100-Character Breakdown: A substantial, emotional debut kept fresh by a genuine voice, diverse cast, and comic book artwork.
Genre: Young adult, LGBTQ
Publisher: McElderry Books (May 2016)
In his young adult debut Draw the Line, Laurent Linn blends his writing and artwork to create an enjoyable and empowering read. Adrian Piper always does his best to remain unnoticed in the halls of Rock Hollow High. He hides his secrets — he’s gay and a comic book artist of Graphite, his own gay superhero — from everyone but his best friends, tall and goth Trent and stylish and sassy Audrey. But Adrian is no longer invisible after he tries to stop football players Doug and Buddy from attacking Kobe, an openly gay student. Adrian must decide if he wants to return to invisibility or if it’s worth the risk to make a difference like his Renaissance-inspired hero Graphite.
Mixed in with the genuine, well-written voice of Adrian’s narrative are the character’s drawings, mostly panels of his Graphite comics. Including the art keeps the book fresh. Linn uses these comic sections as a tool to dig deeper into Adrian’s mind, making his narrative multilayered and expanding his character. Alongside Adrian is a truly diverse cast of characters. While Linn does not deeply explore all of these other aspects of diversity, they are present nonetheless. This is a story about a gay character, but Linn isn’t afraid to surround his protagonist with diversity. Draw the Line elegantly blends art and a coming of age story that explores identity, bullying, social issues, romance, and diversity. This emotional and substantial is a refreshing addition to the young adult genre.