Friday, September 28, 2018

A Heart in a Body in the World by Deb Caletti
Blog Tour: Review & Giveaway

Hello! Welcome to the next stop on the A Heart in a Body in the World blog tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I'm really happy to share my thoughts on this book with you! 

Author: Deb Caletti
Pub. Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Formats: Hatdcover, eBook, Audiobook
Pages: 368
Find it: Goodreads, Amazon, Audible, B&N, iBooks, TBD

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. 

"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.

About Deb:

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.

Giveaway Details:
3 Winners will receive a A HEART IN A BODY IN THE WORLD, US Only.

Tour Schedule:

Week One: 
9/17/2018- Novel Ink- Interview
9/18/2018- BookHounds YA- Review
9/19/2018- Moonlight Rendezvous- Review
9/20/2018- What A Nerd Girl Says- Review
9/21/2018- Here's to Happy Endings- Review

Week Two: 
9/24/2018- The Pages In-Between- Review
9/25/2018- Books Coffee and Repeat- Review
9/26/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic- Review
9/27/2018- Book-Keeping- Review
9/28/2018- Do You Dog-ear?- Review

Week Three: 
10/1/2018- Cindy's Love of Books- Review
10/2/2018- A Gingerly Review- Review
10/3/2018- Utopia State of Mind- Review
10/4/2018- Novel Novice- Excerpt
10/5/2018- Stuck in Books- Review

Week Four: 
10/8/2018- The Reading Corner for All- Review
10/9/2018- stainedspines- Review
10/10/2018- Jessica's Reading Room- Excerpt
10/11/2018- Two points of interest- Review
10/12/2018- The Crafty Book Nerd- Review 

*Make sure you check out my other post for today: Star Wars: Landon's Luck Blog Tour: Spotlight & Giveaway!


  1. I think I’ve only read Stay by Caletti too. This one sounds heartbreaking and important.

    1. I thought it was really relevant to what's going on in the world today. My heart broke many times while I read this, because so much of if is applicable to my own life. I have felt some of those fears, and others I worry about every day.

  2. Wow, that sounds kinda emotional. All that running would make me cringe too. We ran a lot in high school ROTC. Not something that I enjoyed at all.

    1. This book definitely makes you feel. It's so easy to put yourself in Annabelle's shoes, and it was hard to watch her story unfold. As we piece together the bits and pieces, we start to understand some of the things she said in the beginning. By the time we get to the end, we have this really important picture.

      I love exercising! PIIT workouts, riding my bicycle (while pulling children in an additional trailer, haha), kickboxing -- never running. It's always destroyed my knees (I think because of softball), and I always feel like I'm dying.

  3. I love Deb Caletti's work and I encouraged my YA students to read as well. I look forward to this novel.

    1. Which of her books have you read? Do you have a favorite, or one that you would recommend? I love that you're introducing her books to your students! I think she's brilliant and conveys really important messages through her stories. This one is really relevant to what's happening in the world right now, and I think a lot of people will be able to relate to it. As a teacher, you will probably relate more than others. I know that's why this impacted me in such a huge way. There was so much that could be applied to my own life.

  4. I've never heard of this author and this isn't a book that I'd have picked up from the cover/blurb but your review almost has me convinced to read it!

    1. I hope you decide to read it in the future! It's a wonderful story that really made me think. I've only read one other book by her, but I intend to read more. <3

  5. It sounds like an intense story there and I confess that I didn't know about it

    1. It's definitely worth reading at least once! I thought there was a lot of important and relevant information within the story.


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― Marissa Meyer, Heartless