Dangerous Art of Blending In
by Surmelis, Angelo

A story inspired by the award-winning designer's youth traces the experiences of an immigrant Greek boy coming to terms with his sexuality in an abusive household. 25,000 first printing. Simultaneous eBook.

Evan Panos lives two lives: in one, he's a high-school senior, a talented artist, and the best friend and tennis partner of Henry Kimball. In the other, he's the son of two Greek immigrants, and while his mother's disappointment in and anger towards him often turns violent, his mild-mannered father avoids and deflects. In both lives, Evan struggles with his sexuality, fighting a maybe-reciprocated attraction to Henry and keeping the secret from his devoutly Christian mother. Afraid that someone will realize the extent of the abuse, Evan isolates himself and hides his art in a nearby monastery, endangering both his friendships and his chance at becoming a real artist. But everyone has a breaking point, and Evan is rapidly approaching his. This poignant, sometimes explosive debut was based in part on the author's life, and occasionally stilted dialogue and a few pacing issues don't keep it from ringing true. A powerful read for anyone, but for those living a double life like Evan's, it will be invaluable. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Mother really doesn't know best in this tale of a closeted gay teen from a devout Christian household.Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos excels at conformity. His peers might notice him more if they knew his secret: during summer Bible camp, Evan kissed a boy for the first time. Evan's strict mother ensures that this "evil" secret stays obscured with prayer and physical and emotional abuse. Through art, secret trips to the nearby monastery, and one-on-ones with his dad at Dunkin' Donuts, Evan finds pockets of safety. But as his romantic feelings for his best friend, Henry, blossom, the tension between Evan and his mother escalates. Readers will wonder if it really will get better but can rest assured that hope is on the horizon. Surmelis' own-voices debut wisely uses a first-person, present-tense voice to keep readers in the moment with Evan as he lives through his trauma. Though back story adds complexity to Evan's villainous mother, she still reads as two-dimensional. In a cast of majority white, Midwestern peers, Evan's immigrant Greek family is a welcome addition—both to the story and to realistic queer fiction for teens. Readers may need tissues (or doughnuts) to make it to the end. Another heartbreaking novel that pits religion and sexuality against each other, but with an important, culturally specific perspective. (author's note, resources) (Fiction. 14-18) Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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