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Draw the Line

Review

Draw the Line

Teens are always trying to become someone they’re not. This isn’t a recent development by any means, because prejudice and discrimination have been around for years; however, along with the gay rights movement of 2015, a whole new development has come about. People are legally allowed to be LGBTQ, but the laws only protect them to a small extent. Throughout the country, as before, people continue to face judgement and even hostility for their sexuality. It has gotten better in some places, but in others, where people are slow to accept change, it is the same as before --- or worse. Amidst this revolution in human rights comes Laurent Linn’s novel, DRAW THE LINE, in which the main character is gay and struggling for respect within his school. Along with Linn’s observation of social pressures, this novel convinces teens that they don’t have to be someone they’re not.

“DRAW THE LINE is a truly empowering story about standing up for yourself and accepting the parts of yourself that are different, even if others don’t.”

DRAW THE LINE tells the story of a teen boy named Adrian and his internal, as well as external, turmoil. Adrian is an introverted boy who prefers to blend into the background at school. He has two good friends named Trent and Audrey, and the three of them are basically outcasts at school, at least in their eyes. Adrian spends most of the novel struggling with coming to terms with his sexuality, which he partly does through his drawing. He spends hours each night crafting characters that resemble himself and his peers, the main one being Graphite, the superhero version of Adrian that he wishes he could be like. Throughout the novel, he becomes more and more like his fictional character without even realizing it. He stands up to two bullies at his school, Doug and Buddy, for attacking another student, and, in response to their homophobic sentiment, spreads his artwork around the school to discourage their violence and cruelty. However, the more involved Adrian gets with these bullies, he realizes that everyone has something to hide, and that he has more in common with them than he thought.

I’m going to leave it there; to find out the rest, you’ll just have to read the book for yourself! I highly recommend doing so, because I personally greatly enjoyed the book. The characters were all extremely likeable --- even the bullies, at certain points. Though there were some sad parts in the book, there were others that made me genuinely elated for Adrian and his friends. DRAW THE LINE is a truly empowering story about standing up for yourself and accepting the parts of yourself that are different, even if others don’t.

It also teaches an important lesson about tolerance for others. Through Adrian’s struggle for respect from his peers, he learns that he has things in common with the people he hates, and those people find that, although they outwardly despise Adrian for being gay, they respect his artwork and the way he stands up for himself. I think this is an important lesson for everyone, because the world can always stand to be more tolerant of others, and what better way to promote this than in a book with comics?

Overall, this book highly impressed me, and I tore through all 500 pages in just a matter of hours. I would recommend this novel to junior high or high school students, because I know those years can be tough to get through. DRAW THE LINE will inspire teens to be proud to be themselves when society tells them to be someone else and I think that’s wonderful.

Reviewed by Leanna R., Teen Board Member on May 23, 2016

Draw the Line
by Laurent Linn