After attending the gay pride parade in my town (Olympia, WA), I can say that I am newly reinvigorated with such optimism, hope, and love, that can only come from the LGBTQ community. And in honor of this beautiful spirit, I wanted to review one of my favorite YA books whose main protagonist is a gay, seventeen-year-old artist living in Texas. That book is none other than Laurent Linn’s Draw the Line.
I feel like this book is very underrated and under the radar since I hadn’t heard of it before I found it on the shelves of my library. But, do not overlook this novel. It truly is a hidden gem in the YA genre.
The main character, Adrian, makes such an adorkably cute narrator. With all his nerdy references, Adrian navigates high school by being the class introvert and a talented artist. He stays in the background, until he witnesses a hate crime that pushes him forward, to the point where he cannot remain invisible anymore and he has to step forward and do something about it. Linn wonderfully details high school life with descriptions that are so relatable that almost anyone can see themselves as Adrian. Such as:
“To a gray T-shirt, I added faded jeans, cheap old sneakers, and a gray hoodie … my almost perfect cloak of high school invisibility” (5).
Or, here’s an example of the classic teenage insecurity and doubt that I’m sure all of us have experienced at one time or another:
“Hey, yeah, it kinda works. Oh, god, no it doesn’t” (3).
If you can’t quite relate to the introvert, fly-on-the-wall aspect of Adrian’s personality, then you can easily enjoy the nerdy pop-cultture references. Such as:
“Help me, Obi-wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope. Oh, yes, I pray to Obi-wan” (8).
And, as if you need another reason to pick up this book, Mr. Linn illustrated all the comic panels that Adrian draws in the novel. How awesome is that? Not only can Linn write such an amazing and honest voice that details the high school experience, he can even draw amazing comics!
Here are some of the comic panels from the novel. Adrian draws upon his life to create his superhero alter ego, Graphite. The comic panels work wonderfully in illustrating Adrian’s thought process after certain events take place. These reflections add so much depth and understanding to the story’s plot. It also helps the reader process the events that take place, so much so that I wouldn’t want to read this novel without them.
As you can see, I have mad-love for this book. And I think you will enjoy it just as much. So, make sure to check out this book, which dives into the theme of accepting the LGBTQ community in a funny, charismatic way.