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The Dangerous Art of Blending In

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  6,387 ratings  ·  987 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn’t know where he fits in. His strict Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend Henry has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer.

Tired, isolated, scared—Evan’s only escape is drawing in an aband
Hardcover, 315 pages
Published January 30th 2018 by Balzer + Bray
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Semir Kuljanin I personally don't think it has a happy ending, it's a means to an end. With no actual resolution for the character. …moreI personally don't think it has a happy ending, it's a means to an end. With no actual resolution for the character. (less)
Julie-Anne Honestly, the abuse would have worsened. His mom thinks that she can make him a better person by beating and abusing him. That’s obviously not the cas…moreHonestly, the abuse would have worsened. His mom thinks that she can make him a better person by beating and abusing him. That’s obviously not the case and because Evan came out, she would want to change him, to make him straight again.

Or, his mother would have kicked him out. I can see it going both ways(less)

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 ·  6,387 ratings  ·  987 reviews

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Elle (ellexamines)
I am not giving this review a fair introduction or summary. Two things. One, I'm slightly bothered that Evan’s entire character arc is driven by romance, which is shitty itself in a book about abuse. Two, I'm bothered by the fact that the romance itself is an on fire garbage can.

I want to get into the romance as a character arc thing first, as it’s a good introduction. Evan doesn’t have an arc in this book beyond the messily written one he has because of Henry. And obviously, that’s an annoyanc
C.G. Drews
Oh wow this was both heartbreaking and hopeful and brutal. I knew it was going to be an emotional one but afjdsakfld the ending basically had me feeling at least 4 things all at once which is RIDICULOUS as I am a Vulcan and emotion as bread. It's full of art and abuse and hiding who you truly are and the absolute craving of love. Someone get me a bucket. I'm cosplaying a waterfall.

+ It's about domestic violence and it's so so heartbreaking.
Evan's mother basically hides her (not named but very ob
Korrina  (OwlCrate)
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I spent the entire afternoon reading this and it really broke my heart. This book is brutal and devastating. This book is definitely not for everyone, and you can see that by looking through some of the other reviews, but it spoke to me and made me feel deeply.
Feb 15, 2018 added it
Shelves: queer, owned
"Here's the deal about never being authentically loved by your parents: The most fucked-up gesture or morsel of compassion is like a warm blanket."

I haven't made my mind up completely about this book. One the one hand, it is a truthful and painful novel that makes it hard for you to swallow. On the other hand, it feels like big chunks of characterisation and plot were missing. Let me try to elaborate:
Evan grows up in a strict and religious household. His mother abuses him mentally and physically
This book was heartbreakingly sad and the authors note just broke me. It's about parental abuse, coming out and finding your voice in a harsh and judgmental world. Also this is a #ownvoices novel!!!

However, I didn't like how Henry kept saying "I'll be the one to help you. I want to be the one you trust." Yikes. I really didn't feel their romance either?? There's a lot of consent issues. Henry kissed Ev without permission when he told Henry THAT HE WAS SCARED AND NOT SURE.

Overall, it's an okay bo
Tucker  (TuckerTheReader)

Many thanks to HarperTeen for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review

I both loved and hated this. I think that this type of story needs to be shared so as to stop others like it from happening. That said, it always breaks my heart to see young people, albeit fictional people, being abused and harmed in this way. I just wanted to step in and brutally murder Evan's mom (Justifiable homocide is a thing, right?) and send him off to his own gay palace. All in all, this book broke my heart
Peter Monn
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a beautiful book. My full review will be up on my booktube channel at ...more
This story is heartbreaking and sad. This story deals with some heavy issues such as physical and mental abuse, suicide, and coming out. This coming of age book deals with Evan who comes home from camp confused about his sexuality and what he wants in life. Evan's mother is a strict immigrant greek mother who wants him to be a good christian boy. Evan feels like he has no support from his family or from his friends. This story tugged at my heart and I feel like it should be read by everybody. ...more
May 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Entertainment rating: 5
Reader health rating: 2
Settling for a 3.5 overall?

Content warnings: verbal, mental/emotional, and physical child abuse; on-the-page violent child abuse, homophobia, bullying, assault

I'm a therapist and I work in child welfare, therefore child abuse is a topic I think about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

I felt very angry while reading this because of the reviews I read from other reviewers. The abusive mother is this novel does not have a mental health diagnosis
I desperately wanted to love this book and I’m actually wondering if 3 stars is too high of a rating.

