Book Review: A Portrait for Shy by Justin Kenneth

Fans of We Were Liars will devour this psychological supernova.

At seventeen, Jared Sedgwick wanted to share his artwork with the world, marry his first love, and get the hell out of Vermont. But he put down the brush when his relationship fell to pieces, and his cracked phone still says it’s another cold day in Bennington.

He only opens up to his best friend Stan, the one who’s there for him when he feels suicidal, who listens to every word and sits through every heartbreaking detail just waiting for some cat food; Stan never offers much advice. But that’s okay now because Jared’s got a new story, and her name is Eloise. She’s a cat-loving bookworm with a passion for starting over, new in town from California, and she’s making him forget that he ever had a past.

It’s a fresh romance for both until she questions the whereabouts of his ex-girlfriend, soon to discover an awful truth much worse than cheating.

A PORTRAIT FOR SHY is a twist-riddled narration of undying love in the wake of tragedy, an upper-YA/crossover contemporary *Mature content novel.

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***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

The opening line, There’s this game I play with Stan called Scratch-me-if-you-can, where I tap behind his paws until he tears apart my hand, caught my attention right away. The story was told in Jared’s first person point of view, and Stan was his cat. I loved this story because Jared’s quirky personality kept my full attention. Picture this book as an indie quirky drama or a quirky romance movie. Something you’d see on Sundance or the IFC Channel.

Jared, Jared, Jared. From the beginning, it was clear he wasn’t all sane, but that made him endearing. I felt bad that he couldn’t let go of the past. He was in a love triangle with  his high school sweetheart Shy, and his new neighbor Eloise. I loved that everyone’s backstory was twist after twist. I’m all about mystery.

Even though my favorite scenes where of Jared bonding with Eloise and Shy, I wish there would’ve been a little more interaction with other people. They lived in Vermont, so I pictured a small town, which the author did a great job capturing Vermont’s beautiful landscape. I wanted to get a feel if his neighborhood found him odd or if he just faded in the background. I was happy that he became less lonely when Eloise arrived into town.

Eloise’s dialogue used alot of exclamation points. That made me think she was eccentric or youthful. My favorite line was There was a pause that swallowed. But I closed my eyes, and then I heard her voice. As a reader, I usually have a clear cut couple I’m shipping if there’s a love triangle. However, I really liked Shy and Eloise, both for different reasons.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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