Book Review: Night Owls

Title: Night Owls (US Title: The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart)

Author: Jenn Bennet

Series? No

Rating: 3/5


Book Depository

I received a copy of this book from Simon & Schuster Australia in exchange for an honest review.

My opinion of this book changed several times during the read. I alternated between thinking it was adorable and wanting to shake some sense into the characters. Ultimately, the ending of Night Owls placed firm importance on family and love, which means I parted with the book on a happy note.


I prefer the UK cover, but I like the US title better. I AM TORN.

NightOwlsLikedThe focus on arts!

You’re no HB. You’re like ten Prismacolours all at once.

Jenn Bennett mentioned in the author’s note that she wanted to celebrate artists: not just the ones in museums and galleries – but every day people and their attempts at self expressions. Both our protagonists are very much defined by their passion for art – with Bex exploring human anatomy, while Jack practices beautiful yet illegal street art. I enjoyed that they both had an identity outside their mutual attraction, and that they found a kindred spirit in one another.

Families matter!

OK, so I feel like I say this a lot in my contemporary reviews now – so I don’t think YA books deserve such a bad rep anymore with regards to family representation. I love seeing Bex’s relationship with Heath and Katherine. They were slightly dysfunctional and a tad too quirky to be true, but their scenes were still heartwarming. However, the scenes that pulled at my heartstrings the most were with Jack and his family. Especially the ending, I loved it, it knocked the book’s rating up by an entire star for me!

Positive Romantic Relationships

I want to call you every five minutes. I want to text you goodnight everynight. I want to make you laugh.

Both the relationship between Jack/Bex and Heath/Noah were sweet and mutually supportive. They met each other’s parents, they had cute banter, no one was declaring love within the first two minutes of meeting one another!  I also liked the way sex was portrayed in this book, as an intimate part of a relationship that we shouldn’t be ashamed of!  And Bex is more experienced than Jack?! Huzzah!


Lack of Research

There were a couple of things that threw me off. Fist, Jack’s beautiful lashes was supposedly due to distichiasis – which the book describes as a condition where afflicted are blessed with beautiful double row of lashes. A short Google search would have revealed that this is NOT the case. Most lashes in distichiasis are short and stubby, and grows directly into the patient’s eyeball, causing a lot of irritation, redness and pain. Basically, it’s not sexy as it’s made out in the book. Also, Jack’s half hearted devotion to Buddhism, Zen, and the way he treated all the ‘Japanese type’ activities as something hip instead of another culture irked me.

Inauthentic Quirkiness

 I don’t mind these character types when I can emotionally connect to them e.g. Theodore Finch of All The Bright Places. Yet, the characterisation of both Bex and Jack remains too shallow – they’re just caricatures of what hipsters should be. I mean, Bex wears her hair in braids and wears has the whole dark rimmed glasses thing – she even characterise herself as the loner artist type. Jack on the other hand spouts half-baked philosophy, patronise Japanese teahouses, and wears Mala prayer beads. They do all of this un-ironically. They are freaking ludicrous.

The Dread Slutty Other-Girl Trope

Just when I’d abandoned my nightmare vision of Jack getting on with some hospital candy stripper, I could now replace it with the image of Sierra the Runaway sleeping in some sort of weird cultlike housing, where she met Jack and exchanged sexual favours for enlightenment and pluots.

Sierra for having the audacity to flirt with multiple guys at once. Bex said one line at the end of the book to try redeem herself on her judgemental ways – but it’s too late, Bex, I had to listen to you complain about how ‘salacious’ Sierra is for two entire chapters. I am not forgetting it, nor am I forgiving this book for including such an unnecessary trope. Thankfully the book didn’t dwell on Bex and her nasty thoughts about Sierra for too long – but I am allergic to this trope.

Overall, I would recommend Night Owls if you’re looking for a sweet, fuzzy contemporary romance. There were some places where the book faltered for me, but it does have a lot of heart.

22 thoughts on “Book Review: Night Owls

  1. I see that you are trying to fill up your 2015 contemporary quota in one week 😀 (read My Life Next Door – there’s lots of family and will purge all your disgust from reading A Little Something Different).

    I am so excited to read this. Thanks for sending it! There’s nothing that warms my heart more than a really supportive relationship that just feels natural. Bex and Jack seem like a great couple together, even though they’re a bit too quirky individually.

