“We aren’t some fictional couple you can slash together. We’re people. Real people!”
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.
For local readers buy your copy here: National Book Store
Fan Art is such a fun read that it becomes my savior, ending my reading slump stage. When I pick-up the book, I didn’t know what it is all about. I expected that there will be lots of arts because of the title. Like maybe the characters are artist and there are some showcases of arts in the book. Then I read the synopsis at the back of the book and assume it will be a romantic story – something light and fun to read. Though my expectations are mostly correct, there’s one thing that caught me off guard as I wasn’t expecting to read an LGBT theme story. The book blurb is smart enough not to use pronouns to refer Mason that I assume Jamie’s love interest is a girl. But another unexpected thing happened, right from the start I am enjoying the book more than than the usual.
I don’t have issues with books that pair characters of the same gender. In fact, I did like Magnus and Alec from Cassandra Claire’s The Mortal Instruments series and I didn’t mind at all that they become a couple in the story. I love them as individual characters and being paired doesn’t change that. But honestly not every gay characters paired in fictions are easy to like. There are some pairing that aren’t comfortable to read and I’m just glad that this one didn’t fall on that category.
Sarah Tregay managed to make Jamie and Mason’s relationships not only fun but also sweet and relatable. Instead of a story of a boy falling in love with another boy with all its awkwardness, it become more of a story of a boy falling in love with his best friend, no gender or any label attached. It is also a story of friendship, love, family, and acceptance.
“I’m not doing Picasso,” …even though sometimes I feel a little like his paintings–arms, legs, and thoughts all at weird angles to one another and not quite fitting into the picture frame.”
Jamie is such a fun character to read. He is a sweetheart. I like him from the start. As the narrator he has this innocence that is so adorable. I like how oblivious he is and how realistic all his struggles and fears. His hesitation to reveal his sexuality to everyone is well handled. Not only it did tackle the sensitive issue of being gay but also it shows different levels of acceptance. It’s so easy to sympathize with Jamie, I feel him even I’d never be in his shoes. When he tried to confess his feelings to Mason it feels like I’m the one losing air in my lungs and doing all the yoga breathe while reading. All his efforts to fight for Challis’ comic strip is admiring.
Mason is very considerate. Though he is mostly out of the picture, since the story is really about Jamie, it is so easy to like him just as Jamie. He never pushed Jamie to reveal his sexuality or feelings, even it is so easy to just confront him and let things fall into the right places. He gives Jamie the space he needs and let him accept things in his own pace.
Then we have Jamie’s parents who knows that he is gay and accept him for what he is. They are very supportive to Jamie, even his step-dad who try so hard that sometimes it become awkward and embarrassing already.
Another thing that I like in this book are the poems and the graphic illustration. It’s not something massive but definitely a nice addition to the story. It supports Jamie’s work as an artist and it also shows the feelings and thoughts of people who surrounds him everyday. They add personality to those characters even those who isn’t a big part of the story.
I have read Love and Leftovers before and I know that Sarah Tregay can really tell a good stories using verse, but the poems included in here is more conveying. There are more stories and more emotions attached with each poems. Like with the poem, At Night I Dream by Anonymous, after reading the first line I already know who write the poem and I feel so elated to find out early the real feeling of the composer to someone. It’s a giveaway for the ending but still, even the with the predictability of the story the whole book is an enjoyable read.
Fan Art is feel-good story that is written with raw honesty which will surely make every readers feels. Sarah Tregay managed to delved into a sensitive topic without being too serious or boring. It is a proof that sometimes readers doesn’t need to get too emotional or heartbroken in order for a story to leave a mark. I loved this book and will definitely do a reread.