Drawing Amanda is set in the under-parented, high-expectation world of a Manhattan international prep school. Fourteen-year-old budding artist Inky Kahn is still smarting from the death of his father. He thinks he’s found his big break when he bonds with the developer of a new computer game and snags a coveted drawing assignment, for which he uses his secret crush–Amanda–as a model.
But unbeknownst to Inky, the developer has a dangerous past, and is using his computer game to lure and stalk teenage girls. And Inky has inadvertently led Amanda right into his path. Blinded by his own ambition and sulking from his father’s death, Inky hides from the truth. Will Inky, with the help of Rungs, his cybergeek pal, discover the treachery in time and save Amanda before the creep ensnares her–or anyone else?
Publisher: Hipso Media
Number of Pages: 292
Reviewed by Ellie, age 17
Drawing Amanda by Stephanie Feuer belongs in the same story genre as The Tortoise and The Hare or any of Aesop’s fables: it is a story that, more than anything, is meant to instruct rather than entertain. In this case, it warns children about the dangers of chatting with strangers on the Internet. However, that isn’t to say that Drawing Amanda is without merit: the plot itself is engaging and the main characters are fleshed out, even if a disconcertingly large amount of texting slang is used for non-electronic reasons (a necessary but somewhat tiring character trope used in the book). But never mind that, on to the synopsis!
This book is about two very different fourteen-year-old kids living in New York: Inky, who is struggling to cope with the death of his father and his isolation in school, and Amanda, the new girl who can’t seem to fit in due to her colorful and unique past. Both Inky and Amanda find relief via a new website called Megaland, where they help the mysterious producer of Megaland to improve the website, all the while growing closer to an unknown danger that threatens them both.
As I mentioned earlier, this book is a moralistic tale wrapped in teenage angst, a combination that was surprising in that it wasn’t off-putting. In fact, I found myself enjoying this book even though it was written for a younger age group. The characters suck you in and I found myself rooting for them even as I rolled my eyes at the (occasionally) cheesy dialogue or attempts at teenage slang. The plot is also captivating (especially Inky’s movement through the stages of grief and the relationship developing between Inky and Amanda), though I did notice a few plotlines that were left behind and never resolved.
While I believe that this book is well suited for a younger audience (early teens is the target audience), some more mature/triggering themes are involved, namely implication of threat of sexual abuse. Please tread with caution, but remember that this is a book that, overall, I believe is worth a read and has an important message, especially for the younger bookworms out there.
This book is on shelves now!
Buy Paperback | $12.95
Ellie, age 17