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A Heart in a Body in the World

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When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run? So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run? So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her. Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that. Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.


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When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run? So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she When everything has been taken from you, what else is there to do but run? So that’s what Annabelle does—she runs from Seattle to Washington, DC, through mountain passes and suburban landscapes, from long lonely roads to college towns. She’s not ready to think about the why yet, just the how—muscles burning, heart pumping, feet pounding the earth. But no matter how hard she tries, she can’t outrun the tragedy from the past year, or the person—The Taker—that haunts her. Followed by Grandpa Ed in his RV and backed by her brother and two friends (her self-appointed publicity team), Annabelle becomes a reluctant activist as people connect her journey to the trauma from her past. Her cross-country run gains media attention and she is cheered on as she crosses state borders, and is even thrown a block party and given gifts. The support would be nice, if Annabelle could escape the guilt and the shame from what happened back home. They say it isn’t her fault, but she can’t feel the truth of that. Through welcome and unwelcome distractions, she just keeps running, to the destination that awaits her. There, she’ll finally face what lies behind her—the miles and love and loss…and what is to come.

30 review for A Heart in a Body in the World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    This book is beautiful and haunting and powerful and I’m just 😭😭😭 maybe I’ll come back to write a more coherent review when I stop crying but tonight is not that night. EVERYONE needs to read this book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie Zantopoulos

    "But she feels this in her heart and soul and with every searing and burning step: A crime must have a punishment and this is part of hers." I am kicking myself for not taking a physical arc copy of this book at BookCon because I didn't think I could relate to the running theme that I knew would feature heavily in this book. However, I'm glad the copy went to somebody else and I was approved on NetGalley because, man, I was wrong to think I could pass this book up. "She wants to propel herself in "But she feels this in her heart and soul and with every searing and burning step: A crime must have a punishment and this is part of hers." I am kicking myself for not taking a physical arc copy of this book at BookCon because I didn't think I could relate to the running theme that I knew would feature heavily in this book. However, I'm glad the copy went to somebody else and I was approved on NetGalley because, man, I was wrong to think I could pass this book up. "She wants to propel herself into the dark and terrifying universe. Being that unanchored and that much in peril seems preferable to being here, grounded on the earth that wrecked her." If you are making a list of hard-hitting, heartbreaking, and beautiful books and this isn't on it, well, you're wrong. A Heart in a Body in the World is a story about survival, guilt, trauma, love, hope, and change. Annabelle starts off the story having a bit of a breakdown, running away from picking up her dinner (it's literally still in a take-out bag as she sprints away from town) and refusing to go back home. She's got it in her head that she's going to run straight from Seatle to Washington D.C. and even though she's got no idea what she'll do when she gets there, she's going all the same. "She is a mess of wounds Fresh wounds, old ones, wounds in various stages of pain and healing. She wonders if all of her will ever feel healed at the same time." Throughout the course of this book we understand her motivation for running, the horrific events of gun violence unfold, and we get a look at Belle's mental state (which she's amazing about checking in with). You see her coping with trauma and loss. You see her dealing with survivor's guilt and shame. You see all the ugly personal gritty bits of a girl who has dealt with forced intimacy and unspeakable trauma as she becomes an inadvertent activist raising awareness as she runs across the country with the aide of her grandfather and his RV. "There are all kinds of hands- careful ones, cruel ones, ones you can trust and ones you can't. You don't always know the difference until too late, but it's true, too, that ones as disturbed at The Taker's are rare. They are rare, she reminds herself. Most hands are good." This is not only a story of woe, it's also a story of healing, of mending back the pieces of a broken heart and reclaiming your voice and your power and doing something to force the change you want to see in the world. It's a timely, harrowing, and beautiful look at the world we live in today, a world that does not value or protect its young girls the same way it does men and guns. Some books you read and enjoy but soon forget, this is a book I won't be forgetting. If you are looking for a contemporary that gives you insight into the realities of the world around you, a vantage point I hope nobody else ever needs to have, then please consider picking up this book. "She should be furious. She should rage like mad every day. Her rage should start at The Taker and extend to every single way her body is illegally controlled or left unprotected." Trigger warnings for forced intimacy, stalking, gun violence, murder, the death of a loved one, trauma, self-harm by way of pushing past physical boundaries (aka running too long/too hard at times), PTSD, grief, and depression. All quotes were taken from an ARC copy and are subject to change. ARC provided by Simon Pulse by way of NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. CONTENT WARNINGS: intimacy, stalking, grief, PTSD, depression, gun violence, murder, death of loved ones, self-harm (pushing oneself past physical boundaries) As a voracious reader, I’ve read many stories over the course of my lifetime that have resonated with me deeply. But books like A Heart in a Body in the World, b This review originally appeared on Novel Ink. I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. CONTENT WARNINGS: intimacy, stalking, grief, PTSD, depression, gun violence, murder, death of loved ones, self-harm (pushing oneself past physical boundaries) As a voracious reader, I’ve read many stories over the course of my lifetime that have resonated with me deeply. But books like A Heart in a Body in the World, books that strike you in your very soul— those are much fewer and far between. This book contains one of the most important stories I’ve ever read. In A Heart in a Body in the World, we follow a runner named Annabelle who, after undergoing a terrible tragedy, decides to run from her home city of Seattle, WA across the country to Washington, DC. It’s a story about grief, about guilt, about toxic masculinity and how it breeds violence, about what it means to be a person. Every single element is masterfully woven into this gorgeous narrative. I don’t know how to fully articulate the emotional impact this book had on me. It’s brutally painful to read, but that just makes the moments of hope in this story all the more joyful and triumphant. Annabelle’s physical journey mirrors a personal one. I felt for Annabelle during every panic attack, every guilty feeling, every memory, and every triumph. Unfortunately, her story is one that will be all too familiar to women everywhere. A huge thread in the story revolves around what it’s like to exist as a woman in a world where, all too often, we are still viewed as objects, as prizes, as possessions. It examines the real, horrific repercussions of toxic masculinity. Women are socialized to never, ever come across as impolite or unfriendly, and too often, that puts our safety at risk. So much gun violence we see in this country stems back to toxic masculinity, to this sense of entitlement toward women, and I really appreciate Caletti tackling these subjects in tandem in this book. Over the course of the story, Annabelle runs 2,700 miles. I’m not a runner, so the idea of running 16 miles a day for five months straight is just… mind-boggling to me. Though Annabelle originally embarks on this journey alone to process her trauma, her family and friends form the support system that keeps her going. I LOVED every single one of Annabelle’s friends and family so, so much. From her mother, Gina, who calls her three times a day to check in; to her brother, Malcolm, who, along with two of her friends, sets up a GoFundMe to fund Annabelle’s run; to her grandfather, who drives the trip along with her in his RV, watching over her every step of the way… their support brought tears to my eyes. They were always there to pick her up when the journey seemed impossible. Some of my favorite scenes in the book involved Annabelle running into people along her route who heard about her run and showed up to support her in ways both large and small. The kindness of these strangers was one of the most hopeful parts of the story– it reinforces the fact that, while the world is terrible and dark and contains some awful people, there are also so many good people. What are we even doing on this earth if we don’t look out for one another, anyway? This was, somehow, my first Deb Caletti novel, and her writing was stunning. I was put off at the beginning of the story due to the use of third-person present tense, but after reading a few chapters, this tense did not detract from my enjoyment of the story whatsoever. There are stunning, poignant passages about womanhood, violence, grief, and kindness throughout the novel. Every few pages, I would read a paragraph that left me breathless, which hasn’t happened in to me in quite a while. The care Caletti put into writing this story is evident on every page. Okay, now that I’ve cried three times while writing this review… I could go on and on about A Heart in a Body in the World and why it’s exactly the timely, important story that everyone needs to read, but honestly? I think this is a reading experience you have to experience yourself. I recommend this story to absolutely everyone. It instantly became my favorite book of the year, and I think it’ll be damn near impossible to top it.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jane

