Oh my god, this book was amazing. This story lit up my heart and made me feel so many wonderful and special things. I haven’t loved a book quite like this in a long time! I was lucky enough to win an ARC of Fan Art from Happy Book Lovers, and I’m so glad that I did, because I might not have read this book for a long time if it weren’t it having just come in the mail today. Yes, that’s right, I got it in the mail today and then I read and finished only about 12 hours later!
I seriously couldn’t put this book down. This story and these characters captured me in a way that made me not want to leave its world for even one second. Ahhh it just made me so freaking happy! Fan Art is adorable and sweet and funny and cringe-worthy and completely, totally relatable.
I think that a big part of the reason why I loved this book so much is because I went through a very similar experience in high school. The first time I fell in love, I fell in love with my (female) best friend. I feel so stupid saying this because I really don’t even believe in it, but it was honestly love at first sight. I remember the very first time I saw her, and from that second on, I couldn’t get her out of my head. And it wasn’t until five years later that we had our first kiss. And then we dated on-and-off in the most awesome but also disastrous way possible for another two years until all of a sudden it ended in a way that I will only ever talk about if I’m deliriously and stupendously drunk.
Clearly I didn’t go through the same exact thing as what’s happening in Fan Art, but my experience with falling in love with my best friend made me be able to really relate to Jamie’s character. I never had that “should I tell her?” problem that he struggles with throughout the book, but I definitely could remember what it’s like to be so crazily captivated by somebody that you can’t focus on anything else. You’re just so in love with them — but they’re you’re best friend, so they’re constantly so close to you, physically and emotionally — and it’s complete torture to have to contain yourself from wanting to just kiss them, even though you know you can’t.
So reading this book was a very sentimental and nostalgic experience for me. I sympathized with Jamie a lot. But even if I hadn’t gone through a similar experience, I still would’ve really liked him, because his character has a lot of depth and he goes through some very dynamic changes throughout the novel. I loved watching him come into his own and really realize who he is as a person.
I also really liked that the author didn’t make him this loser guy, either. He’s actually quite a popular kid at school with lots of friends. I feel like Contemporary YA books often have characters that are outcasts, so it was nice to read a story from a little bit of a different perspective. It also makes the stakes of his sexuality that much more important…he matters at school, so he’s worried that he’ll lose everything he has if people find out the truth.
And all of the side characters! Oh my gosh, they were some of my favorites. I loved them all! Everybody had great, rounded-out personalities with their own separate side stories going on. They really made this story. Especially Eden and Challis — they were the best.
I really can’t say enough good things about this book. I think I’m just talking gibberish at this point… Basically, I just want to give this book a BIG hug and then shove it in all of your faces so that you can go read it and love it, too.
The only reason that I’m not rating it a complete 5 stars, which I came so close to doing, is because I did feel like the story was drawn out a little bit more than it should’ve. At around halfway through the novel, I almost felt like the story was about to end…I couldn’t imagine how the author was going to fill up 150 more pages. But while the rest of the novel actually did come together quite well and I loved what happened in those additional pages, I think that some of the “will he, won’t he?” drama could’ve been edited out more. That just lasted way too long and it wasn’t really necessary. I totally understood why Jamie was having such a hard time with coming out, but I think he was overestimating just how big of a deal it would be. I wish he could’ve stopped living in denial sooner so that it wouldn’t have dragged at all. But that’s just a small point, and barely took away from my enjoyment of this book, if at all.
Fan Art is just such a special story that really touched a deep place within my heart. I will remember this one for a long time to come. And I really hope that you decide to pick it up and enjoy Jamie’s story for yourself someday, because it is definitely worth the read.