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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

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Review: Drawn by Chris Ledbetter (Soul Sucking Sketchbook???)

Drawn Chris Ledbetter

Chris Ledbetter
Publication Date: June 5, 2015
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Reviewer: Sophia

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

If he fails… they both die.
Review copy provided by the author via Xpresso Book Tours – thanks!

The only thing that really kept my attention through Drawn is the involvement of a soul-sucking sketchbook with the potential price of someone's life. Everything else can just go away. (I'm kidding. Oh, and hey! Alliteration! Sweeeeet.)

Plus, the book is about art, and Ledbetter's character brings art to life (literally) with a sketchbook he gets after an art mentor's sudden death. Cameron worships Da Vinci and has a massive crush on a girl named Farrah Spangled in his journalism class. Cameron's crushing from afar would probably be considered bordering on obsessed. For the first 10-20% of the book, Ledbetter focuses a lot on all of Farrah's beauty, grace, and flawlessness, and Cameron's admiration.

If not for the involvement of a soul-sucking sketchbook, I might not have lasted really long. The dark aspect is the light in the dark, but that's just irony playing with me. However, Cameron pining after Farrah bordered on annoyance in the very back of my mind. Lots of grumpy groaning ensues.

Although Ledbetter overplays it, Cameron's pining actually fits in the story nicely as the book continues. After getting the sketchbook, Cameron decides to draw a portrait of Farrah in the hopes of finally winning her over. The fun part now begins. Instead of winning her over, however, Cameron unknowingly puts her life in danger, and it's not until about a week later he finds out just how much risk he has put her in.

To save Farrah, Cameron is told he has to draw himself in the book, which will then allow him to see the real world, and another world where art comes to life with a price: if the person wants to leave the world, they have exactly twenty days to retrieve a Clavis, a device that transfers souls from the art world to the real world.

In the few days Farrah has left, Cameron feels guilty about what he has done to Farrah (although he really meant good intentions) so making a rescue attempt is how Cameron makes amends with himself, even if it means Farrah might not ever forgive him – bye bye to any chances he might have with her. He tries to gather reinforcements to not only help him rescue Farrah, but to lead a revolution in taking down a supposedly tyrannical king in the art world, all in exchange for the Clavis that will get everyone back safely and intact.

I didn't like Drawn as much as I hoped I would, but Ledbetter's novel isn't too shabby – I even feel like there might even be a potential sequel despite the solid ending. It's about art coming to life, a centuries old feud between two world-famous artists, and a boy's dream of getting the girl he wants. Not a terrible combination.

3.5 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.