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The Dangerous Art of Blending In

Written by: Angelo Surmelis
Narrated by: Michael Crouch
Length: 8 hrs and 9 mins
5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lambda Literary Award finalist for the best LGBT YA novel of 2018.

A raw, powerful, but ultimately uplifting debut novel perfect for fans of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe from debut author Angelo Surmelis.

Seventeen-year-old Evan Panos doesn't know where he fits in. His strict immigrant Greek mother refuses to see him as anything but a disappointment. His quiet, workaholic father is a staunch believer in avoiding any kind of conflict. And his best friend, Henry, has somehow become distractingly attractive over the summer. 

Tired, isolated, scared - Evan finds that his only escape is to draw in an abandoned monastery that feels as lonely as he is. And yes, he kissed one guy over the summer. But it's Henry who's now proving to be irresistible. Henry, who suddenly seems interested in being more than friends. And it's Henry who makes him believe that he deserves more than his mother's harsh words and terrifying abuse. 

But as things with Henry heat up, and his mother's abuse escalates, Evan has to decide how to find his voice in a world where he has survived so long by being silent. 

This is a powerful and revelatory coming-of-age novel based on the author's own childhood, about a boy who learns to step into his light. 

©2018 Angelo Surmelis (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Lovely but a little intense

The book is lovely, the romance is very nice. However there is a fair bit of child abuse that can be hard to listen to, especially when the actions are excused by many people with the power to change things

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • ZippyBippy
  • 2018-03-15

Truly Chilling Coming of Age Tale

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Yes. But, you have to have an ability to stomach some of the violence experienced by Ev. It can be hard to listen to and will make your blood boil.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

I was hoping for more time, on the other side of the violence experienced by our protagonist, to luxuriate in a happier ending. But, I still liked it.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved Ev's quiet/alone scenes in the monastery, and his doughnut scenes with his spineless, helpless, useless dad.

Could you see The Dangerous Art of Blending In being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

Hmm. I think either Ezra Miller or Timothée Chalamet would make an excellent Ev. And Ben Whishaw as Henry would be great.

Any additional comments?

Michael Crouch's narration was, at times, bone-chilling and really quite scary. He had me on the edge of my seat, especially while voicing the protagonist's Greek mother. I'm going to hear that voice in my head for a long, long time. It scared me.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 2018-04-08

A touching story

This story is a hard story. I wasn’t expecting some of what happened so trigger warning for domestic violence and anti LGBT themes and slang in the book. Although it is tough content it is so true and genuine feeling. You really live and walk with Evan through this story. You want the best for him and you ache and feel as he fights his way through his day.
This story is told beautifully and truthfully. There are such happy clear moments that you clutch into just like Evan clutches onto them. If you aren’t in a good place with your family or your identity I don’t know that I’d recommend this book-
It could be triggering - it could be reaffirming that you are valid and that others have gone through similar experiences. I know this is a review but I want y’all to be safe and not accidentally trigger yourself even though I love this book!
I do recommend the audiobook. Micheal Crouch is phenomenal and is my favorite narrator. He manages to differentiate all the characters so well without being caricatures - he also differentiates his characters from other stories which is amazing. He is so underrated and whenever he is narrating a book I know I’m in for a treat!

12 people found this helpful

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  • J
  • 2018-02-28

Narrator brings the story to life

I loved this. Michael Crouch has become one of my favorite narrators and this book proved just how skilled he is at his job. The accents he did in this book for the parents and for the other characters made each person distinct and recognizable. I also really loved the story. I wanted to protect the main character, and I liked that he found out what real love feels like.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ivan Ryan
  • 2018-10-09

I loved it.

It was pretty great from start to finish, I really loved how it keep me wanting to read more and more each time I had to stop for work, school, etc. The story really makes me feel warm inside, sparks an urge to tell my love how much he means to me.
Everything Michael Crouch narrates is gold.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Perry Riddle
  • 2018-04-19

A strong book, albeit often intense

I was worried after reading several negative reviews, but I immediately fell in love with the book. Evan was such a tortured but strong character, and Henry was the stereotypical knight in shining armor. While there were some intense scenes with Evan and his mother and some were a bit triggering, the conflict this set up was very powerful. I overall found the adults less well drawn and multidimensional besides Evan's mother. I kept pondering her childhood and if she was suffering from severe post-partem depression or a mental issue. in the end the story ended abruptly and was predictable to some degree, but it was a book that truly made me cheer for Evan and Henry and cheer for their future.

The narration was absolutely fantastic...one of the best I've experienced. The narrator's voices were nuanced and consistent and rang true to the author's intent. His reading of Evan was both tortured and hopeful and wonderfully vulnerable. His Henry was absolutely perfect: tender and playful when needed. All in all a very enjoyable book, but with some definite triggers for those who are sensitive to domestic abuse

1 person found this helpful

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  • LovellLibrarian
  • 2018-04-13

A wonderfully read story of self acceptance

What did you love best about The Dangerous Art of Blending In?

This was a really great story with an honest take on abuse, bigotry, love and self-acceptance. The love story portion of the story does not fix all of the main characters problems, but it does give him the strength to care more about himself and fight for what he needs.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Evan was a tortured character who you really root for and want to make things better for.

Which scene was your favorite?

This may sound crazy, but my favorite scenes dealt with the abuse Evan suffers from his mother. They were raw and honest.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several moving scenes but spoilers, sweetie.

Any additional comments?

Michael Crouch is an excellent narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • D-Rock
  • 2020-04-01

Emotionally Crippling and Hope Intertwined

A great story and one that emotionally hit hard. A must read. Glad I came across it.

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  • dxm327
  • 2020-03-27

A Great Listen

Great storyline. Very relatable to Evan’s struggles coming to terms about being gay especially super relatable about growing up in Greek household. Angelo Surmelis has done a great job and recommend this book.

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  • dontkickthebaby
  • 2019-09-16

Gripping from the very get-go

The narrator comes through with real anxiety, perhaps mixed with a tiny bit of hope, in voicing the main character. This tension -- anxiety vs. hope -- is present from the very first page. It will grab your attention. If your mind tends to wander during audiobooks, this book will be an exception. It is a well-written story; the author will tug at your emotions. This is especially true in scenes with the main character's mother, a terrifically drawn villain. I found myself despising her as she showed up for more and more scenes. Of course, the presence of such a villain really makes you root for the main character, and be drawn deep into the story. I'll listen to this one again. And again.

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  • Matt Garsha
  • 2019-09-01

Sad

Difficult to listen to. Sad. I need more closure! 😩 i could, however, relate to some parts.