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?
This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.
Jamie Peterson is on the committee for the school’s literary magazine, Gumshoe. He is in charge of reviewing pieces of art that have been submitted by students for possible publication in the magazine. The committee (Jamie included) tends to play it safe. But when a new friend from art class convinces Jamie to consider her graphic short – a sweet romance between two boys – Jamie has a fight on his hands trying to convince the rest of the committee to approve the story.
Jamie is emotionally invested in this story in a way that no one at school could possibly know. He came out to his family a while ago. And he has the full support of his mom and step-dad. But that’s where it ends. He hasn’t come out at school. And worst of all, he hasn’t come out to his best friend, Mason. He’s been keeping his secret for so long that his silence feels too heavy to break. Just when he thinks he can finally do it. He can finally tell Mason his big secret. Jamie begins to realize exactly how attracted he is to his best friend. As publication of the magazine nears, Jamie struggles to find the courage to come out to his friend before the graphic within the magazine outs him first.
There was so much to love about this story. Watching Jamie find a safe haven among the girls in his art class was highly amusing. He was so uncomfortable at first. What I enjoyed most about his relationship with these girls was watching the evolution of Jamie and Eden’s friendship. Eden came out to her family and was immediately forced back into the closet by her very conservative parents. She and Jamie quickly become each other’s support system. The portrayal of their friendship was heartfelt and honest with plenty of painful bumps along the way.
Jamie and Mason’s interactions are wonderful too. They are truly best friends. They have known each other so long that it’s impossible to tell if Mason’s actions are those of a best friend or someone trying put the moves on said best friend. I think Tregay perfectly captures Jamie’s fears. The fears we have all experienced at one point in our lives. The fear that your friend turned crush could never return your feelings. The fear and hope of being found out so that you can either jump for joy or pick up the pieces of your broken heart. And then add to that emotional turmoil the extra layer of fear that Jamie is experiencing: the fact that he is gay but not out at school AND he is in love with his best friend. The awkwardness was both uncomfortable and adorable at the same time.
This is easily one of the best gay YA romances I have read. It’s a sweet love story that will make you smile. And that’s my favorite kind.