Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Love and Vandalism by Laurie Boyle Crompton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: May 2017
Buy Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indiebound
He calls it fate. She calls it blackmail.
Rory has a secret: she’s the vandal who paints graffiti lions all over her small town. If her policeman dad knew, he’d probably disown her. So when Hayes, a former screw-up on the path to recovery, catches her in the act, Rory’s sure she’s busted. Instead, he makes her a deal. If Rory shows him around town, he won’t turn her in. It might be coercion, but at least the boy is hot.
As they spend more time together, Rory worries she made the wrong choice. Hayes has a way of making her want things she shouldn’t want and feel emotions she’s tried to bury. Rory’s going to have to distance herself from Hayes or confront a secret she can’t bring herself to face…
This is an engaging, emotive story of teenage angst and turmoil, rebellion and reconciliation, grief and loss, romance and family. Trying to issue warnings without giving spoilers away, the story does involve alcoholism, rape, graffiti, suicide, death, grief and different forms of rebellion. The two main characters have dramatic pasts which are seriously impacting both their attitudes and behaviours.
Rory is rebellious, determined to prove her independence, self reliance and that she’s in full control, even when she really isn’t. It is her way of coping with tragedies and has been for more than eighteen months. Hayes has revelled but is now living with the consequences and is determined to make the right choices, even when that is difficult. He’s recovering, but isn’t there yet. He is seriously attracted to Rory and her lions, even though he acknowledges she could be detrimental to him but he also wants to help her heal and to get to know her.
Their relationship is a real roller coaster ride, with so many twists and turns it feels in danger of derailing at times. As the story progresses, the reader discovers he reasons from their pasts which have influenced them both. The journey to a possible HEA has so many obstacles but love and art are the key. I have to say that Rory’s Mum’s constant strive for perfection and her messages are so focussed that I can understand why her Dad was so worried about Rory! The ending is a brilliant one, helping to show that love and friendships are key. I also thoroughly enjoyed the Narnia references!
I found this a very different, totally enthralling read and highly recommend it to adults as well as YA readers. I’ll certainly look out for more by his author in future!
I was gifted a copy of this book via NetGalley. This is my honest opinion after choosing to read it.
About the Author:
When she was 17, LAURIE BOYLE CROMPTON painted her first car hot pink using 40 cans of spray paint. This turned her into an overnight icon in Butler, PA. She now lives near NYC in Queens, but maintains a secret identity in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found tromping through the forest. Visit http://www.lboylecrompton.com
3 Finished copies of Love and Vandalism, provided by Sourcebooks Inc. US & Canada entries only!
Art for Art’s sake?
One of my favorite early reader reviews of LOVE AND VANDALISM pointed out that while many artist protagonists are seeking some form of recognition or reward for their work, Rory makes art because it a way of expressing herself. She is sharing her pain and grief and anger with the world in the form of her painted lions and has more of a deep creative urge than a simple desire to make a living as an artist. She gives her work to the world for free which is an exhilarating concept!
Art v Vandalism?
I think this goes back to that age-old question; “What is art?” The thing I like about public graffiti is the fact that there are no gatekeepers involved. If a work is included in a museum exhibit it is automatically considered art by most people. I’m certain some could make a case against any number of curated pieces, but if it’s in the MOMA it gets called art. On the other hand, when something is painted anonymously in a public space, it is up to the beholder to decide if the work is art or not. One person’s art is another person’s vandalism, but it’s nice to stop and consider someone’s creation. Even in the most disturbing, ugly graffiti there can be emotion involved which to me makes it a form of art.
Secrets Why Lions rule!
King of the Jungle, baby. King. THE LION KING is one of my favorite musicals and experiencing that opening sequence with all of the animals dancing up the aisles is absolutely life-changing. And I love the famous story of the lion cub named Christian who had to be released into the wild, but never forgot the two men who raised him. (Watch this video of their reunion if you need a good cry: https://youtu.be/d-2mpwfhtcA). Plus of course there is always Aslan from C.S. Lewis’ THE LION THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. Lions absolutely rule!