A 2019 Printz Award Honor Book, Deb Caletti (author of Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, and The Nature of Jade) has written another must-read. The novel takes on powerful themes such as survivor’s guilt, sexual violence and mental health. I was blown away by this book, and I highly encourage both adult and teen readers to give Caletti’s newest book a try.
In A Heart in a Body in the World, the reader accompanies Anabelle on her run from Seattle to Washington D.C.- 2,700 miles. It is during her run through woods and prairie, thunderstorms and sweltering heat that Anabelle finally allows herself to process the event that drastically changed her life; the event caused by a character referred to only as The Taker. Simultaneously, the reader is allowed a glimpse into her memories, and is able to put together the timeline leading up to the traumatic event. It is also thanks to the strangers in the many towns Anabelle passes through that she begins to speak aloud about her trauma to small town school newspapers, then later larger mainstream news media, gaining support all the while.
Meanwhile, Grandpa Ed, following faithfully in his RV, unexpectedly invites Dawn Celeste and her grandson Luke into their lives, throwing yet another kink into Anabelle’s plan. She does not want to meet these new people. She does not want to think. She just wants to run. As Anabelle runs, she slowly begins to understand how to move on from tragedy. While this book involves many heavy topics, it is written in such a way that allows the reader to take things bit by bit and not be overwhelmed. This story is one of trauma, pain and exhaustion, but it is also a story of hope, truth, and goodness.