STARRED REVIEW
June 2016

Finding the superhero strength to be who you are

By Laurent Linn
Adrian is gay and perfectly content to blend into the background at his stereotypically conservative Texas high school. He prefers to escape into the world of his Renaissance-inspired art and his superhero creation, Graphite. But when he intervenes during the brutal beating of another gay student, he draws unwanted attention to himself. No longer in the background, Adrian must decide whether he (and Graphite) should stand for something more than solitude and invisibility.
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Adrian is gay and perfectly content to blend into the background at his stereotypically conservative Texas high school. He prefers to escape into the world of his Renaissance-inspired art and his superhero creation, Graphite. But when he intervenes during the brutal beating of another gay student, he draws unwanted attention to himself. No longer in the background, Adrian must decide whether he (and Graphite) should stand for something more than solitude and invisibility. 

Laurent Linn’s debut novel is less “coming out” and more “coming-of-age,” as it asks compelling questions about responsibility, retaliation and integrity. Adrian’s two sidekicks, the drastically different Audrey and Trent, are well-rounded characters who support and challenge Adrian in equal measure.

The text is interspersed with beautiful snippets of the Graphite comic, drawn by the author, and a believable budding romance lends lightness to the otherwise violent plot. Despite the novel’s length, the story unfolds over just a few weeks, which underscores how quickly and drastically circumstances can change, an especially important message for young readers. Draw the Line does leave a few loose ends untied, but readers will appreciate the happy place Adrian finds himself in at the story’s conclusion and the admirable choices he made to get there.

 

This article was originally published in the June 2016 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Draw the Line

Draw the Line

By Laurent Linn
Margaret K. McElderry
ISBN 9781481452809

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