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.
Praise for A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD
“Masterful… This is one for the ages.” ―Gayle Forman, New York Times bestselling author of If I Stay
“Caletti’s novel dazzlingly maps the mind-blowing ferocity and endurance of an athlete who uses her physical body to stake claim to the respect of the nation.” ―E. Lockhart, New York Times bestselling author of Genuine Fraud and We Were Liars
“More than bittersweet… It will nestle inside your brain as well as your heart.” ―Jodi Lynn Anderson, award-winning author of Midnight at the Electric
“Remarkable.” ―Booklist, starred review
“A timely novel.” ―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“Powerful.” ―Publishers Weekly, starred review
“A moving novel centered on timely issues.” ―School Library Journal
I received a copy from the publisher via Jean Book Nerd Tours for an honest review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone. There was no compensation given for this review.
Oh . . . My . . . God.
There are books that get you and then there are books that rip you apart, mold you and shape you, and push you back together again. This book is the latter.
I want to first start by commenting on the narrative device. It is in third person limited where you do hear Annabelle’s thoughts as she runs from Seattle to Washington D.C. However, it is written in an almost observer kind of way. The reader is watching the story unfold, taking bits and pieces of why she is running as she is trying to heal mentally and emotionally. In the process of that, the beginning is almost as if we aren’t privy to much. We are just watching a scene unfold. It isn’t until just after the halfway point that the narration begins to immerse the heart and the reader into that emotional space.
And I cried.
This doesn’t happen to me. When it does, it means something. I cried and had felt the tears coming on more than one occasion. After reading the book, I sighed in an almost calming relief and hugged it.
I don’t do that.
This book though hits you where you need to be hit. It pushes buttons, it flips switches, and it gives you the advice you need for whatever trauma you have gone through with your life. I found myself thinking back to my own personal trauma and recognizing the very emotions Annabelle was fighting with.
This is a book worth praising and sharing.
Final Rating: 5/5
Deb Caletti is an award-winning author and National Book Award finalist. Her many books for young adults include The Nature of Jade, Stay, The Last Forever, Essential Maps for the Lost, and Honey, Baby Sweetheart, winner of the Washington State Book award, the PNBA Best Book Award, and a finalist for the California Young Reader Medal and the PEN USA Award. Her books for adults include He’s Gone, The Secrets She Keeps, and her most recent release, What’s Become of Her.
Deb grew up in the San Francisco Bay area, and now lives with her family in Seattle.
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