What I Want You to See
by Catherine Linka
Releasing on February 4th, 2020
Published by Disney-Hyperion
Winning a scholarship to California’s most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye’s awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs.
But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work—and warns her that she’ll lose the merit-based award if she doesn’t improve.
Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn’t know where to turn. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who understands better than anyone the pressures of art school. He even helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master’s work in progress, a portrait that’s sold for a million dollars sight unseen.
Sabine is enthralled by the portrait; within those swirling, colorful layers of paint is the key to winning her inscrutable teacher’s approval. Krell did advise her to improve her craft by copying a painting she connects with . . . but what would he think of Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece? And what should she do when she accidentally becomes party to a crime so well-plotted that no one knows about it but her?
Complex and utterly original, What I Want You to See is a gripping tale of deception, attraction, and moral ambiguity.
*I WAS PROVIDED A PHYSICAL ARC FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS BLOG TOUR. THIS DOES NOT AFFECT MY OPINION*
Before I dive into this review further, I want to warn you that this book does focus on some heavy topics, such as depression, suicide, acting out of suicide by multiple people, bullying, catfishing, homeless flashbacks, talks of becoming homeless, and stealing. If any of those topics are triggering to you, I’d suggest you not read further into this review, as I’ll be mentioning one of them later on.
Now, let’s hop into this!
There’re no words to describe how I felt after reading this book. I was in a little bit of shock, mixed with a happy I FINISHED A BOOK AND I ACTUALLY LIKED IT moment.
This book was phenomenal.
The main character of this novel had something I want to see more of: vulnerability. In YA novels nowadays, vulnerable characters are usually just thrown onto the sides. But Catherine Linka didn’t allow that to happen for this one! Sabine speaks about being homeless, how she lost her mom and had to fend and care for herself throughout her last years of high school and into her first year of college, where this story takes place. It really puts into perspective how privileged some of us are, and it also helps us realize and think about the things we could do to help those like her.
Something I really liked about this book was that there wasn’t just one big downfall. There were multiple. When someone’s life falls apart, it’s multiple things that are packed on to someone’s plate. Until eventually, the plate tips or it breaks from the pressure. That is really portrayed in this book, and I absolutely loved that the author took the time to implement it in the right ways.
However, there was one problem I found in this read. It was mentioned by one of the characters that you can’t really further someone’s depression/suicidal tendencies if they’re already that way, and I found that statement to be highly untrue. As someone who’s suffered and dealt with both of those in the past and present, I can honestly say that it’s very possible to push someone so hard that they feel the need to take their own life. I’ve had people go out of their way to tell me to kill myself before, so I can promise you, it’s a daily happening for some people.
Lastly, I really don’t think this novel should’ve been placed in the YA genre. I believe this should’ve been bumped up to New Adult, but for whatever reason, it hadn’t been. This novel doesn’t follow an age that’s used in YA, and it felt more like a New Adult age.
Altogether, I really adored this novel. It raised many problems up into the spotlight and said “FOCUS ON THESE!” It depicted a girl’s rise and fall and redemption all in one story. For that, I rate this novel 4.75 stars. I can’t wait to see what Catherine Linka releases next, and I’ll be anxiously waiting until then.
Catherine Linkais the author of the young adult novel WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE as well as the dystopian series A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE. A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS was an ABA Indie Next Pick and won the Young Adult Novel Award 2014 from the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association. A frequent speaker at writing and teen conferences, Catherine received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts and worked as a young adult book buyer for an independent bookstore for seven years. Prior to pursuing a career in publishing, she studied international politics at Georgetown University followed by a master’s degree in business at the University of North Carolina. Catherine is married and lives with her husband in the San Gabriel foothills. Visit her at http://www.catherlinelinka.com.
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