My history with the New Adult genre is not a happy one. I've never given one in this genre a rating higher than three stars (and many of them would get a lower rating had I read them today and not a year or so ago). And to me, three stars means I just liked it, it wasn't special, just a decent read. Even then, the majority of the New Adult novels I've read have been hauntingly bad. Often I then wonder why I bother to read of misogynic males, slut-shaming females, and sexist subjects. The answer is actually rather simple. I read New Adult in hope of finding books like The Art of Love.
Being a new adult (18-25 years) is about more than sex. It's more than falling in lust and being naïve enough to believe it is real love and will last a lifetime. Being a new adult is about living on your own for the first time. It's about realizing the person you thought your time in school shaped you into being isn't you, not really. To put it simple, being a new adult is about exploring the world on your own for the very first time, and all good and bad that comes with that. And this is what The Art of Love is about.
I know, the name might make it sound different. And yes, this is a story of romance, but there is so much more than that. It's the story of Marina who escapes her abusive father by running away to New York City, a whole new world for this sheltered young woman. Here Marina forms new bonds of friendship, experiences the thrill of a first love interest, and what it means to be herself for once. She must earn her own money, find her way through a city that most people will find intimidating and crazy. And while she does this there is the looming threat of her father finding her as he begins a national campaign claiming his daughter has been kidnapped.
I’d chosen New York because it would be the easiest city in the world to get lost in, to become consumed by. I wanted to merge with the crowds and become another face you could pass by once in your life and never see again. I wanted to become invisible. If I could manage that then everything would be okay. It had to be.
Marina is such a wonderful protagonist, adorable and someone easy to connect to. She's adorable because it's obvious she has no idea what she's doing whether it's with her running away, her new interests in the performing artist Fitz or her place in this new strange place. It's refreshing to read about someone who truly behaves as a young woman on her way to self-discovery, and one that is open to new experiences, such as young people are. If anything, it's the characters that makes The Art of Lovesuch a wonderful read. Our dear Fitz, the kind of struggling artists trying to make it on his own rather than cashing in on his family name. His half brother, Derek, who do drag-performances in the most fashionable way. And Viridian, Marina's only confidant of the female sex. All of these characters are well-rounded with their own struggles and get their fair share of attention.
The story might focus on Marina and Fitz developing relationship there's a great balance between the romance and other parts, such as the friendships, the family secrets, and Marina's self-discovery. Laced with sharp and great writing, Anne Whitney has drafted quite the story that stands out among the other New Adult titles. This will entice readers fond of romance as well as those tired of this theme in New Adult. Because Fitz is, I'll say it, the best male I've ever come across in this genre, and I do not say that lightly. Together, this mix of romance, secrets, friendship, self-discovery, and art takes the reader on an enticing ride.