Sunday, September 13, 2015

Review: Night Owls by Jenn Bennett

Title: Night Owls
Alternate Title: The Anatomical Shape of a Heart
Author: Jenn Bennett
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published Date: 1 October 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

I received this book through NetGalley from Simon & Schuster (Australia) for review.

Feeling alive is always worth the risk.

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.

But Jack is hiding a piece of himself. On midnight rides and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who this enigmatic boy really is.
(summary from Goodreads)

Night Owls is a great emotional contemporary full of weird and wonderful characters - but I just can't help feeling it was missing something.

I have a lot of love for Bennett's characters. They're kind of brilliant in that each of them are quite unique in some sort of stand out way. Beatrix is determined in everything she does and her interest in anatomical drawing was creepily fascinating. This isn't a talent I've experienced in a book before, and Bennett writes it in a way that is captivating and moving. Jack's art is equally beautiful and meaningful. They're both kind of perfectly suited to each other and their relationship is lovely. It starts a little fast. I get instant connections, which these two absolutely had, but after only one meeting they can't stop thinking about each other and Jack's declarations come on a little too strong and quick for my comfort. But then it slows down and builds nicely, which was much more enjoyable. Bennett's secondary characters are also memorable, but I hesitate to go into detail. Some of them offer elements to the story that shouldn't be spoiled. Read Night Owls and learn about and love them for yourself!

The story of Night Owls is everything I should love. It's certainly got all of the contemporary YA makings - new romance, struggles with questions of who they are and what they want to do, strained family relationships. Truly the story is charming, and Jack's family life adds a depth I wasn't expecting. I would have liked more of Jack and his family, actually. As Night Owls is entirely from Beatrix's point of view, we only get a glimpse into his world and I think some potential for this story to be just a little more is missed. The thing is, I built up my own expectations of this book to be something a bit different than what it is, and so while I really liked Night Owls, I can't help but feel like I wanted more. More of what though I'm having trouble defining. I guess more fun, more of that alive feeling and risk the tagline alludes to. The midnight rides and city rooftops are not that prevalent. Neither are the excitement and danger of Jack's graffiti. The story is very enmeshed in Beatrix, which isn't a bad thing at all, but I'm left with a feeling that Bennett was building to something that just never came to par. 

Night Owls is an enjoyable story with delightful characters, but it simply left me wanting.



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