    I don’t even have words for how vital and heartbreaking and inspiring this book is. This is probably one of the strongest, most well-crafted books I’ve read in such a long time. This was just incredible.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This is one of the strongest YA contemporaries I've read in a LONG time. Caletti's writing is lovely and accessible, but it never feels dumbed down. I think she's particularly strong at using language to convey how trauma affects Annabelle's (the MC) mental health/mental state. This is a book examines how women and girls are so often are reduced to objects to be controlled by another. I was incredibly impressed with how Caletti dives into the nuances of this. When girls are ceaselessly conditioned This is one of the strongest YA contemporaries I've read in a LONG time. Caletti's writing is lovely and accessible, but it never feels dumbed down. I think she's particularly strong at using language to convey how trauma affects Annabelle's (the MC) mental health/mental state. This is a book examines how women and girls are so often are reduced to objects to be controlled by another. I was incredibly impressed with how Caletti dives into the nuances of this. When girls are ceaselessly conditioned to derive value in relation to the male gaze, what happens when that becomes internalized? Caletti digs into the vulnerability of wanting to feel pretty, to be perceived as desirable, and how that DOES NOT mean you are inviting toxic behavior, despite the fact that society always tells us otherwise. The use of extreme distance running as a reclamation of agency is just so well done. I loved Annabelle, loved her family, her friends, the people she meets on the road. All of it. I can imagine some people might be frustrated by the fact that we don't learn what happened to cause Annabelle this much pain. But by prioritizing the effects that an act of violence had on Annabelle, on her friends and family, rather than prioritizing the act itself, Caletti avoids sensationalizing it. If you really want to know what happened, it's not that hard to look up. But I would recommend going in without doing so. Cannot recommend this enough.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Claire (bookscoffeeandrepeat)

