• A Heart in a Body in the World

  • By: Deb Caletti
  • Narrated by: Julia Whelan
  • Length: 8 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)

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A Heart in a Body in the World  By  cover art

A Heart in a Body in the World

By: Deb Caletti
Narrated by: Julia Whelan
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Publisher's Summary

Selected as one of the Young Adult Library Services Association’s 2019 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults!

A girl tries to outrun her demons in this searing, universal novel about the impact of gun violence, everyday sexism, rape culture, and internalizing - and overcoming - guilt from National Book Award finalist Deb Caletti. 

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.

©2018 Deb Caletti (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What listeners say about A Heart in a Body in the World

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  • Overall
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Haunting

Many reviewers are classifying this as YA fiction. I'm way beyond young adult and I think this is fiction for the times we are now living in. Annabelle's running is secondary to the underlying story of the book in my opinion. It is such a powerful and haunting story which tackles many of the issues of today's society without rubbing your nose in them. Definitely a book that will make you think.

4 people found this helpful

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Tissue alert!

This is one of the best books I've read/listened to all year. Once I started listening, I couldn't stop. The story is both poignant and mesmerizing. If you have trouble seeing the world through someone else's eyes--through the eyes of someone who has suffered what seems like an unsurvivable loss, this will fix that. The author puts you right in the shoes of a young woman who is desperately trying to do something--anything just to get through. What starts out as a journey that she must do for herself, ends up being a journey she takes for us all. It's amazing. Read it.

3 people found this helpful

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Both Deb Caletti and Julia Whelan exceptional

And again, I bought this because it featured Julia Whelan. Following Annabelle on her run cross-country, we experience her emotions and thoughts along the way. Presenting an emotional rollercoaster of a book, new author to me, Deb Caletti, is quite the wordsmith. We experience Annabelle’s grief, strength, loss, devastation, love, confusion, strength and so much more. It’s a bitter surprise to find out about “the taker.” Through my tears and laughter as well, “A Heart in a Body in the World” delved deep into my heart. I weep as I write this. Caletti does a phenomenal job. Whelan delivers with her always brilliant and skillful narrative. I ask myself after every Whelan book, “How does she do it?” Her presentation of each and every character is always absolute perfection. I have 50 Whelan-narrated books in my Audible library and I continue to search for more. When I hit a wall and can’t find just that “right book” at a particular time (it happens periodically), I immediately go to my Whelan collection, choose one and am never disappointed. Kudos to Whelan and Caletti for a powerful, truthful and audictive listen. Thanks to Audible for making this incredible listen available. Highly recommended and worth a treasured credit (I lucked out and bought it for $5 during an Audible sale. Love those sales!) “Epic, I say, EPIC, EPIC, EPIC.”

👏💥✍🏻⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️👏💥✍🏻

2 people found this helpful

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very disappointed.

blaming guns instead of criminals just excuses the behavior. the stupid liberal agenda took away from the story.

2 people found this helpful

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Ms Caletti NEVER ceases to intrigue!

Obviously, I am a fan of the World of Caletti. I only read/listened to this book BECAUSE of who the author was as I couldn't imagine being drawn in as I have with the rest of her books. I was wrong. The book was sad, engaging, sweet, funny and any other positive adjectives one may think of. Ms Whelan's reading greatly added to the tale, because, as usual with her, she was ALSO outstanding. Other reviews object to the third person aspect but I didn't find it distracting/annoying in the slightest. I still got to hear Annabelle's thoughts but I also got to hear the thought processes. Personally I find when I am reliving a moment in my own life, the process of what was said or thought in that moment are as important (and, at times, I hope, elegant) as the content of the encounter.
I will admit that because of past work, Ms. Whelan added a gravity & magnetic pull to the beginning of the book which helped me stay, but that is not reflection upon the writing. Any partnership that is formed; it takes a "moment" for the partners to fall into rhythm and this is a 3 way endeavor (author, narrator & listener) which makes it all the more challenging to succeed.
The tale spoke to my heart as I too am frustrated and feel powerless towards the slanted gender politics & gun violence. I have been pondering gender interactions a lot as of late, and this book just added more gist to the mill (I swear, there are times I am astounded that women even talk to us!).
So, like any excellent book, the read was quite enjoyable due to the way it was incredibly well crafted, the listen was captivating due to a highly skilled narrator, and the two combined to have my mind working overtime and continuously revisiting the topics and scenes within the book.
Please give this work a peek!

1 person found this helpful

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A story to raise awareness

Someone needed to write a story like this. Deb Coletti wrote this beautifully and Julia Whelan wowa once again with another strong performance. A light needed to be shed on this issue, a light from the voices of those who live it, and not just those who make the rules for it.

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So important and heartbreaking and topical

This book is about dealing with trauma, about healing, about overcoming your heart after a serious tragedy. It’s so important and everyone should listen. Wow. Just wow.

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Get ready to feel a full spectrum of emotions!

Read for a virtual book club I just joined. The characters are so well written and real. The author clearly has experience with trauma and loss and the progression through grief. I related to so many of the feelings the main character was experiencing. I wept often and learned some great strategies for processing my own deep wounds.

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beautiful book!

absolutely gorgeous book. I cried at chapter 31! This book captures human spirit in many ways.

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Phenomenal

This book helped me heal just a tiny bit more from a trauma that happened 20 years ago. It helped me learn that there is power in grief, there is power in loss, there is power in survival. And it’s more important than the false power some people will try to force over you.