Take a contemporary San Francisco, add an undertone of classic Romeo and Juliet, some grit and viscera, and this story of two remarkable teens is the result.
Beatrix, 18, isn’t your average artist; she does anatomical studies and wants to attend school to become a medical illustrator. She feels her only chance is winning a scholarship by drawing from life—or rather death—a real cadaver. Bex is intensely focused, but then she meets Jack, and her focus expands. Jack is also an artist, notorious for his beautifully executed graffiti—and wanted by the police. Beatrix is intrigued by his wit, Buddhist beliefs, and “retro-rockabilly” looks. However, there’s a sorrowful secret in Jack’s family that, to Bex’s initial consternation, causes him to be mercurial. Their romance flourishes as understanding grows into a deepening respect for one another. When the relationship becomes sexual, they are careful to spend time tenderly discussing it first. Bex narrates in a trenchant past tense, her wit on display in both dialogue and exposition, and art becomes both a point of connection for the two lovers and their weapon. In the face of family opposition to their relationship, Beatrix and Jack strive to convey that art is meaningful and healing for both creator and beholder.
A thought-provoking exploration of art as an expression of love and pain. (Fiction. 14-18)