What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka is a book I was excited for since it promises crime and art—two elements I always love in a story. I enjoyed the way art is translated onto the page, but my love for the book pretty much ends there. I had a difficult time connecting with the main character, and there is not enough emphasis on the action of the art crime, making the story fall flat.Title: What I Want You to See
Author: Catherine Linka
Publication Date: February 4, 2020
Winning a scholarship to California’s most prestigious art school seems like a fairy tale ending to Sabine Reye’s awful senior year. After losing both her mother and her home, Sabine longs for a place where she belongs.
But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what Sabine had imagined. Colin Krell, the renowned faculty member whom she had hoped would mentor her, seems to take merciless delight in tearing down her best work—and warns her that she’ll lose the merit-based award if she doesn’t improve.
Desperate and humiliated, Sabine doesn’t know where to turn. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who understands better than anyone the pressures of art school. He even helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master’s work in progress, a portrait that’s sold for a million dollars sight unseen.
Sabine is enthralled by the portrait; within those swirling, colorful layers of paint is the key to winning her inscrutable teacher’s approval. Krell did advise her to improve her craft by copying a painting she connects with . . . but what would he think of Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece? And what should she do when she accidentally becomes party to a crime so well -plotted that no one knows about it but her?
Complex and utterly original, What I Want You to See is a gripping tale of deception, attraction, and moral ambiguity.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
Review: What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka
❀ A Talented Scholarship Student
This books follows Sabine, a talented scholarship student at a prestigious art school. Now given the opportunity to learn from a renowned artist, Sabine finds herself struggling in his class and willing to do anything to gain the approval of her professor. As her scholarship is threatened, she is offered a chance to improve her work and finds herself caught in the middle of an art crime. As someone who has little knowledge of art theory, I found this book very readable, and I actually learned a lot about the art world. The author also discusses social issues such as homelessness in the novel, adding some depth.
❀ Morally Grey Character
Sabine is a fine character but not my favourite. She experiences her fair share of hardship as she is forced to face life on her own, and her ability to persevere despite these hurdles is admirable. It is clear that she is passionate about art, and I liked seeing the world through her artistic lens. That being said, part of Sabine’s character is her moral dilemma, and she makes many poor decisions throughout the book. I understand the circumstances that would drive her to make these choices, but I had a difficult time connecting with her, largely because of this. It is interesting that the author has created a morally grey main character, however it didn’t work out for me.
The pacing is another aspect that I had trouble with. The book’s synopsis makes it sound so thrilling with its description of the perfect crime, but I didn’t find this one as exciting as I was expecting, and I wouldn’t necessarily classify it as a thriller. To me, it reads more as a contemporary with much of the plot focusing on Sabine’s experiences at school, and I found that not enough of the book talks about the actual crime. The pacing is quite slow until the end of the book, and I began to lose interest. As well, I didn’t feel like the stakes were high enough, and this also led to me getting bored.
What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka is a book with a lot of potential but not enough excitement. I enjoyed the original concept and the descriptions of art, however I couldn’t connect with the main character, and the plot fell flat for me. I would still recommend this to those looking for a book about art, however, as this is one of the redeeming aspects of the novel.