Estelle: Fan Art by Sarah Tregay

Fan Art by Sarah TregayFan Art by Sarah Tregay ( web | facebook )
Publication Date: June 17, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen
Pages: 368
Target audience: Young adult
Keywords: coming out, best friends, literary magazine, art class, graduation
Format read: ARC from Publisher via Edelweiss. (Thanks!)

Summary: Jamie is in love with his best friend, Mason. He’s pretty sure Mason is into girls. Mason has no idea that Jamie is gay. Jamie’s fear of coming out rules the last months of his senior year, and well as his role as designer on the literary magazine when the staff can’t seem to agree on one particular piece.

This is another one of those situations where I love an author’s past work (Love + Leftovers is just amazing) and was highly anticipating their next book… only to be disappointed.

Sigh. It makes my stomach hurt just to say that.

I liked a few parts of this novel but, collectively, something did not click when all the pieces were put together. First, Jamie. He’s gay and in love with his male best friend, Mason. Though his parents are open and supportive, Jamie is struggling with coming out to Mason, much less telling him how he feels. He doesn’t want their years of friendship to disappear with his honesty overload.

As readers, we hear all of his insecurities and his fears. I work very hard to be a compassionate reader but, at some point, I really needed him to move forward. It was almost like the worrying when on for so long; it didn’t create a story arc. It was more of a straight line. Add in conflicts within the literary magazine (that started a little bit too late in the story) about an LGBT comic a student has submitted. There’s a group vote about the piece, but when it’s met with such indignation, it starts to eat away at Jamie. He feels every student should be represented in the literary magazine, and rejecting the piece is not the right thing to do.

His taking matters into his own hands does create a level of anxiety in the book. What will the consequences be? But, at the same time, the driving force of the book should have been something more.

The bright spot of the book was Jamie’s new friends with fellow art geek, Eden. She’s overcome with pressures of her own, but for once, he has someone to talk to about coming out and being himself… in front of everyone. Their friendship grew to be so special, and I loved how they supported each other and were also a little tentative with one another — just like new friends growing to trust each other would be. Another sweet detail was Jamie’s relationship with his baby sisters. They loved him so much, and he truly came from a loving family who tried to connect with each other despite busy schedules.

On their own the poetry included was beautiful and gave us a glimpse into the different personalities at this school but it also made the book feel a little uneven. Introducing other mediums into novels is something I personally love. It gives a book a collage feel, but the story also has to benefit from these breaks in the story and it didn’t in Fan Art. I almost wish the book had been more rooted in the lit magazine environment, and less in art class and in Jamie’s head. It was hard for me to get a grasp on all the different characters, and more of a focus might have helped with that.

Despite unbalanced storytelling, I was rooting for Jamie and Mason. I couldn’t help but think of one of my favorite authors, J.H. Trumble, who has written some great romances that reminded me a bit of these two. (Check out Don’t Let Me Go.) In the end, Fan Art was too much of one thing and not enough of another.

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Estelle: Love and Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Pages: 448
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (Imprint of HarperCollins)
Audience: Young Adult
Format: Hardcover bought from Barnes & Noble
Publication: December 27, 2011

Summary: When Marcie and her mom’s “escape” to New Hampshire becomes more of a permanent change, Marcie is forced to have long distance relationships with her boyfriend, best friends, and her father. Told through Marcie’s verse-filled journal, the chance to “start over” becomes tempting when a popular boy supplies plenty of donuts and flirting and she starts to question what love really feels like.

 It’s been a long time
since I’ve written a poem
so be kind.

But Marcie inspired me —
There is so much that
can be said in a verse.

Especially in a cute
& compact 400 pages
of randomly styled poems.

I could have been Marcie
a million light years ago
(okay not that many).

Her boyfriend won’t touch her.
(Is he gay?) Then there
is another who offers up

Coffee and donuts and running dates.
He makes her feel
Swoony and twisty and pretty.

Liking 2 guys at once.
Who hasn’t had this
same issue before?

Then her mom is depressed
And sort of distant
Because her dad has a boyfriend.

It’s easy to rush through
Love & Leftovers.
It’s hot refreshing real

Even though there are
so many ways to love,
It’s never easy to

Decipher
Figure out
See

It’s even more fuzzy
When you are seesawing
Between who you were

 And who you are now.

 (The search that doesn’t
end no matter how old you get.)

L&L makes all those feelings
come rushing back.
And it’s not a bad thing.

It’s bright yet twisty
And funny and quirky
A read that makes me

Want to fill a dozen Moleskins
With sayings and gchats;
conversations and thoughts.

And questions.
Until things look
a bit more clear.

(Is that ever?)

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Magan’s Most Anticipated December Releases

I’m running a little behind on sharing this list of the books I’m most looking forward to this month. Most of the books I’m looking forward to come out on the same day and at the end of the month, so if you get gift cards for Christmas, consider checking these out:

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Release date: December 1, 2011
Buy on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

A girl jock who is captain and quarterback of her high school football team. A new guy moves into town and threatens to steal the quarterback position.  Will it be love or friction?  I’ve head this book is extremely funny and entertaining. CANNOT wait to read it!

 

 

 The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

Release Date: December 6, 2011
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It should simply be enough to say that this is a JENNIFER ECHOLS book and that’s reason enough for me to read it. Estelle and I are huge fans of hers. Gemma falls in love with the boy her best friend is dating. She’s certain that he likes her, too. How can she get the guy she loves without losing her best friend?

 

 

 Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Release Date: December 27, 2011
Pre-Order on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

Min writes a letter to Ed and delivers it to him along with a box. Inside the box are all the reasons why the broke up.  Have you gone through a break-up or ever just wanted the chance to say what’s on your mind? I can’t wait to see how this book explores a break-up and closure.

 

The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten

Release Date: December 27, 2011
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It’s a story about break-ups + crushes + friendships + a little bit of magic. Lucy’s boyfriend breaks up with her. Three girls offer her an opportunity involving dating a guy for seven days, breaking up with him, and the collecting his tears.

 

 

Love & Leftovers by Sarah Tregay

Release Date: December 27, 2011
Pre-Order on Amazon | Add to Goodreads

All Marcie wants is to fall crazy in love. Her parents split. She moves. She meets a great, awesome guy, but she’s left questioning love and knowing when you’ve found it.

 

 

Kiss Crush Collide by Christina Meredith

Release Date: December 27, 2011
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Leah has everything a girl could ask for – popularity, great boyfriend, good friends. She can’t stop thinking about the boy her mother would forbid her to date at the country club. Ah, I love stories about girls and guys who are so opposite and shouldn’t be together.

 

 

So, tell me what you’re looking forward to this month? Any books that I MUST add to my to-read list?