Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Blog Tour: What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka

What I Want You to See

Catherine Linka


February 4, 2020

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Hardcover, eBook, audiobook

ARC from the publisher in exchange for a honest review

Book Summary:

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.

"Linka delivers intrigue, betrayal, and a feast for art lovers."―Mary McCoy, author of Printz Honor Book I, Claudia

*"Clear-sighted and heartbreakingly true, this is a genuine portrait of a girl in quiet crisis learning to see things as they are."―Booklist (starred review) 

"Tense, smart, and engaging . . . What I Want You to See is a stunning portrait of deception, artfully peeling back layers of secrets to reveal a meticulously crafted crime."
Elle Cosimano, award-winning author of Nearly Gone

"A messy, heartbreaking and very real journey of learning to let others see who you truly are."―Carrie Arcos, author of the National Book Award Finalist Out of Reach 

"A stunning page-turner that will tear your heart and paste it back together."
Kim Purcell, author of This is Not A Love Letter and Trafficked


My Thoughts:

I love the beautiful and artistic cover on What I Want You to See. Once I read the synopsis, I was intrigued, and knew this was a book I wanted to read.  What I Want You to See was a super fast read.  The chapters are short, and the writing flows effortlessly.  I love how the author gave just enough description of the setting, characters, and plot, that I could easily visualize everything, without being bored or making the narrative drag.

The story is told from college art student Sabine Reyes' point of view.  She is in her first year of college and attending the California Institute for the Visual Arts, after being awarded the prestigious Zoich Scholarship. We get the present, as well as flashback's in to Sabine's past, through memories, and her reflection on sketches that she previously created.  We learn of her painful, sad, and heartbreaking past.

Sabine has high hopes of becoming a famous painter one day, and learning from the renowned Professor Collin Krell, who also happens to be the department head.  However, Sabine quickly realizes that she will not get what she had hoped for from her professor.  During group critique he constantly humiliates Sabine and puts down her paintings.  Then Sabine meets Adam, Master's candidate and work study grunt.  He offers her a solution to her struggle with Krell. Is this the answer to her problem?  Can she trust Adam, or is he not who he appears to be?

What I Want You to See had a very important theme in it about not just looking at the surface of things, but delving much deeper, and looking past anger, hurt, and fear. We see it when Professor Krell is trying to teach Sabine about art, as well as when it comes to looking at the people you meet.  Many times our perceptions are blurred when we just take things and people at face value. 

Art has always been a passion of mine, and I took three years of it in high school. So I was completely enraptured as Sabine learned about light, reflective surfaces, color, texture, negative space, etc.  I could easily visualize her pencil and pastel drawings, as well as her paintings. 

I enjoyed getting to know the secondary cast, and Sabine's friends, Taysha and Kevin were wonderful characters, but my favorite was Mrs. Mednimov, Sabine's sweet, generous, and nurturing landlady. These three made up a surrogate family/support system for Sabine, and I enjoyed her interactions with all of them.  There was a light romance in the story, but the focus was the art, the mystery behind Adam and what takes place in the plot, and the overall message. 

There were some serious topics addressed in the story, such as death of a loved one, homelessness and poverty, as well as depression and suicide.  If you are an art lover, enjoy a suspenseful little mystery, light romance, and a fast-paced story that will keep you eagerly turning pages, I suggest you check out, What I Want You to See by Catherine Linka.

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About the Author:

Catherine Linka has been immersed in books her whole life, most recently as a writer and bookseller. She’s the author of the young adult novel WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE as well as the dystopian duology A GIRL CALLED FEARLESS and A GIRL UNDONECatherine lives in Southern California and watches hawks and hummingbirds when she should be writing. 


3 winners will win a signed finished copy of WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE, US Only.

Tour Schedule:
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  1. I was not surprised when you admitted to connecting to this one b/c of the art emphasis and your years of art classes in the past. You always make your site and posts so visually appealing and you have good visual description words in your reviews and posts.

    I love that this has a mystery to it and is also about the people around her. Neat how she has made a new family out of her friends and landlady even as she is dealing with loss and grief.

    1. Awww thanks Sophia! Your comment made my night :)

  2. That sounds like a good read. While I like to do crafts, I'm not good at art.

    1. It was good indeed, and I love crafts too Mary :)

  3. I do love the sound of this book. While I admire art I can't draw to save my life.😊

    1. It was a good read! Thanks for stopping by Nadene :)

  4. I love that this was fast paced even as it handled some tough issues. It does have a lovely cover too, I agree.

    1. I enjoyed how the story just flew by! Those are the best kind of reads :)

  5. This looks different and I love that it explores art and tackled tough issues. Fantastic review!

  6. Sounds like an exciting and original story! Glad to hear you enjoyed the art aspect and that it was a real page turner. My heart goes out to Sabine and all her trials! Fab review, Lindy! :)

  7. I am looking forward to reading this one because of the art connection and the depth of drama I feel the book has.Thank you for your blog and the review of the book. Definitely on my TBR.

    1. You're Welcome Debra :) I hope you get to read it soon!


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