Parents' Guide to

A Heart in a Body in the World

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Emotional story of girl's journey after tragedy.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (3):

This beautifully written story of a teen girl who decides to run across the country after a tragedy is an emotional look at teen violence, gender roles, and post-traumatic stress. Throughout A Heart in a Body in the World, author Deb Caletti manages a deft balancing act between Annabelle's pain and the uplifting trajectory of her physical and mental journey. The story is slow at the start and might be hard for some readers to get invested in right away, but it is worth sticking it out, as Annabelle's journey is thoroughly engaging. The supporting characters are wonderful and add a lot of humor and love to the story, which can be all too rare in YA. It takes quite a long time for the mysterious traumatic incident to be revealed, probably a little too long, and many of the metaphors are heavy handed (grizzlies lurking in the woods, a dark scary tunnel, a rickety bridge she needs to cross). Caletti doesn't start dropping concrete hints about what happened until well past the halfway point of the book. On the plus side, drawing it out is a way to bring the reader along with Annabelle as she forces herself to confront her memories, guilt, and anger. Trauma victims have a long road of recovery ahead of them, and this book makes that clear and heartfelt.

The run across the country isn't all terrible, though. Annabelle gathers an encouraging community of supporters as she goes, and she bonds with her hilarious and charming grandfather, who's following her and putting her up in his RV. Many complex issues are well articulated in the story, letting the reader feel deeply for Annabelle's struggles and cheer her triumphs.

Book Details

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