Anyone who has ever read one of Deb Caletti’s novels knows that they are going to read something spectacular and highly relevant to modern society. This is especially true of her young adult novels. In A Heart in a Body in the World, Ms. Caletti channels all of the confusion, guilt, and fear associated with being a young woman in a society that sends extremely mixed messages about women. She does so in a way that will tear your heart and shines a light on your own fears and confusion.
When Annabelle makes the decision to run across the country, from Seattle to DC, you know she is not only running away from something but towards something equally painful. Her journey is not only her path towards redemption and acceptance but also one of punishment. As any journey tends to do, Annabelle not only learns about herself but also learns more about society and the same fear and confusion that fills her with such dread.
However, Annabelle’s story is one only she can tell. For me to give anything away would be to undermine Ms. Caletti’s careful construction. You need to experience Annabelle’s emotions as she wrestles with them and feel her fatigue as she struggles to continue her journey. As you do, you find yourself ruminating about similar experiences and must also come to terms with what it means to be a woman in this day and age.
As always, Ms. Caletti’s words loudly resonate with the reader. It does not matter that her heroine is eighteen years old. Ms. Caletti knows exactly what it feels like to enter a world where men consider beautiful women to be their right and property and where young women first learn of the unspoken “fine line” between flirting and “leading men on”.
Annabelle’s journey brings about many emotions, the least of which are the ones she feels. And therein lies Ms. Caletti’s skill as a writer. A Heart in a Body in the World is one more example of how carefully Ms. Caletti highlights the issues with society and its impact on young women just learning to navigate its perils. If you have not done so already, Ms. Caletti is an author you must read.