    Annabelle was running away from her problems, literally running away from the issues that bothers her. So she sets foot to Washington D.C. despite the pain on her heels. It had been heavily emphasized that running was a great distraction for Annabelle. While reading this book, I wasn't sure what she had been talking about because Annabelle was thinking about many different things. The author didn't reveal what the premise referred to as the "tragedy" so the reader had to stick till the end for t Annabelle was running away from her problems, literally running away from the issues that bothers her. So she sets foot to Washington D.C. despite the pain on her heels. It had been heavily emphasized that running was a great distraction for Annabelle. While reading this book, I wasn't sure what she had been talking about because Annabelle was thinking about many different things. The author didn't reveal what the premise referred to as the "tragedy" so the reader had to stick till the end for the reveal. Hence, it was difficult to gauge what this book was essentially about besides running long distance for distraction. In a way, I wasn't sure how running helped Annabelle except to get her mind off the things that had been bothering her. I thought that counseling would've greatly helped her a lot more than running to Washington DC. This could also mean that I did not connect with this book as much as I wanted to. Most of the time, I get the urge to skim the pages because it felt like nothing was happening. The novel's pacing was slow and other times I felt that I couldn't see the "big picture" or what I thought I should be getting out of this story. Even if this had been the case, relatable topics had been addressed in this novel. There seemed to be a gap/bridge/disconnect between the mc and its reader. I felt that I was supposed to connect with the main character especially when the topic/s addressed in this novel were meant to pull one's heartstrings (or it was supposed to be relatable). The problem was that the narrative style or prose wasn't my cup of tea. The writing was in third person but it was as if the narrator was speaking to the reader. I thought it seemed unnatural and the timeline was kind of choppy. Also, the flashbacks were in the same page (or chapter) with the present story timeline. It's a shame because I liked the premise of this book, however this book just wasn't for me. ***Huge thanks to the publisher and Rockstar Book Tours for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ari

    3.5 stars. I might set it to 4 after I think about it for a while. The story is actually really good (the idea behind it even better), I could relate with the main characters every now and then and I know how important it is to give voice to this subject. But the way it was told... the pacing is really slow in the beginning (bordering on boredom) and the big reaveal comes only near the ending, so even though I heard the grieve in her voice I didn’t actually feel it, as I was - frustratingly - tryi 3.5 stars. I might set it to 4 after I think about it for a while. The story is actually really good (the idea behind it even better), I could relate with the main characters every now and then and I know how important it is to give voice to this subject. But the way it was told... the pacing is really slow in the beginning (bordering on boredom) and the big reaveal comes only near the ending, so even though I heard the grieve in her voice I didn’t actually feel it, as I was - frustratingly - trying to put the pieces together. Indeed, I guessed what was supposed to come, that was not the problem, I just didn't feel emotionally invested as I didn't know on what to focus all those emotions I was supposed to feel. I think that I enjoyed more the secondary characters, because they were more active. Which then sounds kind of strange, because Annabelle is the one actively running. There is also this talk about the 13 pages of hurt, I just felt like I got these hundreds of pages of guilt, of shame, of anger, of sadness, of running away. I just didn't know from whom and towards what exactly, so after a while there was just all this running (physically and mentally) and beautifully written beautiful paragraphs, and I wanted... more. BTW, did I ever tell you how I love this cover? It's stunning, I simply adore it! PS: I would also recommend The Other Side of Lost, the main character is running away from her own kind of grieve and I feel like they are related in a way.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    4 stars For someone who doesn't like running, I ended up really enjoying this book about a girl running. Lesson learned: you don't need to a fan of a book's topic to like said book. I don't like mass murder, but it doesn't mean I don't like reading about it. Luckily, Annabelle's journey isn't as deadly as mass murder, and you don't need to like running to like this book. I was really invested in her story of running across the United States and, most of all, why she was running across the United St 4 stars For someone who doesn't like running, I ended up really enjoying this book about a girl running. Lesson learned: you don't need to a fan of a book's topic to like said book. I don't like mass murder, but it doesn't mean I don't like reading about it. Luckily, Annabelle's journey isn't as deadly as mass murder, and you don't need to like running to like this book. I was really invested in her story of running across the United States and, most of all, why she was running across the United States. This book is extremely riveting. When I opened it, I just got sucked up into Annabelle as she starts her run across the United States with zero planning, and this book never spit me out. I never knew running could be so exciting, but the way Caletti tells it--not only with Annabelle's media attention etc., but also with the flashbacks of The Taker interspersed in the narration--makes it something you want to read, and definitely not a chore. I was there cheering Annabelle on the whole time, and really wanted her to succeed and most importantly, face her fears and her past and her future. I guess what I didn't really like was just some of the backstory. Although Caletti builds it really well, I did find some of the flashbacks about The Taker and parts of Annabelle's past to be...kind of confusing. It paid off in the end, but I wish it worked a little harder in explaining to the reader. Although the mystery was a great motivator for me to read this book, I also wanted a little more satisfaction during the beginning, just to keep me going with this book. I think Annabelle's story is very powerful, and I definitely got teary during some parts (although no spoilers!!). Plus, I learned a bunch of cool facts not only about hearts, but also about running cross country! Deb Caletti turns something as mundane as a run into both an exciting and intriguing story that keeps readers hooked until the very last page. Discovering Annabelle's backstory did end up being my favorite part of this novel, despite me complaining about how I wish we got a little more info in the beginning. It's not only that the writing is good--it's also that it's engaging. I felt like I was right there with Annabelle, feeling this intense desire to run, feeling the emotions rushing through her body as she ran and ran and ran. Right from the start I was sucked in, and although I might have been a little confused, I was also very engaged and feeling what was happening. It's even told in third person, where it's much harder to have an engaged reader, but I ended up getting sucked into the story and the mystery behind it. Overall, I enjoyed reading A Heart in a Body in the World and would definitely recommend this read to contemporary lovers--whether they're running enthusiasts or not. Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  9. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Ayala

