(See the intro post for all the themes.)
Day 3 – A genre novel that’s underrated
There are really so many books that fall into this category that I could probably spend 30 days talking about nothing but underrated genre novels, one each day! But the one I’ll choose for today is going to be Ilsa J Bick’s Draw the Dark.
Though it has a bit of an awkward beginning, once you get past that part the story turns out to be incredibly fascinating. I’ve heard this one described as being King for teens, and that description isn’t wrong. It may be YA, but it’s dark, full of interesting mystery, good characterization, and a healthy dose of creepy supernatural elements. It’s a dark supernatural mystery, and it doesn’t pull punches when it comes to the mundane or the dark and fantastic.
The story is told in the first person, from the point of view of Christian, a troubled teen who has an uncanny ability to get a little too into his art, or his art gets a little too much into other people. There’s darkness in his mind and in what he paints, it occasionally affects people mentally, and he gets drawn into a decades-old mystery that involves a dying man, prejudice, and a secret that covers the entire town.
The cover art was what first grabbed me. Stark and creepy, with an almost chaotic feel to it, it made me curious right from the get-go. It was a great choice of art, very fitting, and if the point of cover art is to hook potential readers, well, I can safely say that it did its job with me!
Look up reviews on this book and you see them as being nearly all 4/5 or 5/5 ratings. Why, then, am I calling this book underrated? Well, perhaps underhyped might be a better term. While all the reviews seem to be good ones, there aren’t actually that many of them. I think a good many people would appreciate this one even if they aren’t typically fans of YA genre novels, but for some reason it seems to be overlooked, and I can’t quite fathom why. And for that reason I’m calling it underrated. I don’t think it gets the appreciation it deserves.
Trust me, it’s well worth the read if you can get a copy.