Real, Raw, Heartbreaking - and Still a Must READ.


Evan Panos (17) wants to be in a family with strong, loving relationships. He has spent his entire life working for that dream. Growing up in a strict Greek Christian family with a mother who isn’t easily accepting has made it harder for Evan to get his wish. His mother consistently finds reasons to deem him as “unholy” or “the devil”and beats him for it. Last summer at Bible camp, Evan kissed a boy for the first time. He also has growing romantic feelings toward his best friend Henry.

But everything - all of it! - must remain a secret. Evan likes to keep everything organized and he compartmentalizes his world. Trying as hard as he could to be the perfect son worked for a while, but has his feelings for Henry grew, so did his mother's beatings. Because he can’t imagine telling his family or coming out to the world, he writes all of the secrets of his life in journals he doesn't plan to show anyone. He thinks his secrets are safe ... until he learns that his mother has told a local priest to read those journals in order to spy on her son.

With the physical abuse harder to hide, and his friendship with Henry evolving, Evan must decide whether he can survive "blending in" or if it is time to find his voice.

BTSYA / Teen Reader (14):
I enjoyed reading The Dangerous Art of Blending In very much. I could feel Evan’s pain and fear throughout the entire book. The book is very realistic; and children who fear having to face what Evan goes through will see themselves.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

No doubt about it, this is a very difficult book to read. BUT it is a powerful story that will resonate with teens in difficult family situations, struggling with their identity - and everyone else. Evan makes readers think a little harder, feel a little deeper, and understand a little more.

Content Awareness Factors:

The story contains profanity, sexual situations, and violence.

Type of Book:
This is a young adult novel is a semi-biographical story from the author's life as a boy and young man.
Educational Themes:

The Dangerous Art of Blending In is drawn from the author's own life, and to help others, he has included resources about abuse to help kids who may  need to seek it.

This is a book that begs discussion with your teen or in a teen book club. Common Sense Media has created an exceptional guide for discussions on a variety of themes presented in the book. Their Talk To Kids About for this book offers three questions ... and they are sure to inspire more as the conversation goes on.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
15 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
15 and Up
Age of child:
Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™ . Reviewer age: 14
Purchase Recommendation:
This is a must-read. Exceptionally written, it is worthy of a buy. But be warned: it is heartbreakingly real.

Title The Dangerous Art of Blending In
Author Angelo Surmelis
Publisher Balzer + Bray, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2019 (Reprint Edition)
ISBN 9780062659019
Material Paperback
Cost $9.99
Genres Contemporary Fiction, Social Issues, Romance
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