    I think I appreciate this one more because our main character is an accidental heroine. In a lot of contemporary YA novels lately (especially dealing with this subject) has the main character consciously taking a stance. It’s one hundred percent needed, of course—without people taking a stand things break down. But it was refreshing to have a story where a girl doesn’t have the mental fortitude to face what she’s survived just yet. Her avoidance felt natural. That being said, it was a tad too fee I think I appreciate this one more because our main character is an accidental heroine. In a lot of contemporary YA novels lately (especially dealing with this subject) has the main character consciously taking a stance. It’s one hundred percent needed, of course—without people taking a stand things break down. But it was refreshing to have a story where a girl doesn’t have the mental fortitude to face what she’s survived just yet. Her avoidance felt natural. That being said, it was a tad too feel-good to be truly authentic. It’s a sweet story about redemption and moving on, and for that reason I give it the full 4 stars, but the glasses were a little too rose-tinted otherwise. A good example is finding that boy who is conveniently close in age to her, and his grandmother who is also conveniently close in age to our protagonist’s widowed grandfather.

  10. 5 out of 5

    May

    Wow. Sometimes, you come across things; people, places, music, films, and they move you in ways you can't even begin to articulate. This is one of those things. This is a book that will break your heart and stitch it back together. It begins with a journey; one of 2794 miles and a million emotions. In a spell-binding, and subtely climatic manner, Deb Caletti gives a voice to a group that have been silenced for far too long, in the form of Annabelle Agnelli. God, I wish I knew a girl like Annabelle Wow. Sometimes, you come across things; people, places, music, films, and they move you in ways you can't even begin to articulate. This is one of those things. This is a book that will break your heart and stitch it back together. It begins with a journey; one of 2794 miles and a million emotions. In a spell-binding, and subtely climatic manner, Deb Caletti gives a voice to a group that have been silenced for far too long, in the form of Annabelle Agnelli. God, I wish I knew a girl like Annabelle. Not that I wished that much tragedy upon anyone, but Annabelle's characterisation, including her flaws, her emotions, and how these changed across her journey was astounding. The bravery, strength, resilience and hope that she inspired will resonate with me long after I close these pages. The way I connected with her was personally unparalleled, not only in Caletti's own books, but in third-person voice fiction (which I am very typically not a fan of). Annabelle has endured things that absolutely no person should have endured, but that far too many girls this day and age have. Being female doesn't mean that you're weak; it does not and should not mean that we're powerless against men. Or that we should be susceptible to the violence allowed to men by the mere nature that they're the 'stronger' ones. We should not have to excuse actions that make us uncomfortable for lack of not wanting to come across as aggressive. Or, be blamed for being inherently and unassumingly sexual, and have to internalise the guilt and shame that comes from the feelings we invoke. The fact victim blaming even exists is an joke in itself. These are challenges that more often than not, many females I know, myself included, have to deal with. And not just once, repeatedly and consistently. One of the most vivid sentiments of this book was that: the rights awarded to men and female are different. So, we put up with these abuses as part of being female, but we absolutely should not have to. It's a topic that doesn't get discussed in YA literature nearly as often as it should, but Caletti tackles it with poise and sensitivity, and manages to keep you captivated. . (view spoiler)[ The book deserves even more praise for the way it presented the United States. I don't live there. I hear the stories in the news, about the gun violence, the mass shootings, the rising death toll. The idea it takes less time to access a rifle than it does to purchase a car, or eat dinner in a restaurant. But I cannot, for the life of me, imagine living in a world where anyone you know could be carrying a concealed weapon. A world where you have to put your life in the hands of strangers, and trust that they are sane; they aren't psychotic; they won't hurt you. The idea that you are risking your life every time you walk into a school is a distinct reality for me, but this book makes it a discerningly real one. It's a novel that is needed, particularly in the current political climate, and I am sure many other readers will feel the same way. (hide spoiler)] My heart is in this book; this book is for the world. I want to give to my best friends, my future daughter, the president of the United States. For every person who has every felt powerless, or that they were responsible for the actions of others, or that they deserved some violent or unkind action towards themselves. Could not recommend enough.

