Cover image for What I want you to see
Title:
What I want you to see
ISBN:
9781368027557
Edition:
1st ed.
Physical Description:
373 pages ; 22 cm.
Summary:
When Sabine Reye wins a scholarship to California's most prestigious art school, she longs for a place where she belongs. But the cutthroat world of visual arts is nothing like what she had imagined. Faculty member Colin Krell 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. Adam, a grad student, helps Sabine get insight on Krell by showing her the modern master's work in progress, a portrait that has sold for a million dollars sight unseen. Enthralled by the work, Sabine secretly painting her own version of his masterpiece-- and becomes party to a crime so well-plotted that no one knows about it but her. --
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Summary

Summary

A college freshman is swept into shaky moral territory within the cut-throat world of visual arts in this razor-sharp novel.

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.


Author Notes

Catherine Linka is the author of A Girl Called Fearless, an Indie Next Pick and winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award, and its sequel, A Girl Undone. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Visit her online at www.catherinelinka.com or on Twitter @cblinka.


Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--After the death of her mother, Sabine, winner of a coveted full scholarship, is a first-year student at a prestigious California art school, and very attuned to the anxieties and posturing around her. Krell, her potential mentor, has just completed a portrait which sold for a million dollars unseen, but criticizes Sabine's technically impeccable but "light" work. Adam, an older grad student who doubles as nighttime maintenance, convinces her that Krell is a misogynist and didn't support Sabine winning the scholarship. Her anger and vulnerability activated, the two begin a secret, unethical pact for Sabine to study Krell's concealed painting at night. The writing glides effortlessly between the short, fast-paced chapters and interspersed contemplative verbal "sketches" that reveal the layer of pain beneath Sabine's tough exterior. The gripping plot moves within romance and mystery, hovering its lens on Sabine as a painter. Scenes focusing on art slow readers down, but the plot surprises with twists and turns. The austere beauty of the southern California landscape, the contemporary art scene, art school competition, fumbling, and surviving all play a role, as do the dire economic woes and pressures (or lack) of parental support. VERDICT Will surely spark deep discussions around contemporary art and the economic pressures of attending art school.--Sara Lissa Paulson, City-As-School High School, New York City


Publisher's Weekly Review

After her mother's death in the spring, Sabine Reyes looks forward to starting the fall semester at a prestigious SoCal art school, which has granted her a coveted scholarship. Once there, though, she struggles in a painting class taught by prickly, allegedly sexist artist Collin Krell, who makes an example of her work and suggests that it's not up to the school's standards. Solitary, underresourced, and desperate to hold onto her merit-based scholarship, she turns to graduate student Adam, who gives Sabine access to Krell's private studio, where she sees his masterpiece in progress. As she struggles with the effects of homelessness and poverty, recalling the time she spent living in her car after her mother died, and frequently nicking supplies from the art store where she works, Sabine grows tangled in a web of deceit and a carefully crafted crime. As Sabine estranges herself from everything she cares about, Linka (A Clawed and Feathered Spell) details her protagonist's realistic decision-making while offering robust supporting characters who make every plot twist believable. Through Sabine's first-person narrative, interspersed with "sketches" of her previous life, Linka crafts a unique story, both a twisty thriller and an indictment of education's high cost and the risks taken in pursuit of a dream. Ages 14--up. Agent: Sarah Davies, Greenhouse Literary. (Feb.)


Kirkus Review

A nave art student gets entangled in a web of lies, forgery, and manipulation. Sabine Reyes is a talented new student at the California Institute for the Visual Arts whose isolation and homelessness after her mother's recent death set her apart from other students. As the recipient of a prestigious merit-based scholarship, Sabine continually needs to prove her worth, especially to renowned faculty member Collin Krell, whose harsh critiques leave her angry and humiliated before her peers. If Sabine loses the scholarship, she stands to lose her place at the school, her room (she had been sleeping in her car), and her shot at becoming someone. When Adam, a grad student who seems to truly understand her, presents Sabine with a way of getting insight on Krell's own art by secretly studying his work in progress, she takes the chance, not realizing the dangerous path she is about to embark on. Linka (A Girl Undone, 2015, etc.) expertly weaves a story that is both a slow-burning thriller about the world of art and a study on how a traumatized, vulnerable girl is led to commit a crime and make numerous mistakes. What it means to truly see is present as a recurring theme in terms of understanding not only art itself, but also self-expression and interaction with others and the world. Main characters are white; Sabine's absent father is not described.An engrossing novel about art, self-expression, and making amends. (Thriller. 14-adult) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

Sabine Reyes knows rock bottom. After her mother died suddenly, Sabine spent much of her senior year living out of her car. Landing a scholarship to CALINVA, a prestigious California art school, means that she's finally able to take a breath. But she still feels like she's waiting for the other shoe to drop, especially when Collin Krell, her painting professor, has nothing but brutal criticism for her work. In real danger of losing her scholarship, Sabine struggles to find a way to impress Krell. When a magnetic grad student who cleans Krell's studio shows her Krell's newest portrait, which has created huge buzz in the art world despite being kept under lock and key, Sabine secretly copies it, determined to learn from him one way or another. But when Sabine inadvertently finds herself caught up in a crime, she'll have to decide whether or not to speak out even if it means losing everything. Linka (A Girl Called Fearless, 2014) balances multiple plot threads with unusual grace; the crime story line, while it propels the narrative, never overwhelms Sabine's artistic journey, the grief she's still processing, or the difficulties she faced while homeless and the connection she feels to the homeless community now. Clear-sighted and heartbreakingly true, this is a genuine portrait of a girl in quiet crisis learning to see things as they are.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist