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I Belong

Review: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan ArtTitle: Fan Art

Author: Sarah Tregay

Genre: YA Contemporary Romance

Series: N/A

Publication Date: June 17, 2014

Format: Hardcover, 368 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062243152 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062243157 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Zed


A sweet contemporary romance about a boy who falls in love with his best friend, and the girls who help them get together.

Jamie Peterson has a problem: Even though he tries to keep his feelings to himself, everyone seems to know how he feels about Mason, and the girls in his art class are determined to help them get together. Telling the truth could ruin Jamie and Mason’s friendship, but it could also mean a chance at happiness. Falling in love is easy, except when it’s not, and Jamie must decide if coming clean to Mason is worth facing his worst fear.

In Fan Art, Sarah Tregay, the author of the romantic Love and Leftovers, explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most. Fan Art is perfect for fans of contemporary romances as well as novels like Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan and Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg.

Quick & Dirty: An excellent story about a teenage boy who is in love with his straight best friend.

Opening Sentence: “Nah,” I say about the brunette at the next table.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Fan Art is unbelievably adorable and given the recent announcement in America, this is the perfect time for my review. Without sounding politically incorrect, this is the first book, let alone love story, I’ve read from a gay guy’s perspective. There’s probably plenty of them out there but because this was my first it’s set a very high benchmark for future books on the same topic. In recent years most YA books incorporate a gay character, usually the best friend, so he (it’s hardly ever a lesbian) is usually side lined. Reading the story from a gay teenage boy who is ‘in the closet’ was a unique experience.

The author doesn’t use the stereotypical version of being gay: overly feminine, very organised / super smart, excellent fashion taste and lots of female friends. Jamie isn’t feminine, squirms when girls come near him and his best, and only, friend is Mason.

“Oh,” she says, suddenly interested in the menu. “Sorry, I just thought we had something in common. I can totally relate, you know?”
This is why I don’t date girls. They’re weird. They talk about everything and assume you want to too. I don’t get it. It’s as if their bras are filled with words.

Jamie’s trepidation in coming out, more importantly, in coming out to his best friend came across so clearly that I felt Jamie’s emotions as my own. His confusion, the hurt he felt when seeing Bahti and Mason together, and the emotions the graphic art brought out were palpable.

Eden squeezes my hand back and says, “Sometimes I wish things weren’t so complex.”
“Like, so I wouldn’t have to come out? Yeah?”
“Like, if people didn’t care, if love was love.”
“Love is love,” I say, more to myself than to Eden, as I scan the room for Mason.

Although we think that our society has become more open minded and people are more accepting of our differences, this book highlights that we have a long way to go. The book isn’t just about Jamie’s dilemma of falling in love with his ‘straight’ best friend, it looks at other characters facing problems because of their sexual orientation. Eden, like Jamie, had come out to her family but not at school. Unlike Jamie’s supportive mother, Eden’s parents are trying to change her mind into becoming straight by encouraging her focus on religion. It pains me to think how others can judge someone else’s feelings and I hope that more people read this book to increase awareness and obviously because this is a fantastically awesome read!

Notable Scene:

No. No, no. No.

I did not just do that. I can’t believe I just did that! Mason and I have been friends since third grade, and I have never looked at him like that. Other guys, yeah, but not him. It should be in the Bible. Thou shalt not check out thy best friend.

I wait a minute to catch my breath and the last shred of my sanity before I follow Mason into the locker room. I head for the sinks and splash water onto my face in an attempt to straighten out my thoughts. I’m okay with my bent thoughts-I have them all the time-but checking out Mason? That’s going too far. He’s my best friend. And everyone knows best friend crushes are the worst-even guy-girl friend crushes-drama, angst, broken hearts, you name it. It’s bad-real bad. And straight-guy-gay-guy friend crushes? I don’t even want to think about that apocalypse.


FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Fan Art. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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