Being gay and out, given to wearing eye makeup, and having a pretty active sex life—although not nearly as active as the rumor mill insinuates—means that Jack is already pretty well-known at his New York high school. But when he starts writing a personal, detailed, and sex-positive advice column for his friend Jenna’s blog, his public profile rises, and attention from his secret admirer turns increasingly controlling and threatening. The principal refuses to take action, blaming the situation on Jack’s being provocative, so Jack, Jenna, and their friend Ben decide to find the stalker themselves. The forced stalker plot and its outcome disappoint, but Rosen (The Memory Wall) creates memorable protagonists and brings a fresh, frank voice to his YA debut. The ethnically diverse, authentic characters model multiple approaches to being gay and being sexually active (or not), and though the affluent private-school milieu seems a little made for TV, Jack’s efforts as a high school Dan Savage feel genuinely helpful and important. Ages 14–up. Agent: Joy Tutela, David Black Literary. (Oct.)
"Jack of Hearts (and other parts) is the sex-ed class you didn't get in high schoolpositive, frank and inclusive, but also hilarious, heartfelt, and impossibly fun. This book is like a hug that also slaps you on the ass (in the consensual flirtatious sexy way)."Mackenzi Lee, the New York Times bestselling author of The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
"Told in a ferociously original voice, this subversive and defiantly queer ode to living your truth as an act of resistance arrives right on time."Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving and White Rabbit
"Unapologetically honest, refreshingly bold, and gloriously celebratory, being proud of who you are never felt so good. I loved this book."Simon James Green, author of Noah Can't Even and Noah Could Never
"This is the sex-positive gay YA novel of your dreams, starring one of the most authentic and lovable YA characters ever. Warm, funny, and incredibly sexy, Jack of Hearts totally has my heart."Cale Dietrich, author of The Love Interest
"Bold. Unfiltered. Supportive. Funny. Boundary-shattering. There aren't enough words for how much I loved Jack of Hearts, but if I could sum it up in one, it would be: necessary. Put this book in the hands of every teen who needs the courage to find comfort in their skin and desires (or lack thereof)."Dahlia Adler, author of Under the Lights
* "The dearth of sex-positive YA literature-particularly sex-positive queer literature-makes this book an essential addition to library collections that serve teens."School Library Journal, starred review
* "This is a bold, inclusive exploration of teen sexuality that, propelled by Jack's brazen voice, never feels preachy....The mystery adds truly compelling drama....Fresh, sex-positive, and unabashedly entertaining."Booklist, starred review
"A sex-positive and thoughtful romp with humor and heart."Kirkus Reviews
"Rosen (The Memory Wall) creates memorable protagonists and brings a fresh, frank voice to his YA debut."Publishers Weekly
Gr 10 Up—Contemporary sex advice meets mystery in this high school story of bullying and being true to oneself. Jack is out and proud, unashamed of his love of fashion or his voracious sexual appetite. When his friend asks him to write a sex-advice column for a blog, he is happy to help. Mysterious pink notes then start appearing in his locker, and soon they turn from playful to threatening. Jack begins to shrink into himself until he is barely recognizable to his friends and classmates. This sex-positive story is interspersed with the emails Jack's advice column receives, his responses to those questions, group chats among Jack and his two friends, as well as the eerie letters he gets in his locker. An upbeat, conversational writing style makes this story move quickly, and the understandably creepy atmosphere surrounding the unwanted notes is punctuated by his adventures with his friends, supportive relationship with his mother, and sexual exploits. VERDICT The dearth of sex-positive YA literature—particularly sex-positive queer literature—makes this book an essential addition to library collections that serve teens.—Jenni Frencham, formerly at Columbus Public Library, WI
When a secret admirer becomes a stalker, how much will Jack give up to make it stop?
Everyone at 17-year-old Jack Rothman's private New York City high school knows he's gay and that he has a lot of sex (though the gossip is often far juicier than the reality). When Jack, a white boy, starts getting pink origami love notes in his locker, he and his besties, Latinx Jenna and African-American Ben (who is also gay), speculate on who they might be from; but they are far more focused on Jack's agreeing to write an "anonymous" advice column for Jenna's news blog and partying. Jack keeps subsequent notes a secret when they start threatening Jenna, Ben, and Jack's mom. Only when the stalker's threats become explicit does he tell, and the trio start investigating. As the creep factor rises and the investigation falters, Jack realizes he will have to do something drastic to save the ones he loves. The only weakness in Rosen's racy mystery-cum-sex manual is the deus ex machina discovery of the culprit. The characters are believable in their milieu of privilege. Jack's frank (and responsible) advice in his columns may not be for the easily shocked, but it's related as if from a peer. Booze, smoking, explicit language, and pot use make this one for mature readers.
A sex-positive and thoughtful romp with humor and heart. (Fiction. 15-18)