C.G. Drews's Reviews > The Dangerous Art of Blending In

The Dangerous Art of Blending In by Angelo Surmelis
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really liked it
bookshelves: contemporary, read-2018, ya-male-narrators, young-adult, mental-illness

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 obvious) mental illness behind her religion: and uses it as an excuse to beat her "wicked and sinful" son. It's...it's so hard to read...Evan is just so beaten down, on the inside as well. He believes he's ugly and unworthy and evil and it's ALL he can do to try and be the "perfect Greek son" plus keep the fact that he's gay hidden.

And it's so sickening because everyone around him basically just stands back and pretends the abuse isn't happening. I'm really glad the book actually pointed at that. It's unfair and hard to read but really really true to life.

+ Evan is such a gorgeous character though.
He's an artist but has a really low opinion of his work (EVAN YOU IS KIND, YOU IS SMART, YOU IS IMPORTANT). He's the most precious cinnamon but also he breaks my heart with how, whenever someone is nice to him, he pushes them away. It's SO good the book didn't just show the depth of physical abuse, but it actually outlined the effects too.

I do wish Henry had been a little deeper as a character (I really don't feel we got to know him?!) but I love how he and Evan were just BFFs and it was developing into more and how they learned to take care of each other and afldksad. Also, epically, the romance wasn't a "oh Henry's here to save him". Henry is not the salvation. EVAN is his own salvation. Bless.

+ The story wasn't super fast, but in a good way?!
We get to see Evan's life and I love that he and his dad went out for donuts (although is dad just basically stood by when Evan got abused by his mum soooo: 98% mad at him still). And there is SO MUCH GREEK FOOD. I may have eaten my paperback. There's also a lot of religion and I don't think the book slams religion or anything, but it reminded me of Autoboyography in that it DID point out where religion often ignores/fails/condemns minorities.

+ Also this is a hella personal #ownvoices story.
There's an author's note in the back, and I think this is like super close to the author's own Greek/coming-out story. It makes my heart very full when authors share such intimate pieces of themselves and just absolute RESPECT HERE.

+ My literal only critique is that it felt like a debut.
Haha okay that was super specific, Cait, you bucket. It's just a lot of the dialogue didn't feel natural and I feel it needed more body language? Like everyone went from 0 to 1000 REAL fast and I would've liked more indications of the mood from showing. The writing was good but sometimes the tension could've been woven just a littttttle bit higher. So little nitpicks! (And lmao I'm a debut author so I know these feels and I know they get better with more books.)

This one is here to pack an emotional picnic and the actual pain of Evan's thoughts and experiences is absolutely well written. I justttttt want to kidnap him and give him a good life. It's not a pretty story and it is a needful story and my heart aches.

(Signs of a good book: MY FEELS HURT.)

Maybe I'm not so ugly after all. Maybe no one is really ugly, and maybe no one has the right to call someone that or tell them that they are. Maybe the only real ugliness is what lives inside some people.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

“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.”
Angelo Surmelis, The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Reading Progress

July 15, 2017 – Shelved
July 15, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
January 20, 2018 – Started Reading
January 20, 2018 –
page 52
15.48% "Me: time for some lovely light weekend reading
Me: [picks literally the saddest book on my tbr right now]"
January 21, 2018 –
page 104
30.95% "omg smol Evan is so self-destructing. I feel so bad for him. 😭😭"
January 22, 2018 – Shelved as: contemporary
January 22, 2018 – Shelved as: read-2018
January 22, 2018 – Shelved as: ya-male-narrators
January 22, 2018 – Shelved as: young-adult
January 22, 2018 – Finished Reading
May 8, 2018 – Shelved as: mental-illness

Comments Showing 1-5 of 5 (5 new)

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Samantha (WLABB) This was an emotional read for me as well. I think I bawled reading the author note at the end.

C.G. Drews @Sam: I know right?! It was so sad but good throughout the whole thing and then THE AUTHOR'S NOTE. 😭😭😭 It must've taken a lot of bravery to write this.

Samantha (WLABB) Cait (Paper Fury) wrote: "@Sam: I know right?! It was so sad but good throughout the whole thing and then THE AUTHOR'S NOTE. 😭😭😭 It must've taken a lot of bravery to write this."

Totally agree.

C.G. Drews @Jennyx: Eek yes it's an ARC! It's out in 2 weeks!

message 5: by Melissa (new) - added it

Melissa Just finished this and it gutted me.

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