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?
Tell Me More: Authenticity is a funny thing. Try too hard, and you create a caricature. Try too little, and your characters remain flat on the page. As important as Fan Art‘s messages are, the story never quite rings true and the characters never feel like anything more than perfectly slotted tropes.
I can’t comment on whether or not Tregay captures the full experience of discovering/struggling with one’s sexuality, but I do think that the writing style that was employed wasn’t rich enough for it. The reader is told over and over again that Jamie and Mason are perfect for each other, but is never really shown evidence of that perfection. As I write this, I struggle to remember what Jamie or Mason or any of the characters looked like, let alone things that would cement what the story tries to make us believe.
What does stick out is the generous use of gay stereotypes. Jamie insists on his own masculinity, and it seemed a little unnecessary considering how no one in his life questions that masculinity. Nevertheless, he talks about being disgusted with girls as if that disgust proves that he’s gay beyond a doubt. As a reader, I don’t ask characters to be anything more than what they are, and the constant railing against females/femininity made me wonder why this was so important to Jamie. I wanted to know if he was thinking this way to prove something to himself or to someone else. And maybe I’m not owed that kind of explanation, but without it, I’m left with a lot more questions than anything somewhat concrete to ponder.
The Final Say: It may start off as a cute romance, but Fan Art doesn’t manage to find its footing among the easy stereotypes with which it surrounds itself.
She lives in Eagle, Idaho with her husband, two Boston Terriers, and an appaloosa named Mr. Pots.