Author: Cecilia Gray
Published: December 15th 2013
Publisher: Gray Life, LLC
Format: ebook, 325 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Take a journey into the gritty world of political espionage through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal from the author of The Jane Austen Academy series....Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.
Oh, how deceiving looks can be! (I just love being overly dramatic sometimes, don’t you?) With the cover and the blurb as impressive as these, Drawn can easily pull in even the most skeptical of readers – and in my case, it did. Everything about this book looked right on the surface. The cover is alluring, the premise so very intriguing, and the short graphic introductions to each chapter promised a unique reading experience. However, it soon became clear that Drawn is nowhere near as good as I was hoping it would be. Instead, it is slightly amateurish novel that may appeal more to middle grade readers.
How many fabulous, but poorly executed ideas can you think of right this second? I bet I could come up with at least a dozen off the top of my head, and yet very few have had such promising beginnings and have ended up disappointing me to such extent. The protagonist, Sasha, is a human lie detector – her voice can make anyone say what they’re thinking out loud. Because of her talent, Sasha lives a very lonely life. Her parents abandoned her when she was a baby and she moved from home to home, friendless, until she was assigned to a female FBI agent who took care of her and used her to solve cases.
Considering Sasha’s unique ability, the mission she was sent on in Drawn, and by the CIA, no less, seemed ridiculously easy and entirely unnecessary. Her job was to infiltrate a group of graffiti artists and uncover the identity of the infamous Kid Aert, and how convenient that the daughter of Sasha’s handler – a girl who befriended her despite constantly blurting out embarrassing truths around her – was already a part of said group. Of course, as she befriends this group of French artists, Sasha ends up with an internal conflict – do her job like she’s always done, or protect the only friends she’s ever had?
The attempt to build Sasha into a complex character, bitter for being abandoned by various parental figures and constantly used by the government, failed spectacularly. Not for a second did I feel her loneliness and insecurity as I was undoubtedly supposed to. Instead, she came across as unapproachable and somewhat obnoxious.
As a general rule, I try to find at least something positive to say, and in this case, it would probably be the setting, except for all the errors it brought with it. Sasha’s assignment takes her to Belgium, a country we don’t see much of in YA, which I’d normally be thrilled about. However, although I don’t speak much French, even I could notice all the language disasters – the kind of errors Google Translate would do.
To make the long story short – I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Drawn to anyone. This is not Gray’s debut, but it certainly reads like someone’s first high school attempt at writing a novel, and I think we can all agree that those should be kept hidden, not given a pretty cover and shared with the world.
A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.