First off: major trigger warnings for physical and mental abuse as well as homophobia.

I couldn’t connect with Evan. He seems like a good guy in a shitty situation, but it felt like I never actually got to know him. I hated Evan’s mom and his dad isn’t any better as he just lets it happen. As much as I wanted to love the romance part of things, it was very dramatic and over the top.

Plot wise, i
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Dangerous Art of Blending In is a new take on the standard "Gay in a small town" narrative, because it's not about coming out as gay, but coming out with the truth about an abusive parent.

I use the phrase "at it's core" a lot in reviews, because I find that the core of the story needs to be strong enough to build a story around it. Soft/weak/boring cores lead to lackluster stories and I found The Dangerous Art of Blending In's core to be spectacular. However, I found the summery misleading
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Dangerous Art of Blending in follows Evan Pano a seventeen year old boy who lives with his dad and strict, abusive mother. Evan is scared of his mother and uses drawing as his escape. Evan feels that he doesn't fit in and he wants to live his own life. When Evan discovers new feelings towards his best friend, Henry. Henry teaches him to look past all the terrible things his mother says and to find his voice and stand up for himself.

I absolutely loved this book. I devoured it and couldn't put
Faith Simon
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book well enough and I read through it pretty fast. However, after rating it, I read through a few reviews only to find that most people I follow didn't like this book? Reading through reviews, some questionable content within the book has come to my attention. Of course, like all fictional content, it's up to reader interpretation, however, I am having a bit of a crisis. Do I review this book as a good read that I thought it was, and end up recommending a book with questionable t ...more
Apr 06, 2018 rated it did not like it
1 star.

“I've squeezed as many bookcases in this tiny space as possible. Being surrounded by books and magazines makes me feel calm. It makes the room seem wrapped in a layer of protection. As if nothing or no one can get to me.”

I wanted to like The Dangerous Art of Blending In. I really did. But, unfortunately, it's one of the worst books I've read in a long time. The writing was fine, that wasn't the problem. My problem was with Evan and Henry, both as individual characters, and their relations
destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

I really wanted to like this book! It's own-voices, and I'm here for all of the queer contemporaries. Unfortunately, though, I couldn't mesh with the narrative voice at all. The writing feels disjointed and in need of serious refining, and Evan is just not an enjoyable character to look through the perspective of. It's not that he's a bad kid - it's just the writing. I'm also really not fond of the romantic subplot of the book, and when I was told by friends that it only got stronger througho
Tracey (Life and Literature)
Books like this hit me right in the heart, because the stuff that happens in this book happens every day in real life. It might be happening in your own home, or your neighbours home, or your best friends home. Somewhere, someone right at this minute is struggling with their identity, or their sexuality, or acceptance from those who are supposed to love and protect them.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In dealt with such a wide range of topics. All of them intertwined and impacted on the other. Bu
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75/5 Stars

Trigger warnings for homophobia, abuse, bullying.

I think this was such a well-done debut novel. It was heartbreaking to read, but it's important to tell this kind of stories and these realities that unfortunately many people have to face every day. Evan, the main character, is abused, both mentally and physically, by his mother. His father knows what's going on but he doesn't do anything to really stop it. It was very hard to read their scenes, I'm not gonna lie.
The relationship b
Joshua Flores
Jun 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Pretty excited to get to post one of the first reviews for this wonderful book! Angelo has written something that is so impactful, heartbreaking and needed in our world (and on YA bookshelves). I cannot recommend this book more highly. It is so damn good.
Mar 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A stunning debut!

Just to get out of the way: This is not your "happy queer" book. Trigger warnings include child abuse (emotional & physical), homophobia & I'm including my own TW for complacency. Evan's father is aware of what's going on, but sadly, in like many cases of abuse, does nothing to stop it, & IMO actually causes it to escalate.

THE DANGEROUS ART OF BLENDING IN was extremely difficult to read. I have a childhood background somewhat similar to Evan's & I've had my fair share of books
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it

Actual rating: 4.5 Stars!


Man oh man. This was a hard one to read. It should be said that there are definitely trigger warnings for physical, emotional and verbal abuse found within this novel. The story was a beautiful one and it was an important story that needed to be told, but it was very difficult to get through.

