“How to Excavate a Heart” by Jake Maia Arlow

Hello dearies and welcome back to another review, another wintery review to that! I’m back from a quick trip to London to see my best friend and that was great, I saw both The Nutcracker and the musical And Juliet, and I missed theatre so much!

As for books, I finished “How to Excavate a Heart” at the beginning of the year and I am here to talk to you all about it.

The story follows Shani, a queer, Jewish young woman who’s in DC for an winter internship in paleoichthyology. As her mum is driving her to the city, they almost run over a young girl, who comes back into Shani’s life as she accepts a dog-walking gig. After a rocky start, the two spend more and more time together, and as things get serious, Shani and May must decide whether a relationship is what they want or need.

I am not sure why I went into it believing this novel was new adult, when in reality it is a young adult and it reads as such. This is not to say it is bad, not at all. Shani’s a relatable character for all those young people out there who have experienced their first relationship in such an intense way that it leaves them lost afterwards. I, myself have felt that way recently, despite not being fully in love. However, Shani does mature a lot throughout the novel and it is refreshing to see the changes she goes through as she gets used to being away from her mother during the holidays, and as she experiences her first job and her first heartbreak.

I really enjoyed the way all conflicts were resolved, even though communication issues are always a bit frustrating to read about. However, as all good young adult novels do, the main characters resolve everything in a very grown-up way that it felt satisfying and it was definitely well written.

Arlow also writes fantastic side characters that made me laugh out loud multiple times, and that I wished I had seen more of as they were hilarious! I am kind of hoping the author will decide on a spin off of some type to expand on the little winter universe they created.

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