What I Loved:
The focus on art in What I Want You to See was amazing. I fell in love with a book many years ago about art and since that book, I have been so intrigued by other books that feature art. I’ll link to the book in my footnotes of this post.
In What I Want You to See, though, I got that same understanding of how much love someone can have for art. I really enjoyed reading and learning more about the artistic world, and how things can go wrong with each bad decision.
How I Felt:
The Characters: Sabine, our main character, is a bit hard to get to like. She takes things out on others and makes a lot of bad decisions, so it was a little hard to connect with her. However, she has lost her mother, become homeless, and is overall having a rough time. I gave her some leeway and ended up feeling a lot of compassion towards her and her situation.
The Writing: Catherine Linka sure can write a beautiful story. In a book about art, Linka painted pictures with her words. I was captivated by her colorful and detailed descriptions. The pacing of What I Want You to See was a bit slower than I was expecting. There were a few times where I really wanted to push the story forward. The ending was much faster paced, however, and gave me the excitement I was looking for.
The Plot: I enjoyed the forgery storyline in What I Want You to See. Sabine starts down a slippery slope and, while her decisions were frustrating for me, it did make the plot very interesting! There’s a romance story woven into this book as well, and I found it to be okay. I wasn’t super invested in their romance, however, it was an enjoyable addition.
Content Warnings: Parental death, moral ambiguity, depression, suicide.
Overall: What I Want You to See was a good book with a well-written plot. I really enjoyed the art in the book and the character growth for Sabine.
To Read or Not To Read:
I would recommend What I Want You to See to young adult genre readers that a bit of mystery, art, and morally questionable characters.
Where to Find This Book:
What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka is available at these sites.
I mentioned in my review that I fell in love with another art book many years ago. It was The Forger by Paul Watkins. You can see my review here.
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.
“Linka delivers intrigue, betrayal, and a feast for art lovers.”―Mary McCoy, author of Printz Honor Book I, Claudia *”Clear-sighted and heartbreakingly true, this is a genuine portrait of a girl in quiet crisis learning to see things as they are.”―Booklist (starred review) “Tense, smart, and engaging . . . What I Want You to See is a stunning portrait of deception, artfully peeling back layers of secrets to reveal a meticulously crafted crime.” ―Elle Cosimano, award-winning author of Nearly Gone
“A messy, heartbreaking and very real journey of learning to let others see who you truly are.”―Carrie Arcos, author of the National Book Award Finalist Out of Reach “A stunning page-turner that will tear your heart and paste it back together.” ―Kim Purcell, author of This is Not A Love Letter and Trafficked
Just the Facts:
- What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka
- Genre: Young Adult / Romance
- Page Count: 384 pages
- Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
- Pub Date: February 4, 2020
Catherine Linka has been immersed in books her whole life, most recently as a writer and bookseller.
She’s the author of the young adult novel WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE as well as the dystopian duology A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONE.
Catherine lives in Southern California and watches hawks and hummingbirds when she should be writing.
I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.
All Amazon links are affiliate links.
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