Summary: After everything has been taken from Annabelle, she’s decides that there is nothing else to do but run. Running from her hometown of Seattle all the way to Washington D.C., Anna begins to run and tries not to think about why. But no matter how hard she tries, she just can’t seem to escape the tragedy from the past year and the person who haunts her. Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and tracked by her self-appointed PR team (her two best friends and brother), Annabelle forms into a reluctant activist as people connect her with her past and trauma. Being welcomed with block parties and being cheered on by crowds as she crosses borders is nice, but Annabelle is unable to leave her guilt and shame behind. Through good and bad distractions, Annabelle is set on running to Washington D.C. and face her past and future.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Deb Caletti’s A Heart in a Body in the World was featured on many 2018 favorites lists this past December. Between the hype and being the contemporary fan that I am, I knew I had to read this book following Annabelle’s run from Seattle and Washington D.C. after a devastating tragedy. A Heart in a Body in the World is a heart-breaking, yet impactful and current read with a fantastic cast and writing style.
A Heart in a Body in the World writing style differs from most YA contemporaries, told in the third person perspective. However, this did not prevent me from connecting with Annabelle and the other characters. From the novel’s start, Annabelle starts to run and makes the decision to run the entire 2,7000 miles to Washington D.C. The tragedy that causes Annabelle to run in the first place isn’t fully explained until the end, but Caletti does provide snippets of her past life and experiences with “The Taker.” This book is very much a feminist YA read addressing toxic masculinity, mental health, violence, and loss. I found myself near crying in both in the novel’s happy and sad moments. The moment when Annabelle crosses into Idaho especially got me.
Aside from “The Taker,” A Heart in a Body in the World is filled with fantastic and supportive characters. From his Italian phrases to relationship with Dawn, Grandpa Ed was probably my favorite. I don’t know any other fictional character I would love to run/RV across the country with! Annabelle’s self-appointed PR team made up of her two best friends and younger brother often stole my heart for their bits of humor and pushing Annabelle in the right direction. While they were often charged with sadness or suspense, I did like delving into Annabelle’s past and learning about relationships back then. I think Caletti’s doing so allowed readers to better understand why and how much Annabelle has changed.
Overall, A Heart in a Body in the World is an extremely relevant read with much depth and many heart-shattering moments. Annabelle’s speech about her past and what she hopes to do with the future towards the end of the book was so powerful, making me further hope that this book gets into the hands of as many readers as possible.
Have you read A Heart in a Body in the World? Have you read any of Deb Caletti’s other books? Share in the comments!