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Publisher's Summary

Lambda Literary Award finalist for the best LGBT YA novel of 2018.

A raw, powerful, but ultimately uplifting debut novel perfect for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe from debut author Angelo Surmelis.

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn't know where he fits in. His strict immigrant Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend, Henry, has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer. 

Tired, isolated, scared - Evan finds that his only escape is to draw in an abandoned monastery that feels as lonely as he is. And yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it's Henry who's now proving to be irresistible. Henry, who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it's Henry who makes him believe that he deserves more than his mother's harsh words and terrifying abuse. 

But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother's abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by being silent. 

This is a powerful and revelatory coming-of-age novel based on the author's own childhood, about a boy who learns to step into his light. 

©2018 Angelo Surmelis (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Dangerous Art of Blending In

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Truly Chilling Coming of Age Tale

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes. But, you have to have an ability to stomach some of the violence experienced by Ev. It can be hard to listen to and will make your blood boil.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was hoping for more time, on the other side of the violence experienced by our protagonist, to luxuriate in a happier ending. But, I still liked it.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved Ev's quiet/alone scenes in the monastery, and his doughnut scenes with his spineless, helpless, useless dad.

Could you see The Dangerous Art of Blending In being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Hmm. I think either Ezra Miller or Timothée Chalamet would make an excellent Ev. And Ben Whishaw as Henry would be great.

Any additional comments?

Michael Crouch's narration was, at times, bone-chilling and really quite scary. He had me on the edge of my seat, especially while voicing the protagonist's Greek mother. I'm going to hear that voice in my head for a long, long time. It scared me.

8 people found this helpful

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A touching story

This story is a hard story. I wasn’t expecting some of what happened so trigger warning for domestic violence and anti LGBT themes and slang in the book. Although it is tough content it is so true and genuine feeling. You really live and walk with Evan through this story. You want the best for him and you ache and feel as he fights his way through his day.
This story is told beautifully and truthfully. There are such happy clear moments that you clutch into just like Evan clutches onto them. If you aren’t in a good place with your family or your identity I don’t know that I’d recommend this book-
It could be triggering - it could be reaffirming that you are valid and that others have gone through similar experiences. I know this is a review but I want y’all to be safe and not accidentally trigger yourself even though I love this book!
I do recommend the audiobook. Micheal Crouch is phenomenal and is my favorite narrator. He manages to differentiate all the characters so well without being caricatures - he also differentiates his characters from other stories which is amazing. He is so underrated and whenever he is narrating a book I know I’m in for a treat!

14 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 02-28-18

Narrator brings the story to life

I loved this. Michael Crouch has become one of my favorite narrators and this book proved just how skilled he is at his job. The accents he did in this book for the parents and for the other characters made each person distinct and recognizable. I also really loved the story. I wanted to protect the main character, and I liked that he found out what real love feels like.

3 people found this helpful

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A wonderfully read story of self acceptance

What did you love best about The Dangerous Art of Blending In?

This was a really great story with an honest take on abuse, bigotry, love and self-acceptance. The love story portion of the story does not fix all of the main characters problems, but it does give him the strength to care more about himself and fight for what he needs.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Evan was a tortured character who you really root for and want to make things better for.

Which scene was your favorite?

This may sound crazy, but my favorite scenes dealt with the abuse Evan suffers from his mother. They were raw and honest.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several moving scenes but spoilers, sweetie.

Any additional comments?

Michael Crouch is an excellent narrator.

2 people found this helpful

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Sad

Difficult to listen to. Sad. I need more closure! 😩 i could, however, relate to some parts.

1 person found this helpful

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I loved it.

It was pretty great from start to finish, I really loved how it keep me wanting to read more and more each time I had to stop for work, school, etc. The story really makes me feel warm inside, sparks an urge to tell my love how much he means to me.
Everything Michael Crouch narrates is gold.

1 person found this helpful

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A strong book, albeit often intense

I was worried after reading several negative reviews, but I immediately fell in love with the book. Evan was such a tortured but strong character, and Henry was the stereotypical knight in shining armor. While there were some intense scenes with Evan and his mother and some were a bit triggering, the conflict this set up was very powerful. I overall found the adults less well drawn and multidimensional besides Evan's mother. I kept pondering her childhood and if she was suffering from severe post-partem depression or a mental issue. in the end the story ended abruptly and was predictable to some degree, but it was a book that truly made me cheer for Evan and Henry and cheer for their future.

The narration was absolutely fantastic...one of the best I've experienced. The narrator's voices were nuanced and consistent and rang true to the author's intent. His reading of Evan was both tortured and hopeful and wonderfully vulnerable. His Henry was absolutely perfect: tender and playful when needed. All in all a very enjoyable book, but with some definite triggers for those who are sensitive to domestic abuse

1 person found this helpful

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Simple but beautiful

The coming of age story of a gay teen in a hyper religious, Greek family didn't sound like it would be all that interesting to read because it sounds like a story that has been told before. However, the author takes you into main character, Evan's, mind - sometimes even his soul - and lets you feel first hand what it might be like to be Evan. I felt nervous, scared, hopeless and thrilled right along with Evan and I'm not a teen, gay, Greek or a boy so I feel like the writer has a wonderful way of transcending a typical type of character connection. The narration certainly assisted in the character connections in this book - Michael Crouch did a fantastic job! Overall, I would definitely recommend this story!

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Gut-wrenching!!!

First off - heed the warnings about triggers. This was really difficult to listen to, not because I have experienced anything like what Evan had gone through, but because I could empathize with him, knowing that there are people here in the real world who are like the surrounding characters. I listened to this from beginning to end without a break, it was that engaging. (However, I should not have listened to this at work, as I was on the verge of tears nearly throughout.) If you are at all empathetic, prepare yourself for a tough listen. Find yourself a quiet, comfortable place, alone, and have tissues handy.

I wonder if some of the story was part of Surmelis’ own story. It is very well written, with fully fleshed-out characters. Crouch does an amazing job of differentiating the characters’ voices - so much so that at one point I thought it was being narrated by several people, not just Crouch alone. He is by far my favorite narrator and I look forward to hearing more of his work.

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Great story, but tough to read.

(There will be light spoilers in this review.)

I started this book after reading "I'll Give You The Sun" thinking it would be similar. While the story lines are both coming of age LGBT stories, this one was much more difficult to read. It's incredibly written and easy to understand, but the descriptions of violence and abuse are very upsetting. Fortunately, the book ends well. And while the book is difficult to read, it's unfortunately an accurate representation of what some LGBT youth live with. If you can handle stories with violence and abuse, then this is worth a read.