  11. 5 out of 5

    April

    I am still reeling at A Heart In A Body In The World by Deb Caletti and how much it made me think AND feel. If you want an excellent read, click here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mary (BookHounds)

    I'm not crying, you ARE crying. I know why but this story really struck a nerve with me.  It is the current state of affairs in this county and this is the right book at the right time and it needs to be read by everyone.  I think just being a woman in this world today is so full of horror and fear that it is hard to be strong sometimes.  This book helps put that feeling into words. I am still emotionally reeling from this story. Annabelle is running across the country, from Seattle to Washington I'm not crying, you ARE crying. I know why but this story really struck a nerve with me.  It is the current state of affairs in this county and this is the right book at the right time and it needs to be read by everyone.  I think just being a woman in this world today is so full of horror and fear that it is hard to be strong sometimes.  This book helps put that feeling into words. I am still emotionally reeling from this story. Annabelle is running across the country, from Seattle to Washington DC to try and get away from the demons that are haunting her, causing her pain, while finding peace in each step.  Following her in an RV is her grandfather, Ed, her brother, Malcolm and her friends, Olivia and Zach.  They form a cheer squad and publicity team.  As she runs, she gains notoriety and as people find out her story, they help her deal with the pain caused by the Taker.  In the way most girls are raised, she is polite to him, nice and he takes advantage of that and goes further in his taking. To me, it seems that Annabelle is running away from herself, but in each step, she finds herself and becomes stronger.  It really made me think of that cliche, what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.  I am not going to ruin the details of the story but it does touch on PTSD, stalking, death and violence.  Now after noting those things, this book isn't depressing but does fill one with hope and that even taking one step, let alone enough to travel 2700 or so miles, will help quite a few people.  That is probably one of the best things in young adult fiction today is that it can reach people who can't put their story into word.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    If you need me, I’ll be over here in a puddle for the rest of eternity.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dahlia

    This was a really special book that I'm glad a couple of people shoved in my face, espceially my coworker, who did so quite literally. (Well, she lent me her ARC, anyway.) This reminded me a little bit of Exit, Pursued By a Bear, in the sense that all the unilaterally supportive response she faces isn't unrealistic, per se, but rather just unlikely, in a way that makes you want to say "WHY should that be unlikely?? It's freaking HUMAN." But I digress - I really, really liked this very necessary This was a really special book that I'm glad a couple of people shoved in my face, espceially my coworker, who did so quite literally. (Well, she lent me her ARC, anyway.) This reminded me a little bit of Exit, Pursued By a Bear, in the sense that all the unilaterally supportive response she faces isn't unrealistic, per se, but rather just unlikely, in a way that makes you want to say "WHY should that be unlikely?? It's freaking HUMAN." But I digress - I really, really liked this very necessary angle on #MeToo and the correlation of sexual aggression and domestic violence, and how it doesn't always look like physical sexual assault. These girls, the ones about whom assholes IRL say should've just given him a chance or whatever, are, haven't really been at the center of any of the #MeToo books I've read, and I've read a lot, and I think there's something very comforting in the portrayal of one here that I hope finds its way to the hands that need it most. But all these things - the encroaching discomfort, the feeling of a loss of power you can't control, trying to use kindness to deal with issues that don't welcome it, having a furious drive to try to do something even if you don't believe it will yield anything but being unable to just quit...I thought Caletti nailed all these things. Definitely a book I'd recommend.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristen Unger

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Goodness, this is a important book. A well-executed book. I’m sure every woman can pinpoint times in her life when what was intended as kindness was skewed and twisted into an invitation or permission from a man. We need to raise our sons to understand consent, to respond gracefully to rejections, big and small. We need to raise our daughters with the knowledge that they don’t owe anyone their time or pleasantries. We need common sense gun laws. This is the story of what happens when a young woman fe Goodness, this is a important book. A well-executed book. I’m sure every woman can pinpoint times in her life when what was intended as kindness was skewed and twisted into an invitation or permission from a man. We need to raise our sons to understand consent, to respond gracefully to rejections, big and small. We need to raise our daughters with the knowledge that they don’t owe anyone their time or pleasantries. We need common sense gun laws. This is the story of what happens when a young woman feels more compelled to not make a scene rather than to trust their gut. It’s the story of the breed of entitlement that all women recognize in certain men. It’s the story of an abundance of guns and no barriers existing between a rifle and a young man who wishes to own one. It’s the story of creating meaning in the wake of tragedy, of enduring, of putting one foot in front of another again and again and again.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Brandy

    A beautiful timely novel about finding yourself and overcoming tragedy. Annabelle, our main character decides to run 2,700 miles from her home state of Washington to Washington D.C. The story follows Annabelle through her journey while giving us snippets of Annabelle's memories of the tragedy that she is running from; the tragedy is not revealed until you almost reach the end of the story. The characters feel so real and Annabelle is such an inspiration, this is an story that will stick with you A beautiful timely novel about finding yourself and overcoming tragedy. Annabelle, our main character decides to run 2,700 miles from her home state of Washington to Washington D.C. The story follows Annabelle through her journey while giving us snippets of Annabelle's memories of the tragedy that she is running from; the tragedy is not revealed until you almost reach the end of the story. The characters feel so real and Annabelle is such an inspiration, this is an story that will stick with you for a long time.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Blake

