Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Fan Art by Sarah TregayFan Art by Sarah Tregay
Published by Katherine Tegen on June 17, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 368
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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three-stars

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.

Before I began Fan Art, I’d heard such varying accounts from my friends as to puzzle me exceedingly. I was wary and curious when I started it, and find myself somewhere in the middle. Oddly, I didn’t find myself as engaged with Fan Art as I did with Tregay’s debut, despite her debut being in verse which isn’t my favorite thing. Fan Art is a cute LGBT story, but one that would have benefited from a more clearly defined character arc and a bit of trimming.

The main character, Jamie, seems to be the main factor for whether or not you like this book. Some have found him hateful from the very beginning and, if that’s the case for you, the book will be torturous. For me, though, while I didn’t emotionally attach to Jamie, I did feel for him. He’s a very flawed character for sure. He occasionally thinks or says things that don’t reflect well on him, including stereotyping of other gay guys early in the book. He’s not the most likable character in the world, and he isn’t particularly interesting, though he did feel real to me. Jamie’s not the sort of person who stands out in a crowd or an obvious hero.

I was able to forgive Jamie his problems because they so obviously stem from his own lack of self-worth. He’s not comfortable with his own sexuality and doesn’t know how to deal with anything or anyone. Plus, Jamie typically acts nicely, even if he’s a mess underneath. His heart ultimately seems to be in the right place. That said, I think his emotional journey to self-acceptance could have been much more clearly defined. I’m not entirely sure what Jamie’s learned, since everything’s sort of handed to him at the end.

The LGBT elements were pretty well-handled I thought, Jamie’s brief stereotyping of gay guys aside. The author may have included that comment, but the lack of stereotyping in the actual characters she presents suggests to me that there was nothing intended in that phrase. There’s a rather large cast of gay and lesbian characters, in larger and smaller roles. There’s also diversity of race, which yay.

Where Fan Art rather lost me was in the whole plot about the Gumshoe, the high school’s literary magazine. Jamie works on the magazine and is fighting to get the editor to include a comic with a gay kiss in the magazine. A lot of time is spent on his work for the Gumshoe and, frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn. It doesn’t help that, in the ARC at least, the comic is horribly drawn and written, so I found myself having to side with the people who didn’t want to include it even though in theory I am so behind that.

On top of that, there are poems sprinkled throughout Fan Art, other entries in Gumshoe. While I did really like one of them, the others totally bored me. I found that all of that stuff really detracted from time that could have been spent on the emotional arcs. I wasn’t at all engaged whenever Jamie started working on the literary magazine. Fan Art‘s long for a fluffy novel and I definitely had issues with the pacing.

Ultimately, Fan Art is a bit like the comic in Gumshoe. Its heart is in the right place, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. If you’re looking for a light LGBT romance, though, Fan Art might just do the trick.

Favorite Quote:

Here, in my dreams, we love whom we love,

blinded not by the color of their skin,

worried not by the details of their gender,

nor about the book in which they find their god.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

gif kurt kiss glee

3 responses to “Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay”

  1. I’ve been really curious about this book. I love your review! Very entertaining 🙂 I like reading about people who don’t stand out in a crowd. I like the ordinary guys. But I think I’d like the other elements to be a little extraordinary.
    Michelle (Pink Polka Dot Book Blog) recently posted…Dangerous Girls by Abigail HaasMy Profile

    • Christina Franke says:

      Ha, yeah. It’s just a shame that the comic isn’t better. if it were, I would have been so much more into the whole plot surrounding it, but as it was…

  2. I don’t think this one would be the book for me. I do read usually one or two contemporary YAs a year but this one doesn’t stand out to me as anything particularly special – which hey you pretty much pointed out.

    by the way…I love Fan Art and I was thinking – hey there is going to be some awesome art elements in this – which really just doesn’t seem to be the case.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Feather Bound by Sarah RaughleyMy Profile

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