This novella really worked for me. Adam works at his mother’s comic book shop. Reese is a regular customer, and she prefers DC comics to Marvel, but Adam likes her anyway.
Reese wants to write comics. “She wanted to represent the millions of girls like her who wanted heroes and heroines that were like them.” She’s created a hero and a story, and as part of her senior project she plans to crowdfund it. She just needs an artist.
Luckily, Adam likes to draw comics. He’s always doodling behind the cash register, and Reese has been sneaky enough to notice that he’s really good. She talks him into working on the comic with her.
They’re both passionate about their work, and they argue, but talking things through makes them both improve. Until it comes time to introduce Adam’s character as a mentor/love interest for Reese’s character:
“You’ll alienate readers with an interracial couple.”
Reese stiffened and then stepped closer, anger blazing in her eyes. “They belong together because they understand each other in ways no one else can. It’s our story. If readers don’t like it, they don’t have to read it.”
It’s the comic-as-metaphor-for-reality trick, but it works really well. Adam is black and Reese is white. He tells her, “No one considers your race first because you’re white. Everyone considers my race first because I’m not.”
Of course Adam wants her, but his black father left his white mother because he couldn’t take the comments from outsiders. Adam believes that an interracial romance is too complicated, so he holds back his feelings. Reese, in turn, feels like he’s not attracted to her because she doesn’t wear pretty dresses and a lot of makeup.
I enjoyed their interaction, and their comments about comics and the comic-lover’s place in society, not to mention how important race is when describing a person. It’s a big pot of social issues, handled simply but thoughtfully. Plus the romantic tension was perfect.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
His Work of Art
by Shannyn Shroeder
Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Lyrical Press