    Absolutely stunning.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    Achingly poignant and beautifully written, A Heart in a Body in the World is a book that everyone, man, woman and teen, must read. I truly do not have words adequate enough to describe both the importance and the beauty of this incredible story. It brought me to tears (multiple times), it had me on the edge of my seat, it had me raging at the world, and it had me smiling in hope and joy and hoping that maybe, just maybe, through stories such as these of strong, brave men and women, we can make a Achingly poignant and beautifully written, A Heart in a Body in the World is a book that everyone, man, woman and teen, must read. I truly do not have words adequate enough to describe both the importance and the beauty of this incredible story. It brought me to tears (multiple times), it had me on the edge of my seat, it had me raging at the world, and it had me smiling in hope and joy and hoping that maybe, just maybe, through stories such as these of strong, brave men and women, we can make a difference. After everything that happened, everything that has been taken from her, Annabelle isn’t sure what to do. What can she do? So she runs. One night just takes off and starts running. She doesn’t have a plan, doesn’t expect her younger brother to create a route for her from Washington State to Washington DC. Doesn’t expect her mother to agree. Doesn’t expect her Grandpa Ed to travel with her in his RV as her support team. She also never expected to become an unwitting activist with a message to share. All Annabelle knows to do is to put one foot in front of the other - because after you’ve lost everything, what else can you do. It’s not clear from the start of Annabelle’s story what exactly she has endured. I was expecting a story of sexual assault but it is made clear early on that it is not that story. Yet it is about assault and control and dominance and all those things that go with sexual assault and inequality of power and rights. But it is also about violence and control and dominance shown in another way. As Annabelle runs, the reader is given tiny glimpses and hints as to the trauma Annabelle has experienced. Slowly, pieces and patterns fall into place through traumatic flashbacks. Yet for the majority of the run, there are more questions than answers. A Heart in a Body in the World is therefore not only a timely contemporary novel with an important and powerful message, but also an intriguing thriller that had me glued to the pages. A Heart in a Body in the World is beautifully written (but it’s by Deb Caletti so that’s not unexpected). It is poignant and carefully constructed and has a provoking and important message (again, to be expected). But it is the little slice of humanity captured within the pages that make A Heart in a Boy in the World such a gripping and powerful read. It’s Annabelle herself, through all the stages of her journey, through numbing grief and guilt, aching sadness and hopeless depression, to rage and anger and endless, endless bravery. And it’s Grandpa Ed with his Italian insults and love of anchovies and the way he sticks by Annabelle, and gets mad, and falls in love. It’s Annabelle’s mother and her consuming worry that translates to love. It’s Annabelle’s brother who is super smart, surprising, supportive and completely organised. It’s Annabelle’s friends. It’s the people she meets along the way. And it’s the people who are no longer there. A Heart in a Body in the World might be about loss and trauma and terrible, terrible things, but it is also about hope and a tiny spark of faith in humanity. All I can say is read it. It might tear you to shreds, but you won’t regret it. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jonna Peltokangas

    “I just keep running on those hot roads because I don’t know if my country will protect me and my rights as a female, as a person who wants to be safe from violence. it has not shown me that it will protect me, from males more powerful than me, from people who hate and intend to do harm. it has shown me that I am less than, that I am not worth being protected. it has shown recklessness with my well being.” “and I run and run because I am filled with grief and sorrow too. my running is crying and “I just keep running on those hot roads because I don’t know if my country will protect me and my rights as a female, as a person who wants to be safe from violence. it has not shown me that it will protect me, from males more powerful than me, from people who hate and intend to do harm. it has shown me that I am less than, that I am not worth being protected. it has shown recklessness with my well being.” “and I run and run because I am filled with grief and sorrow too. my running is crying and praying and screaming." an extremely impactful, raw and well written novel following a girl deciding to go on a 2700 mile run across the country to try and cope and get away from everything after a traumatic event. the novel handles trauma, grief and guilt and manages to be both painful and hopeful at the same time. all of this amounted to a very powerful and gripping narrative and a remarkably well crafted book that gave me chills and made me cry.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dianah

    Annabelle starts running, and she doesn't stop; she runs from Washington State to Washington DC. And while she is running to raise awareness for issues that have devastated her life, the real reason she's running is because she doesn't know what else to do. Even though Annabelle tries, she is unable to outrun her own life. The closer she gets to DC, and the closer she is to facing the realities in her life, the harder her road becomes. Caletti writes with a gorgeous blend of restraint and tensio Annabelle starts running, and she doesn't stop; she runs from Washington State to Washington DC. And while she is running to raise awareness for issues that have devastated her life, the real reason she's running is because she doesn't know what else to do. Even though Annabelle tries, she is unable to outrun her own life. The closer she gets to DC, and the closer she is to facing the realities in her life, the harder her road becomes. Caletti writes with a gorgeous blend of restraint and tension; don't miss this harrowing young adult story of a life that has careened wildly out of control.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Emily (Obsessed Reader)

    Let me start off by saying that reading any Deb Caletti book is like coming home or a warm hug for me. She will always be one of my favorite authors. And this book is beyond anything I could even say about it, so I’m going to keep it short. It was breathtaking, in more ways than one. I loved it so much and I’m going to need you to read it ASAP.