    I dunno… I really like the cover design and title of this over the US one. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart seems too fluffy contemporary to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha I know I am back into my comfortable corner with The Young Elites now! I’ve actually been reading a lot of books with Japanese setting cos travel bug as well. WHAT IS HAPPENING. But yes My Life Next Door shall be read soon, thanks for sending it!! I hope you do end up liking Night Owls, it’s so cute!!

      I guess I like the UK cover better cos of the paint effect. I dig me some paint effect haha.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. At least the trope features very sparingly, I just hate it so much that I had to mention it. I think this one is quite fun if you’re in the mood for cute, snuggly type reads!


  2. The synopsis reminded me a little of “Graffiti Moon” by Cath Crowley which is a book that I love so, so much. I was hoping this one could come close to it, especially with the main characters being artists and the night being very important (I got that impression from the cover, but maybe I’m wrong). Too bad that it has its flaws, but I might check it out anyway. Thanks for the review and slight warning 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, Graffiti Moon sounds very interesting as well – thanks for the recommendation! Hope you enjoy this book 😀


  3. I didn’t know this book was released under another title in Australia. Does this happens often? The cover is so pretty and it’s very in your paint style, actually at first I thought it was your design! So far I’ve seen only positive reviews on this book, so it was interesting to see another point of view. I’m afraid I’ll have issues with all your points on the “didn’t work” part. I have a hard time with quirky characters as it is, but inauthentic quirkiness? Lack of research annoys me a lot too. And I don’t even want to start with slut shaming. But I still want to read this book, though with lower expectations. Wonderful review and as always gorgeous design!


    1. We often just have different covers, but this is one of the few times the titles are changed. I wish I could tell you why but I have no idea!

      At least the flaws features very briefly in the book, most of it is quite cute – so if you are after a sweet romance, I would still recommend this. Thanks Ksenia!


  4. This sounds like my kind of book. I’m always a big fan of supportive relationships and ones where they don’t loose themselves completely in the relationship and retains their individual identity. I also love it when a contemporary focuses on other relationships such as family and friendship and I’m glad to see that the family dynamics are explored in this one.

    Slut shaming is always puts a downer on my reading experience and the use of those stereotypical hipster tropes bug me but I’m still going to give this book a shot.

    I also think that this title and cover might just beat the US version.

    Great review Aentee.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Don’t worry, the flaws in this book don’t feature too much – most of the novel is quite lighthearted and sweet – so I would still recommend it if the sound of the positives appeal to you 😀 Hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Really enjoyed reading your critical points – they are things that would definitely irk me as well. You’d think authors would somehow have gotten the memo re: slutshaming in 2015. Also, half-assed cultural appropriation is not on.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thankfully Sierra was not in the book a lot, so I didn’t have to dwell on it – but I am so sick of this trope I have to mention it every time it pops up! It’s a surprise as well since the book is quite positive in its approach to sex otherwise.


  6. I’m just not that huge of a fan of contemporary novels, so this one is not a book that really appeals to my reading tastes. I do like the fact that family, love and sex is there, since it’s such a normal part of life. Slut shaming is still a bad no-no and I’d be in the same boat as you with Bex…I’m so sick of reading about it as a way to characterise a person. What I enjoyed reading about was the author’s dedication to artists, that’s so nice and it’s cool to see that the everyday artists are being celebrated for their work. Great review Aentee!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not a fan of contemporary novels either, but I gave this one a go because of the focus on art. I read like one contemporary a month, so this is my quota met haha XD


  7. I really enjoyed this one. I thought all the positives were more than any negatives I had – which for me was the instalove. The lack of research point is so funny because I would have never thought to look that up! But what you googled does not sound cute!! If I were to find either Bex or Jack inauthentic I would lean more towards Jack for some reason. Still it didn’t strike me really when reading it. The slut shaming I get. The thought went through my mind when I was reading. Great review!


  8. This review is a balancing act done right. Many people (myself included) can’t really pull off 3-star reviews without either going off on a rant as if the book were 1-star material, or praising it like it’s meant to be awarded 5. It’s like my measuring stick now. I keep thinking about it every time I’ve been on the fence about a book in the past month.

    I so, so want to give Night Owls a try, even though I’m not much of a contemporary fan, because of the focus on the arts. But I fear the whole cookie-cutter hipster thing and the obligatory slut-shaming you’ve mentioned. My co-blogger recently read and LOVED it, but I tend to mind those two negatives quite a lot. Art vs. cultural appropriation, art vs. cultural appropriation… my mind can’t make up its mind.


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