Wednesday, 5 August 2015

ARC Review - Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

I was given an Uncorrected Proof of this book in exchange for an honest review by Liz at Simon and Schuster, courtesy of Hashtag Reads. This fact has not however influenced my following review, and all opinions are my own. Minor spoilers ahead.

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Image and description from Amazon.co.uk

Meeting Jack on the Owl - San Francisco's night bus - turns Beatrix's world upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive ...and possibly one of San Francisco's most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is. But Jack is hiding much more - and can she uncover the truth that leaves him so wounded? A unique and profoundly moving novel, Night Owls will linger in your memory long after the final page.

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How do I even begin to describe a book that resulted in so many post-it labels?

Simply put, this book is utter perfection. Not since Aristotle and Dante have I loved (and cried at) a work of such magnificent beauty. Jenn Bennett seems to weave words so effortlessly that Night Owls rolls off the page like poetry. Unique, personable writing really gets you into Beatrix’s mind-set so that every moment (good and bad) is felt as if they were your own.

The characters are flawless in their creation, and it’s impossible not to feel for each one’s personality, actions and motivations. I loved Beatrix’s strength and courage, standing up firstly for what she wants and then for what is right. I especially loved how such strength flourished in Jack’s presence. Jack meanwhile is mysterious and brooding (the best combo, right?) but he has his fair share of emotional moments where Bex and his family are concerned, which were always both touching and heart-breaking.
Beatrix and Jack were of course my favourites but I feel I should make special mention of Heath, Bex’s brother. True to the brotherly name he can be annoying and unhelpful at times but I also found him to be quite sweet. His relationship with boyfriend Noah is especially adorable, and I loved how Bennett introduced their relationship so casually. That these characters are gay is just a fact – not a big deal – as it should be in life.

In fact, one of the things that I loved most about the book is that it never labelled. The story deals with quite a few serious issues from homelessness to mental illness and yet Jenn Bennett never once labels her characters. If anything the book is about NOT labelling people; taking them not as people with scars or differences, just simply people. It’s a story about healing, about accepting everything about a person and loving them unconditionally. True to its tag line this book, regardless of who you are and what your life entails, is about living and feeling alive.

Despite the book’s clear messages and themes however, it’s not preaching in the slightest and still reads as a beautiful, heart wrenching love story. Every turn of the page pulls you further into the story, leaving only whispered hopes that these two will overcome everything they endure and stay together. If the trials and tribulations that these two teens face – and the way they overcome them – doesn’t make you cry, then I’m convinced you watched Bambi with dry eyes.

This is a book that I think everyone should read. A story that makes you laugh, cry, swoon, and aptly remember what it’s like to fall in love. I give it a sparkling 5 stars because it was wonderful in every sense of the word and I simply cannot fault it. If you want evidence, here’s a picture of how my Proof looks.


Pink = Cute. Green = Funny. Orange = OMG!
(And the big pink one at the top is where I sobbed)

The official release dates for Night Owls is the 13th August in the UK and the 3rd of November in the US (As ‘The Anatomical Shape of a Heart’).


Playlist Choice – Help by Hurts.

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