  22. 5 out of 5

    kelly {BookCrushin}

    This book is so beautiful, so important, so timely. It is hard to read because you are suffering along with Annabelle. Her trauma, her way of escaping that turned into action and hope. It is all so important and everyone should read this book. Every teenager, every parent, every politician should read this book. It may be fiction but it is so damn heartbreakingly real.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sara (A Gingerly Review)

    I am going to be the unpopular opinion when it comes to this story. I struggled to connect to any part of this story. I wanted to but it never happened. I believe the fractured and choppy way the story was delivered is what kept me at arm's length. FRTC

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bekka

    So there is some massively triggering content in this book, I'm going to put it under this spoiler tag in case you're wondering what it was and whether or not you can handle reading it. It's gun violence, by the way. (view spoiler)[Throughout the past timeline a boy makes Annabelle increasingly uncomfortable in his romantic pursuit of her. Eventually, it escalates when she gets back together with her ex-boyfriend. The boy, called The Taker, brings a gun to a high school party and kills two people So there is some massively triggering content in this book, I'm going to put it under this spoiler tag in case you're wondering what it was and whether or not you can handle reading it. It's gun violence, by the way. (view spoiler)[Throughout the past timeline a boy makes Annabelle increasingly uncomfortable in his romantic pursuit of her. Eventually, it escalates when she gets back together with her ex-boyfriend. The boy, called The Taker, brings a gun to a high school party and kills two people, Annabelle's best friend, Kat, and her boyfriend, Will. (hide spoiler)]

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Outstanding. Review to come.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shayna

    It was kind of hard to gauge what exactly this book was going to be about when I picked it up. But I knew it was about running and running for a particular cause, and I figured it would be motivational. And it definitely is! It's a book that makes you want to be proactive, push yourself harder, and fight for something you believe in. I think the book definitely excelled in that area, and it's truly relevant to politics and current issues in the United States right now. Despite that, I didn't LOVE It was kind of hard to gauge what exactly this book was going to be about when I picked it up. But I knew it was about running and running for a particular cause, and I figured it would be motivational. And it definitely is! It's a book that makes you want to be proactive, push yourself harder, and fight for something you believe in. I think the book definitely excelled in that area, and it's truly relevant to politics and current issues in the United States right now. Despite that, I didn't LOVE this book. It's hard to relay my issues without getting into spoiler territory, but I'll try. You don't find out the exact purpose of Annabelle's PTSD or motivation for running until the very end of the book. This might not be problematic for some readers. For me, I felt I was missing major pieces of Annabelle that allowed me to understand why she was doing what she was doing, and I felt like I was distracted from the better aspects of the book because of it. There are hints that do imply what happened to her, so it's not too difficult to deduce. I guess my issue is (view spoiler)[ the beginning of the book it said it wasn't a rape, but I was frustrated reading it with how much the writing made it seem as though it were a sexual act or potential rape, by mentioning the support from young women "like her", her reluctance to get close to guys, etc. (hide spoiler)] . But that was just my interpretation as a reader, others may not have gotten that vibe at all.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wow. This was a one sitting, literally can't put this down read. Annabelle, who has been through a trauma that gets revealed in bits throughout the story, starts running from her home in Seattle towards Washington D.C. She is suffering from PTSD, but she has to do something to reclaim herself. This book is one of the most honest, real books I've ever read when it comes to the small ways girls and women are treated by males. We are taught to be sweet, be polite, to not say no, to take every one e Wow. This was a one sitting, literally can't put this down read. Annabelle, who has been through a trauma that gets revealed in bits throughout the story, starts running from her home in Seattle towards Washington D.C. She is suffering from PTSD, but she has to do something to reclaim herself. This book is one of the most honest, real books I've ever read when it comes to the small ways girls and women are treated by males. We are taught to be sweet, be polite, to not say no, to take every one else's feelings into account, but not all males are taught the same thing. I think every female knows what that feeling is, when you are scared, intimidated or uncomfortable because you've been pushed into something you don't want. I hope every teen gets a chance to read this novel and it's definitely going on my Printz list. Review from e-galley.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lindsi (Do You Dog-ear?)

