Today's review is on Fan Art by Sarah Tregay. Before I get into the full review I want to say upfront that I was disappointed by this book. I'll get into the details later, but I felt it had a lot of potential, but didn't live up to it.
Photo Credits: www.sarahtregay.com
Fan Art is the story of Jamie Peterson in his senior year of high school. He's eager to leave high school and start a new life, one where he can be openly gay. But before that, he realizes he's fallen in love with his best friend.
While Jamie fights to stay in the closet, a group of girls are determined to get Jamie and Mason together. But will telling his best friend the truth ruin a life-long friendship or start a new relationship?
Fun fact, when I got this book I was not immediately aware it was about a gay boy. Sadly, when I saw the name Jamie and skimmed through the description I thought this story was about a girl. (Sorry to my future nephew Jamie being born in a few months. Don't worry, I'll never mix you up with a girl.)
However, when I learned that this was a LGBTQA book I was even more interested in reading it. I have never read a book with a main character who is gay. I'm married to a man, so it's something I don't relate to, but I'm always open to learning more. So going into this I was excited to see this story from a gay perspective.
I feel that this is a story anyone, gay or straight, can relate to, to a point. Falling in love with your best friend and worrying about ruining the friendship. That's something that can happen to anyone, which is why this book was intriguing to me before I even knew it was about a gay teenager.
I also feel that making the main character gay and having him fall in love with his male, straight best friend is a great way to twist on the relate-able plot line. This book had so much potential to be something truly great, but I felt severely let down.
The story dragged on forever and I didn't understand why. This book was fairly long for what it was. I'm pretty sure I could explain the whole story in a few paragraphs (but I don't want to spoil anything in case you want to read it). There just wasn't enough substance and I had to force myself to finish it because I got very bored.
Yet somehow, this book ended so abruptly. While the boring things seemed to last forever, the ending seemed cut short. It was unfulfilling.
I hate Jamie. I'm sorry. I do. He is incredibly annoying, moody, and he doesn't think straight (ha ha, that's punny and I didn't intend it to be). There were way too many instances when he would take something someone said to him and go off course with it. It was ridiculous. I kept thinking "There is no possible way anyone would get to that conclusion from what was said."
He wasn't a realistic character. Sadly, I have to blame the writing on this one. He's a seventeen year old who acted like a child, with tantrums, with not understanding basic speech by others, and just acting dumb. I've mentioned in other book reviews that I love YA fiction, but when an author can't form a good teenager voice and makes them either too smart or too dumb it can be very frustrating to read.
Jamie's family was interesting to me. His mother was so happy about him being gay. His step-father was very open and understanding about it. His younger, twin sisters were too little to know what was going on. But there there was his birth father, who was mentioned maybe twice. And each time he was mentioned I expected some conflict to come of it, but it never did, and they stopped talking about him immediately. It was weird.
Mason, his best friend, was a good person. Again, family issues were weird to me because there was always hints at conflict that never followed through. Mason wasn't that exciting of a character though, and you would think, with this book coming from Jamie's perspective, I would have fallen in love with Mason just like Jamie did, but I just didn't.
Then there was Eden, Jamie's girl best friend. She was a fun character, but still not a favorite. She also had family conflict that was never fully addressed or resolved. It's like every character had to have something strange in their family or past, but we just ignored it to focus on the love story. I don't understand why that happened, but I wasn't a fan.
I suppose my favorite characters in the whole book were Jamie's younger sisters... and it's probably just because I'm baby hungry. But none of the characters really stood out to me and I barely cared for any of them.
Oh man... hmm.... I don't know. I really am not a fan of this book. Not a fan of Fan Art. I guess the one thing that stood out to me was Jamie's passion for getting a certain graphic novel published in the high school literary magazine.
Basically, a graphic novel depicting two gay guys playing a game and kissing was submitted for the magazine and Jamie very strongly wants it to be included, to a point where he's willing to get in trouble to make sure it gets done. I liked that. I liked his passion and that he was so willing to share the story with the whole school. That's probably my favorite part.
MORE RANDOM THOUGHTS
I read a couple reviews of this book on GoodReads because I wanted to see how this book was viewed by someone who is gay. I think that I'm not alone in saying this book had good intentions and had potential but didn't follow through.
There's a lot of great reviews on there, some positive, some not, but I would maybe suggest reading through those if you're still on the fence of whether or not you should read this book.
I don't think I can recommend this book to other people, because I just didn't like it. It's a cute story, I guess. It's not one of those depressing YA novels like what I've read a lot lately. It's very light and happy, there is conflict, but it gets resolved it a unique (abrupt) way. It's not the worst book I've ever read, so I wouldn't judge you if you go read it yourself, but I'm just not a fan myself.
What were your thoughts on Fan Art? Let me know in the comments below! Also, if you know a really good LGBTQA book I should read just let me know, I'd love to check them out!