA+ main characters. Jack is an openly gay teen in high school who is very open about his sex life and whose (often untrue) exploits are the talk of the school. Then through the request (or should I say insistence) of his best friend Jenna (who is extremely annoying) he starts an advice column on her blog. This plays background to some creepy stalker-like messages Jack starts receiving which lead he and his friends to play detective in attempts to discover who is sending the messages.This book has so many important messages in relation to sexuality- it discusses safe sex, consent, pressure, identity and so much more.Something in particular I enjoyed was the contrast between Jack and Ben, one of his closest friends who is also gay. Whilst Jack is a no strings attached kind of guy, Ben portrays the wish to share a relationship with someone before being intimate. I think that contrast was really important in order to avoid any ugly stereotypes about gay men.Overall, I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would, it was surprisingly honest and I could easily recommend this to so many people. Pros: Interesting and unique main character, mystery element, open talk about sexualityCons: Secondary characters were weak, some of the advice responses were a little longer than they needed to be in my opinion
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  • Anniek
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this more than I thought I would! I expected it to be an important read, and it really is - I think it'll help a lot of LGBTQ+ readers! And aside from it being a bit like a sex ed class without ever getting preachy, it's also really inclusive and non-judgmental. The story itself was maybe a little slow to really pick up, but I loved the characters. What I loved most was how many different topics Rosen managed to touch without it ever feeling forced. Would definitely recommend!
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