Review: Draw the Line | Laurent Linn

This Review contains spoilers.

29654625“Unlike Michelangelo, I may not have church ceilings and museum walls to have art on, to show what I need the world to see. But I do have lockers.
And I have the internet.” 

Published: 2017, by McElderry Books.
Pages: 528
Format: Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Contains: Violence, Anger, Homophobia, Strong Language, Alcohol, Abuse

‘Draw the Line’ tells the story of Adrian Piper, a in-closet high-school student desperate to fit in. He loses himself in art, creating comic strips of his superhero alter-ego, Graphite. After witnessing a hate-crime of a fellow student, Adrian finds himself merging fantasy and reality to become the person he wants to be and save the day.

This book was one I was so excited to read, being praised for being an essential piece of LGBT literature and it had so much potential to be. However, personally I found it disappointing.

The plot-line itself set up an interesting story, following Adrian’s acceptance of his sexuality and the impact the hate crime had on his views. However, in all, Adrian was an incredibly irritating character. He was selfish, needy and made pointless bad decisions throughout the entirety of the novel. The writing style also didn’t help this, finding it listing unnecessary details and telling the reader about the situations rather than showing the impact and thoughts the characters were experiencing. The language was simple, as expected with this genre, yet there was no expression of anything. It was boring.
Adrian’s point of view was also an issue for me, his controversial narrative making it very difficult to like the character. For example;

“And now I just babbled at them both about gravity while dripping puddles of barbecue sauce and looking like a mental ward refugee!”
(Page 78)

Here, Adrian is speaking of how he bumped into his crush whilst cleaning himself up in a restaurant bathroom. One of my biggest peeves of YA fiction is the misuse of medical terminology and here is a prize example of it. Please, explain to me what a ‘refugee’ from a mental institution looks like? A person? Someone struggling with a disorder meaning they’re in a facility to ensure their safety? I hate it.

“Trent claims to be asexual. Since when is a teen boy asexual? 
Well, what the hell do I know?”
(Page 79) 

Adrian is on a roll here, two strikes in two pages. This book has been praised for its wide representation of the LGBT community, including Trent; an asexual teen. However, this was the introduction to his sexuality. How can this be positive? This is deeply damaging and uneducated writing. This line reinforces the idea that asexuality is not valid, something that is already widely discussed in the media, and is honestly worse than not including it at all.

The other characters were stereotypical, meaning there was hardly anything to connect with them and their actions were so out of character on occasion that it made the story seem pointless. For example, Audrey (the sassy-black-girl) had an argument with Adrian meaning they weren’t on speaking terms for around twenty chapters of the novel, until Adrian walks up to her out of the blue and says “I miss you”, instantly becoming friends again. What was the point of the argument?! Nothing changed afterwards, neither of them ensuring what made them argue in the first place could be avoided, it just stopped bothering them! Am I missing something?
Lev appeared to be the only realistic character, being sweet and caring of Adrian throughout the story and his issues were justifiable. However, there was hardly any information about the kid other than how ‘hot’ the protagonist thought he was, meaning it was hard for him to come alive whilst reading. Disappointing, and don’t get me started on the insta-love between the two.

Overall, this book caused me to fall into a slight reading slump. I desperately wanted to enjoy it, it being fairly long yet thought the beautiful illustrations would move the story forward. I was wrong.




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