Fan Art - DNF Review

By Sarah Tregay
Published 17 June 2104
Published by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
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.

I'm sure that some of you have noticed that thing fandom does sometimes. You know, the one where they fetishize m/m relationships to the point where the characters involved in said ship don't get to have any sort of feeling beyond the other person involved in that ship? They become objects, not people with motivations beyond love interests.

This book reads a lot like that, enough that I couldn't bring myself to finish it. The (mostly closeted) MC has a thing for his BFF and a bunch of the girls in his art class ship it with the same intensity as some folks feel about Destiel, or Harry and Hermione (for good or not, depending on one's pov.)

I don't know about this blog's audience's demographics when it comes to interactions with fandom (actually, frankly beyond YAY BOOKS, I know nothing about this blog's demographics! I'm sorry, humans.) but personally I've lived through watching a lot of the fallout of Bad Fandom Decisions from uh...a long time ago. We'll go with pre-Livejournal and leave it at that. Reading this book, to me felt a lot like what was about to be a Real (fictional) World Bad Fandom Decision.

Maybe the ship that MC and his sudden surprise posse want happens. Maybe it doesn't. I don't know. What I do know is that beyond the objectification/fetishization of a homosexual relationship, a lot of the writing just felt like fanfic. Not only that but there was a variation on fic within fic here. A few pages of the text are devoted to a comic someone submits to the school paper, and while it's pretty cool in concept there's uh...something lacking. The debate that follows the comic submission about whether to include it or not is mostly about content. My issue wasn't so much the content as it was the presentation of these pages. They were sketchy pencils nowhere near complete and with so many scribbles there were points that it was honestly hard to tell what exactly was going on. This would be fine for a general proposal, however, it'd been made pretty clear that the drop dead date for getting into the paper was upon them, and there'd be no time for revisions. It was just...rough.

Beyond that, there's a lot of namedropping of various software and other random things that shouldn't matter. I'm sure this is just me being crotchety because I've spent way too much time the past three weeks pulling crunch-time things in InDesign that I just- I couldn't with this anymore. But hey, I'm glad to know that MC is privileged enough to afford either a Creative Cloud subscription or a fully functional copy of CS6 or that the school district has provided this for him, which is entirely possible, but it does also seem like this is the MC's personal laptop and not a school thing. The point is, my escape from layout work turned into a reminder that I needed to get back to layout work.

Crotchety Old Man Reg or not, I just couldn't finish this book. Maybe you'd like it. Maybe you wouldn't. This book really does strike me as something written by fandom for fandom and even though I've been part of fandom for a very, very long time I just wasn't interested in the attempt to be catered to. Sorry, folks. I'm just not shipping it.

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