The saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover,” must have been first said by a book reviewer. Since I’ve started to review advanced copies of books, I’ve been surprised more often than not that the story I thought I was going to read is quite a bit different than the story actually is. I’m still in the process of learning that lesson, though. ;)
The official description of Drawn is this:
Take a journey into the gritty world of political espionage through the eyes – and lies – of one extraordinary girl. A wholly original tale of friendship and betrayal.
Sasha has a secret – that she can make you spill your secret with nothing more than a question. Her strange gift makes her a burden to her foster family and a total freak of nature. Not that Sasha cares. Why should she when no one cares about her?
Then the CIA knocks on her door. They want to give Sasha a new identity and drop her into a foreign country to infiltrate a ring of zealous graffiti terrorists. They want to give Sasha something to care about.
To survive a world where no one is who they seem, Sasha needs to make people trust her. But when that trust blossoms into love, Sasha is forced to decide between duty and friendship, between her mind and her heart, and whether to tell the truth or keep her secrets.
I wouldn't have guessed that based on this cover! It is about friendship, lies and partial truths, the CIA, a Banksy-type character named Kid Aert, and a girl with a mutant ability to make people tell the truth if they hear her voice. Drawn is about all of this.
But to summarize it as only those things misses the mark. The authoress, Cecilia Gray, dug much deeper to address what is in the psyche of a person who has been abandoned by parental figures multiple times at such critical points in life--when her brain is forming relational patterns--and how that affects her relationships with everyone.
Sasha constantly blames others for giving up on her. Her voice is difficult to be around because it makes people say exactly what is on their mind (and those are generally less than flattering things), so people naturally gravitate away from her. Rather than risking being rejected again, she pushes potential friends away.
Though her voice is bad for keeping relationships, it is useful for obtaining information for the CIA. Sasha has been working for the government since her gift was discovered as a young child. She has worked as a tool of the government her whole life, and her relationship with adults is based solely on her value as a tool. She places her entire worth as a human in her ability to do her job for the government. Because she feels used, she justifies using others. And she manipulates her friends into helping her accomplish her job.
Sasha is a pretty well-developed character and has legitimate inner-conflicts. The author did a great job thinking through the effects that treating people as less than human will have. She shows a lot of patterns that a girl who has been trafficked, abused, or abandoned would have. Plot-wise, however, it was a little too farfetched for me. No matter what fictional world is created, all worlds have to abide by the law of Allowed Amount of Coincidences. I wouldn’t recommend this book because it breaks the law.
Note: I received a free e-copy of this for review, but that didn't affect my honest opinion here.