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.
Gr 9 Up—Jamie has problems on top of problems. He's not out at school, he's just realized he's in love with his best friend, and everyone seems to know it. Will coming out and coming clean ruin not only the tail end of senior year, but the college future he's planned? This title provides gay teen readers with the sympathetic ache of romance that they may not find with run-of-the-mill heterosexual romantic fiction, and for that reason alone it should be included in collections that are trying to build their LGBQT content. However, as a novel on its own merits, this one falls flat. Outside of the central romantic longing, the relationships are poorly fleshed out and seem stilted and unrealistic. The main character's conflict around acceptance is strange considering all the concrete support demonstrated around him, especially juxtaposed with the challenges his closeted lesbian friend faces. The pacing and plotting are also odd, with events seeming to take place over months instead of days and then days instead of weeks. If a collection of YA LGBQT titles is well developed, there is no need for this uneven book.—L. Lee Butler, Stoughton High School, MA Jamie is perfectly happy to stay closeted at school, particularly when it comes to his best friend, Mason. If Mason found out he was gay—let alone probably in love with him—Jamie is sure that Mason would never speak to him again. So Jamie focuses on editing his school’s literary magazine, which is the perfect distraction—until someone submits a short comic (included) about two boys falling in love, and the lit-mag staff are divided over the homosexual content. As Jamie becomes more embroiled in the controversy and closer to new friends in the Gay-Straight Alliance, he feels mounting pressure to come out and admit his true feelings for Mason. In a light and earnest first-person narrative, Jamie reveals his insecurities and the walls he constructs to protect himself, and it’s gratifying to watch him gain confidence and choose to not hide anymore. Tregay handles homophobia gently, which, along with the happy ending and refreshingly supportive community, makes this a breezy romance with just enough light drama to keep its feet on the ground. Grades 8-11. --Sarah Hunter
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