The Nardio Review
Is Drawn Worth Your Time?
What Did We Think Without Spoiling It?
Drawn is a fairly fast-paced young adult novel that manages to justify the teenage angst the main character – Cameron – feels. I like the fact that he’s pretty self-aware of his own actions and how they come across. His character is also quite refreshing. Despite being artistically inclined, he’s still a normal teenage boy with raging hormones and an affinity for video games. I like that the author doesn’t paint him only as a tortured artist. The other characters are a bit weaker, but they serve their purpose well enough.
Why it Works?
I didn’t read anything about this book so I was simply expecting a story of a kid who wins the heart of the girl he loves through art. In a sense this is what happens, but it has an unexpected twist of fantasy about halfway through the story. I actually enjoyed this surprise quite a bit because I felt like Cameron and I were on the same page in terms of our incredulity. Neither of us were expecting it and we both were a bit skeptical of how it would turn out (maybe in different ways). In the end, it added a nice layer of tension and drove the plot forward quickly. In fact, it seemed like the plot moved too quickly. At the same time this made sense because there was an actual time limit with real consequences. What started off as just another story of some teenager crushing on a girl became a thrilling adventure. It works. For the most part.
The strongest character in Drawn is obviously the protagonist – Cameron. Chris Ledbetter – the author – manages to capture the essence of teenagers. They’re emotional, hot-headed, confused, rash and have problems following directions. They can also be kind of annoying and melodramatic. Cameron certainly fits the bill but he also brings his own personality to the table. He’s smart, straightforward and has great observation skills. He’s also dealing with the grief of losing his mother and his mentor. Drawn does a great job touching upon his grief and how he and his father deal with it. It’s poignant and realistic.
The “love story” could have been cliché. After all it starts off as a familiar story: boy from the wrong side of town falls in love with the rich girl. Rich girl happens to be dating jerk star of the football team. The author manages to flesh out the characters a bit more. Farrah isn’t the stereotypical rich girl. She’s friendly, treats everyone equally, reads comic books and dreams of becoming a famous writer or journalist. Even her relationship with Chace (the jock) is far more complicated than it initially appears. It adds a nice layer of depth and realism to the story.
The mystery itself unfolds rapidly and the plot picks up pace around halfway through the book. It’s pretty frantic towards the end. So many things get revealed you’re left reeling, much like Cameron. The author does a great job really involving me in the story. I feel invested in it and seeing how it will end even if I know it will probably end happily.
As strong as the idea was it still had plenty of faults. I didn’t really get to “know” Farrah as much as I would like. We only learn about her through Cameron’s eyes and he’s obviously biased. The most we learn about her is during their not-date/date. It seems like the author was trying to fill in a lot of information about her, but there wasn’t enough time for me to care about her or their relationship. Just when I started to get interested in who she was, the author writes her out.
The same can be said of the other characters. Chace is the stereotypical jerkass jock despite the author trying to make him interesting by saying he’s great at physics. Jameson, Cameron’s best friend, has a bit more characterization, but he mainly is there to rattle off one-liners. There’s no depth to his character and I could care less if he died. Heck, I barely cared that Farrah was on the brink of death. The female that drew me in was Vittoria. She was by far a stronger female lead than Farrah and I was really rooting for her and Cameron to hook up.
I also was a bit let down by the ending. It was a little too easy. Ledbetter did a great job building up a lot of tension towards the final battle and it all just kind of…ended. There didn’t really seem to be a good resolution, which makes me believe he’ll be revisiting this world in the near future.
Despite some weakness in the supporting cast and the ending, I still really enjoyed Drawn. It was a quick and enjoyable read with an intriguing concept.