Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) is a YA novel by L.C. Rosen. I found this book on the YA new release shelf at my town library. The TLDR version of this review is that I read this book in one day, and I loved it so much that I bought the Kindle edition AND the Audible editions as soon as I finished reading.
Jack is an openly gay high school student in Manhattan, and while he enjoys an active social life, it is not nearly as salacious as the rumors swirling around the NYC private school scene.
But still, because of his perceived expertise, his friend Jenna persuades him to a sex advice column for her blog based on readers’ questions. Jack is reluctant at first, but finds that he enjoys answering questions.
Around the same time, Jack finds a letter from a Secret Admirer in his locker. He doesn’t think much of it, but then he receives a second letter. And then a third. There’s a gradual shift in tone, but it quickly becomes clear that Jack is dealing with a stalker.
Jack wants to be his authentic self, spend time with his friends Jenna and Ben, and hook up with cute boys… but the threats in the letters escalate, and somebody is going to get hurt if Jack can’t figure out who has been sending him those notes.
One of the reasons that this is such a good book is that Jack is a delightful narrator. He’s confident, and witty, and he’s unapologetic about who he is and what he enjoys. As the story continues, he realizes that his reputation has shaped people’s perceptions about him. And while he doesn’t care about what people think per se, he hates how it affects their response to him.
Discussion about sex is frank, but Rosen prefers a “fade-to-black” approach rather than a play-by-play. Jack’s hookups are all consensual and positive encounters, which is the most important factor.
I would absolutely recommend Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts). Rosen does a wonderful job with providing a nice balance between gossipy high school romp and taut thriller. The big reveal came as a bit of surprise, but it makes sense if you’re paying attention. I am definitely looking forward to reading more of Rosen’s books in the future!