TITLE: The Dangerous Art of Blending In

AUTHOR: Angelo Surmelis

RATING: ★★★★★

TRIGGER WARNING: continual abuse from a parent, scenes depicting such abuse, other parent ignores it, bullying due to sexuality, violence due to sexuality

WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: PenguinNZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review!

GENRE: Contemporary


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 abandoned church that feels as lonely as he is. And, yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it’s his best friend Henry who’s now proving to be irresistible. It’s Henry who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it’s Henry who makes him believe that he’s more than his mother’s harsh words and terrifying abuse. But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother’s abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by avoiding attention at all costs.

my thoughts

I had my heart broken, and re mended in the course of a few hours as I sped through this novel & fell in love. This is a novel that follows our main Character Evan, his parents immagrated from Greece & he is a gay christan teenager, who’s doing his best to not admit such things.

This is heartbreaking in the sense, that alot of this book tackles a dark topic that I thankfully do not have any expereince with, and thus cannot say if it’s representation is good or not. It details the life of Evan, as he getd beaten by his mother. It’s something I’ve seen in other novels and movies, but for some reason this time it just hit me harder, how hard Evan tried to blend in, fit the mold that his mother had cut for him, and how whenever he failed, she would viciously reign down punishment. There are DEFINETLY a few dark scenes & scenes of abuse, so if that’s something you can’t handle, this book really isn’t for you.

If I had to pick a favourite character, & a most hated one. It would be Henry, and Evans Father. Hear me out. Henry is the only boy who sees through the lies that Evan throws at people, he tries once, to make Rvan tell him what is happening, but when he refuses, he backs away and allows Evan the sembelance of power over this one situation of his life. But when Henry does something stupid, he admits it, he apologies to Evan & tries to make up for it. And to me for a teenage character, that’s pretty admirable. Now onto my most hated character, it was Evan’s father. I think my issue comes from the fact that he just, sat there, let Evan get beaten up. He slowly comes to his sense towards the end of the book, and is accepting of Evans sexuality & tries to help him. But it is a case of too little too late in my opinion because abuse should never be allowed in a household. (wow can you tell this book had an impact on me?)

All in all, the plot was done well, even though there was the scene where Evan is ‘exposed’ to a certain degree, it didn’t feel as overdone or wrong as it had in other books and I really applaud Angelo for how he handled such an important point of the book.

I think, if I had to pick a favourite thing in this book, all in all, it would be the characters. But this book has good writing, an intriguing but sad plot & a decently happy ending so I am so glad I spent my afternoon off work curled up in bed reading this book.


until next time,

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