Jack of Hearts was an entertaining read that manages to depict teenage sexuality in a frank and amusing way.
The narrative is from Jack’s perspective which makes it easy for us to identify and or sympathise with him and his misadventures. Although the story focuses on a group on ‘privileged’ kids — as most of them attend a private school — the issues and pressures they face affect many teenagers regardless of their education or background.
The simple and straightforward narration is easy to read and the various events which happen to Jack and or the ones around him make for a fast paced read.
Jack’s sexual life is a huge part of the story but in a way that doesn’t glamorise his sex life, or his sexuality for the matter. It was refreshing to see that so many different views of sex (from Jack, who views it as a fun activity, to Ben, who is waiting for ‘Mr. Right). There is plenty of awkwardness and humour in Jack’s sex advice column but it was nice to see that the book stresses the importance of protected sex and that sex is not for everyone.
It was great to see that the story tackles and critiques the fetishisation of gay men but, most of all, I appreciated that the plot revolved around Jack’s friendships and that there wasn’t a silly ‘Prince Charming’ type of storyline.
In spite of the distress caused by Jack’s stalker, and by the way his sexual life is treated by some as belonging to the ‘public’, there are plenty of amusing and affecting scenes.
My rating: ★★★★✰ 3.5 stars