Stay tuned for a review coming soon!
✰ Aileen ✰
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
How much damage can a single woman do? Domestic violence is not always committed by men alone, as this book clearly shows. It broke my heart to read how much a mother could despise and hate her own innocent child just because he's gay and not the perfectly religious son she so desperately wants.
I have never felt bad about DNFing a book until now -_-

TW: All abuse - Emotional, Verbal, Physical, Mental. Bullying.

The Dangerous Art of Blending In was a book I was really looking forward to reading when HCC Frenzy brought it to my attention. Especially since it's an #ownvoice book. But I've been struggling with this book for weeks and I'm normally a quick reader. I feel so bad having to DNF this book because I feel like it's an important story. I won't be giving this a star rating as I haven
Jay G
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
Want to see more bookish things from me? Check out my Youtube channel:

*I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*

TW: abuse of all kinds, homophobia

17 year old Evan is the son of very strict Greek immigrants. His father would rather stay quiet then cause conflict between Evan and his mother. He is feeling very lonely, the only solace Evan can find is going to an old abandoned monastery. During the summer, Evan is
Kaje Harper
Feb 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: signif-past-abuse, ya, m-m
There are two aspects to this book - one is Evan's relationship with his abusive mother, his pathologically passive father, his church and school classmates and job. The other is his developing romance with Henry.

The first of those felt like a pretty real portrait of a teen who has faced both physical and emotional abuse since early childhood. His abuser - his mother - is, like so many, able to put on a happy family, perfect face to everyone outside their home. She's well liked, and considered
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020-reads, 5-stars
my heart reaches out to the author after reading the author's note at the end. can someone hug me. can someone hug the author. i'm not okay.

before getting on with the book i would like to mention the trigger warnings: abuse in all forms, bullying, suicidal thoughts, homophobia

1) being in a strict family isn't easy. sometimes it's sooooo toxic that you wanna get out of there to be healed. Evan's mother is such a filthy whore who does shitty things in the name of god/religion. i just want to hurt
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I wanted this to be My Book. The one that I can't wait to get into the hands of kids who need to see something different and need to see themselves. This is that book. It's a tough one - it's HARD and there's no easy answer found at the end but it is true. Evan is like so many kids and yet he's singular. The trials he goes through are not simple and not everything gets solved. His story in a lot of ways begins at the end for him. Very very good. ...more
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: came-soon-18-20
One of my favorite books of all time. The Dangerous Art of Blending In is an emotional rollercoaster packed with true heart and originality. Evan is also one of my favorite characters of all time, his complex tangle of confusion, self-hate, and anxiety eventually melting away and allowing himself to be loved a beautiful and unique plotline. The cover was also incredible, the light ice cream-themed design pleasant and appropriately delicate. This was a fantastic debut from Angelo Surmelis, and I ...more
andrea ✨
this book just... didn’t do it for me? :/

idk what i was expecting, but this book was pretty underwhelming and the heavy topics that it was discussing didn’t seem to be handled in the best way.

at times the writing was confusing and hard to follow, and in general i just didn’t enjoy the way it was written.

i also just did not enjoy the way some of the teenage characters were written. specifically jeremy... lol. the way he talks and stuff... i mean i don’t have *much* experience in the field, but
Amber (Books of Amber)
Jun 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Dangerous Art of Blending In is a really tough book for me to review because it is about such a dark subject matter and also, without going into too much detail, it hit very close to home and it was triggering. I had to keep putting the book down because Surmelis' wrote certain scenes so well that I had to step out of the story for a bit.

The main character, Evan, is Greek-American, gay, in the closet, and is being raised in an abusive household. I loved Evan sooo much. He is the sweetest per
This simply did not do it for me.

I've noticed several people liked this book and praised the main romantic relationship, but, in my opinion, they failed to see just how toxic it could be. Henry had zero respect for consent and boundaries, and Evan only exists in this book to either a) be abused by his mother or b) be in a relationship with Henry.

In this sort of books, where one of the parties is in an abusive situation with their family, it's important to portray their love interest as a safe s
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SQHS YLL: The Dangerous Art of Blending In 6 16 Jun 04, 2018 02:35PM  

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Angelo Surmelis was raised in Greece until he immigrated to Illinois at the age of five. He currently lives in Los Angeles. An award-winning designer, Surmelis has been featured on over fifty television shows, including the Today show and Extra, as well as in magazines such as InStyle, TV Guide, and Entertainment Weekly. He has worked as a host on networks like HGTV and TLC. He can be found online ...more

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