    "Turned up or turned down, the feeling is permanent. She survived something big, and when you survive something big, you are always, always aware that next time you might not." I received a book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Before A Heart in a Body in the World, I'd only read one other book by Deb Caletti. Stay was an emotional story that I still think about to this day. Caletti has a way with words, in writing and in life, and I was fo "Turned up or turned down, the feeling is permanent. She survived something big, and when you survive something big, you are always, always aware that next time you might not." I received a book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Before A Heart in a Body in the World, I'd only read one other book by Deb Caletti. Stay was an emotional story that I still think about to this day. Caletti has a way with words, in writing and in life, and I was fortunate enough to hear her speak a few years ago -- she has such an infectious personality! I thought this book was really relevant to what's happening in our world today. A Heart in a Body in the World was about a girl that survived something horrible, yet felt guilty and thought she was partially to blame. The story takes places almost a year after the event, and small hints that refer to what happened are dropped throughout the story. We see what happens as Annabelle is forced to relive the moments leading up the event, and why she thinks she deserves pain and punishment. Annabelle used to be kindhearted and full of hope, but now her mind is cruel and unforgiving. Unfortunately, all of that negativity is directed at herself. She endures painful blisters, accepts the parts of her body that are in pain, and ignores the advice of a doctor. She thinks she's atoning for something that, in reality, was out of her control. It's hard to explain without giving too much away, but Annabelle is on a mission. She's not entirely sure what she's doing, but she knows that she needs to do it. I have never understood the appeal of track and running. I've never felt the elusive "runner's high" that's supposed to be euphoric. However, I am familiar with the pain and discomfort, which is why I avoid it. Annabelle does run track, but I believe she runs for the wrong reasons. She runs until her body is ready to collapse, and her mind is ready to break. She doesn't want to think, and the pain only dimly registers in her mind. Most of this started when her father left, and the author touches on how his abandonment impacted her childhood. Annabelle developed anxiety and started counting the things around her in order to feel calm. Initially, it started after her parents' divorce, but life didn't make it any easier. She was taught at a young age not to smile at a boy, because then they'd get the wrong idea. Annabelle assumed that being nice to someone meant that they would perceive it as something more. When a younger Annabelle complained to a teacher about a boy following her, she was told the boy just liked her, and that it would be fine. It didn't matter that she was uncomfortable, she'd given him the wrong idea by being friendly (this is her mindset). I thought the author handled the treatment of women and young girls in a very tactful way. It starts when girls are young. They're told that being pretty is important, and being nice has consequences. They are cautioned against being overly nice or helpful, because of how it might look to someone else. Girls are taught at a young age to change who they are, and how they present themselves, so it doesn't interfere with a boy's life. Being nice is expected, but not too nice. Look presentable, but not overly pretty (because then you're asking for it). There were a few instances in which this topic was touched on, and I liked how the information was presented. It was informative, honest, and so very true. I know a lot of girls and women will be able to relate to Annabelle and her views on the world. "It is alone-in-a-parking-garage fear, alone-on-an-empty-street fear, the kind of daily fear women are so familiar with that they forget how wrong that familiarity is." Women's rights weren't the only topic mentioned in A Heart in a Body in the World. There were layers of thoughts and experiences being shared throughout the book. It's another time when too much information would spoil the suspense, so... "Sometimes, what is is something that shouldn't be. It should never have been. It only is because of messed-up reasons going back messed-up generations, old reasons, reasons that don't jibe with this world today. Sometimes, an is should have been gone long, long ago, and needs to be -- immediately and forcefully and with not a minute to lose -- changed." I really enjoyed Annabelle's journey, even if her running made my entire body cringe at the thought. It was a painful road full of memories that she wanted to bury forever. Running was supposed to clear her mind, but instead the loneliness brought everything to the surface. Running for hours and hours leaves a person with a lot of time to think, so we slowly see her story unfold. We learn about the event and why she felt partially responsible. We see how society has negatively impacted the way girls and women think and act, and also how and where they feel safe. There are many others, so I highly encourage you to read this one for yourself. It's definitely worth reading once, but one that deserves to be read again and again. A Heart in a Body in the World was a realistic, heartbreaking story. It was informative and encouraging, authentic and realistic, and something I think people will be able to relate to. Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on September 28, 2018.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karin

    Timely and heart-wrenching, this novel finds high school senior destroyed by tragedy and attempting a cross-country run (WA>DC) to deal with the events of the previous year. Loving, Italian-American family relationships, beautiful writing, and a slowly unveiled backstory makes this a page-turner that simultaneously encourages you to linger.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    First sentence: Annabelle Agnelli is trying to hold it together in the parking lot of Dick's Drive-In. After what just happened, she's stunned. Frozen. And then--imagine it--Annabelle's wrecked self suddenly takes off like a lightning bolt. Premise/plot: If ever a book needs a freezer, then A Heart in the Body in the World does. Annabelle's story--her nightmare of a story--unfolds slowly throughout the book as she runs across the country. Is she running from her past? running from her present? or First sentence: Annabelle Agnelli is trying to hold it together in the parking lot of Dick's Drive-In. After what just happened, she's stunned. Frozen. And then--imagine it--Annabelle's wrecked self suddenly takes off like a lightning bolt. Premise/plot: If ever a book needs a freezer, then A Heart in the Body in the World does. Annabelle's story--her nightmare of a story--unfolds slowly throughout the book as she runs across the country. Is she running from her past? running from her present? or running towards her future? Annabelle herself couldn't tell you why she's running--just that she must keep going no matter what. She's supported--for the most part--by her family and friends. Grandpa Ed is driving his RV cross country. Every day these two meet up at the end of the day. (Grandpa Ed has his lady friend and her grandson meet up now and then with them as well. His name is Luke Messenger. Oh-so-reluctantly Annabelle lets herself make a new friend.) My thoughts: At first I found the slow-reveal to be frustrating. Part of me wanted to know what traumatic event had shattered Annabelle's life and know it now. But as more of her story came out, I lost my frustration. By the time we know everything we are so completely engaged and connected with Annabelle (and those close to her) that her pain is our pain. This has all the feels--thus the need for a FREEZER. Should every one read A Heart In a Body In the World? Yes. No. Yes. No. Maybe. I will say that this one is not a clean read. This one has language in it--blasphemy. It is not frivolous, trivial, or casual. And the subject matter is so important--so relevant--that I think it is probably worth reading for most. So many discussions could/should be had around this one.

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