The main character, Jamie, seems to be the main factor for whether or not you like this book. Some have found him hateful from the very beginning and, if that’s the case for you, the book will be torturous. For me, though, while I didn’t emotionally attach to Jamie, I did feel for him. He’s a very flawed character for sure. He occasionally thinks or says things that don’t reflect well on him, including stereotyping of other gay guys early in the book. He’s not the most likable character in the world, and he isn’t particularly interesting, though he did feel real to me. Jamie’s not the sort of person who stands out in a crowd or an obvious hero.
I was able to forgive Jamie his problems because they so obviously stem from his own lack of self-worth. He’s not comfortable with his own sexuality and doesn’t know how to deal with anything or anyone. Plus, Jamie typically acts nicely, even if he’s a mess underneath. His heart ultimately seems to be in the right place. That said, I think his emotional journey to self-acceptance could have been much more clearly defined. I’m not entirely sure what Jamie’s learned, since everything’s sort of handed to him at the end.
The LGBT elements were pretty well-handled I thought, Jamie’s brief stereotyping of gay guys aside. The author may have included that comment, but the lack of stereotyping in the actual characters she presents suggests to me that there was nothing intended in that phrase. There’s a rather large cast of gay and lesbian characters, in larger and smaller roles. There’s also diversity of race, which yay.
What Left Me Wanting More:
Where Fan Art rather lost me was in the whole plot about the Gumshoe, the high school’s literary magazine. Jamie works on the magazine and is fighting to get the editor to include a comic with a gay kiss in the magazine. A lot of time is spent on his work for the Gumshoe and, frankly my dears, I don’t give a damn. It doesn’t help that, in the ARC at least, the comic is horribly drawn and written, so I found myself having to side with the people who didn’t want to include it even though in theory I am so behind that.
On top of that, there are poems sprinkled throughout Fan Art, other entries in Gumshoe. While I did really like one of them, the others totally bored me. I found that all of that stuff really detracted from time that could have been spent on the emotional arcs. I wasn’t at all engaged whenever Jamie started working on the literary magazine. Fan Art‘s long for a fluffy novel and I definitely had issues with the pacing.
The Final Verdict:
Ultimately, Fan Art is a bit like the comic in Gumshoe. Its heart is in the right place, but the execution leaves a bit to be desired. If you’re looking for a light LGBT romance, though, Fan Art might just do the trick.