June 17, 2014

Title: Fan Art

Author: Sarah Tregay

Published: June 17, 2014

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 368

Genre(s): Young Adult ♥ Contemporary ♥ Romance ♥ Coming of Age ♥ GLBT-themes

Source: Edelweiss

Summary on Goodreads: When the picture tells the story…

Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.

Average Goodreads Rating (as of 06/15/2014): 3.80

  • Christina loved this fluff and angst and realism. It goes on her TOP SHELF! To find out why she stayed up all night to finish it…

**SPECIAL NOTE:** An eARC of this title was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. However, that did not influence this review in any way. All thoughts, quotes, and opinions will be of this version and not of the published edition.

Initial Thoughts and Rating: 4.5 stars! I simply adored this novel, especially its characters. I think it delivers a powerful message of what love looks like in all its forms while still maintaining an honesty about coming-of-age and the silly mistakes we make along the way. I think this is a book that could easily be for everyone.

The Lowdown: Senior year is winding down, and Jamie Peterson is thankful to be so close to the end and with his secret still mostly to himself. Aside from his mom, no one knows that Jamie is gay, not even his best friend Mason. Which is starting to be one major problem because suddenly their lifelong friendship has the potential to be ruined because Jamie realizes he’s in love with Mason, and the more he tries to turn off these feelings, the more the seem to push themselves to the front and center. Not only that, but apparently Jamie’s feelings and sexuality are a lot more transparent than he thought, especially when the art girls seem to know everything about just how much Jamie wants to be “more than friends” with his best friend. Then there’s the whole issue with Mason and his not dating in high school, but seeing him kissing his prom date certainly proves that he likes girls. What’s a boy to do when he’s hopelessly in love with his best friend and there’s a slim possibility of the friend ever returning those same feelings?

Yet, all it takes is a graphic short story, one anonymous poem, and a fan art picture to pull everything to the forefront and set the ball in motion. And maybe Jamie’s happily ever after is a lot more conceivable than he believes.

My Thoughts: I think my favorite thing about this book– if were completely disregarding how adorable Jamie is, especially when he’s interacting with his obnoxiously cute twin two-year-old sisters or Mason– is all the amazing diversity the author gives us. I thought is really represented a typical high school and its student body. There were different races and cultures, jocks that were and weren’t assholes, nerds that were cool and some that were geeky, and every sexual orientation under the sun- gay, straight, lesbian, bi-sexual- and with people that proudly supported a person’s choice to love freely no matter the gender of their intended adoration and even jerks who were openly against it. I appreciated that Ms. Tregay showed both sides of the parent card reaction as well, from Jamie’s mom and stepdad, who wanted to throw him a “coming out” party (so sweet!), who were super supportive to completely their opposite, Eden’s parents, who outrightly forbade it and refused to accept that she liked to kiss girls. It was honest and I liked that the author wasn’t afraid to show it. That yes, some people aren’t always going to support your decisions and that it sucks, badly, but that you should continue to live your life for you because there will be someone, or several someones, who will understand and love and support you regardless.

But, we definitely should talk about the characters. Jamie felt like someone that all readers can identify with, even if you aren’t a gay boy in love with your best friend. Because we’ve all been there, growing up and having crushes and unsure if we’ll ever be able to act on those feelings, especially if it was a friend and you don’t want to rock the boat. I loved him. Then there’s Mason, who was adorkable and sweet and I can totally see why Jamie realized he was in love with him. I felt sorry for the pressures his father placed on him and liked that he was a genuinely good friend. Oh, and Challis and Eden were a couple of my favorite secondary characters. Eden was a lot to handle with her energy and her spunk, and her parent made me furious, but I liked that even though her parents kept forcing her back in her “closet,” she still pushed to be herself and loved girls even if she did it in secret because she was told repeatedly how wrong it was. I also loved how fearlessly open Challis was with being a lesbian. She didn’t care what people thought and wasn’t afraid to share her opinion with people if they disagreed with her lifestyle choices. I only hope that others have her strength. I even loved a majority of the jocks, who weren’t your stereotypical lugheads in this book, though they did have your typical dumb teen moments. Basically, this book was refreshing with its openness and honest dose of reality and good characterizations.

Lastly, I don’t want to be super spoilerish, but I will say that I read this book in one sitting and when that epic moment happened at the end, I stood up in my bed at 3:48 in the morning (I was alone; the hubs had already left for work.) and fist pumped and jumped in my bed and let out a little squeal. It made me ridiculously happy!

Swoons: They are there. *zips lips*

Swoony Teaser: (There’s one that I really want to use, but I think it’s better to read in the context of the story. See also: Slightly spoilerish.)

He smells like Speed Stick, shampoo, and all I’ve ever wanted.
~quote taken from the eARC of Fan Art at 33%

Rec It? Oh yes I am. Despite what gender you’re attracted to or what you believe is right or wrong when it comes to love, I think everyone can identify with someone in this story. I also feel like everyone has something they can learn from this novel, whether it be love who you want to love regardless of others’ opinions, be fearless, be yourself, or don’t ever be so quick to pass judgement on other people’s lives.

I’ll definitely be looking forward to more of Tregay’s work.

A very special thanks to Katherine Tegen Books and Edelweiss for providing me with an advanced copy of this title in exchange for my honest thoughts.

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