cover image The Dangerous Art of Blending In

The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Angelo Surmelis. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-265900-2

High-school senior Evangellos “Evan” Panos, who emigrated to the U.S. from Greece at age four, lives in inner turmoil, keeping two secrets from his friends: he’s gay (which he sort of wants to reveal) and he is being abused by his violent, obsessively religious mother (which he absolutely does not want known). Surmelis’s debut novel delves deeply into Evan’s raw torment as he struggles with wanting to be openly himself and holding onto his secrets. Suspense builds as Evan’s inability to confront his strong attraction to his best friend Henry threatens that long relationship, and he grows increasingly unwilling to tolerate his volatile mother’s physical and emotional cruelty (witnessed by his loving but passive father). Evan, a gifted artist, and his father are both highly credible characters, though his mother at times seems over the top (despite a revealing backstory), and Henry and his family are a little too good to be true. Several explosive scenes bring relief from the growing tension; readers will yearn for Evan to achieve the freedom, happiness, and love he deeply desires. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Kerry Sparks, Levine Greenberg Rostan. (Jan.) [/em]