Why are queer love stories just SO MUCH BETTER?
Generally, I don’t like romance books.I don’t mind books that have love stories; I’d just rather skip over novels that place love as the central focus because I find they get cliche and too… gooey fast. But sometimes, we all need a nice, fluffy love story. That’s why I picked up Fan Art by Sarah Tregay. If I’m going to read a love story, I want something different, and Fan Art definitely is, even if it does employ many tropes.
Fan Art is about a high school senior named Jamie who is only out to his family, and who soon realizes that he’s in love with his best friend, Mason. Jamie is scared to come out to him because he’s terrified that Mason won’t accept him. The fact that this is a “love story” should immediately clue you in that Mason isn’t the, uh, unaccepting type.
Fan Art is cute. It feels like a nice warm hug, and it is definitely a story born of a thousand fanfiction dreams. It’s not heavy on morals or lessons, and it doesn’t dwell on philosophy. It’s just a light, cozy story, and one that you should read before bed to give you the sweetest dreams.
Like Every Last Word, which I reviewed a few days ago, this novel has a lot of poetry in it (although both the poems and the prose aren’t very poetic). What I loved wasn’t the poetry, but rather the graphic novel insert. This little comic is important to the plot (hope I’m not revealing too much if I tell you that it’s the “fan art” the title refers to…. or at least one of them), and I love that the reader gets to see and experience the art along with Jamie. In fact, I was kind of disappointed that there wasn’t more art, but I understand why (not all of the art mentioned is as PG as this). I wonder if this is the future of YA literature: multi-media fiction. It’s definitely something to keep an eye on.
Fan Art is a book you’ll want to read if you want something to hug you tight and fill you with happy thoughts. It’s not an unrealistic fairy tale, but it is rather sweet, and I love the novel for it. Sure, it’s full of cliches, particularly cliches regarding coming-out fiction, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it. In fact, the cliches are what keep you knowing that no matter what, this novel is heading towards a happy ending. It’s not overly complicated or thought out, but not all novels have to be. I recommend Fan Art if you need a light read that will bring a smile to your face and maybe a little warmth into your heart.
Plus, it mentions my main boo Darren Criss several times, so it’s worth the read just for that.
3 fan art drawings out of 5.
(Side note, I’m very interested in this trend (? can I call it that?) in YA lit that attempts to deal with fandom. Let me just say that this novel can get a bit stereotypical at times in terms of its portrayal of the “fangirl,” and that Fangirl has a much better understanding on fandom and fangirls, but Fan Art is a valiant attempt. Just try to be a little less creepy next time.)