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Drawn by Chris Ledbetter


Product Description

Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron hopes he can win her heart through art. 

After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request. 

To impress Farrah, Cameron sketches her portrait into a mysterious sketchbook. He nearly jumps from his skin when the sketch moves and communicates with him. Farrah is now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her sucked her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book. If he fails… they both die.

14+ due to adult situations



I flip to a clean sheet. Heaven is a blank canvas.

Mr. Cassisi breaks the silence, pointing to my hand. “I see you are still showing off your master pencil tricks.”

I hadn’t even realized I’d been twirling the pencil around my thumb. A little trick Mom taught me, before her death. I turn away and close my eyes for a moment.

Mr. Cassisi snaps my attention back to the present. “So, my young Caravaggio, what is it on that mind of yours?”

“I prefer Da Vinci.”

“Of course you do.” He smiles warmly, acknowledging our long-running joke, and sits on a nearby stool. “Big shoes, my friend.”

I sigh. “See, I’m trying to impress this girl at school by drawing a portrait of her, but I want it to be, like, really realistic, you know? So I wanted some advanced pointers beyond the normal instruction you give. I want the good stuff you learned back in Italy.”

“When is she going to sit for it?”

“She’s not. I’m going to use a yearbook picture––”

“Hmmm, that is not stalking at all, is it now?” He coughs loudly.

“You all right?”

“Just my annual cold when the weather changes over. I can almost tell time by how reliable it is.” He coughs again into a paper towel, looks at the towel, and then crumples it up to throw it away. He returns his attention to me. The lines in his face are more severe. “Son, if there is one thing I have learned in these eighty years, it is this: If you like the girl, tell her. That is the only damn thing YOLO is good for, you hear me? The greatest deceit this life delivers is the belief that you have time.”

My gaze falls to the floor, and then shifts toward the cawing seagulls at the window. “She has a boyfriend.”

Mr. Cassisi rubs his scruffy face. “If the girl is worth having, then you can’t be surprised if she is taken. He is a boyfriend, not a husband. That is what high school is all about. Ahhh, young love … that means you have to fight a little harder, yes? And not with these.” He shakes his wrinkled fist at me. “The pencil is mightier than the fist.” His subsequent chuckle resonates from deep within his chest as he walks behind the counter. “Keep talking. I’m listening.”

“Anyway, so I thought I’d try to get her attention through art.”

Mr. Cassisi reappears from behind the counter, pressing his fingers to his thumb and kissing the tips before gesturing his hand in the air. “There is no greater pursuit in life than the pursuit of art, yes?” He loops his smock over his head. “Now, let us begin.”

“Wait, why are you wearing a smock? We’re not painting.”

“It is all about process. I put on the smock. I am all business.” He grabs the pencil from my hand. “Now, you have the chops already, yes? I have seen your work. It is not the technical things. You want advanced technique? Here is the thing about portraits. With portraits…” He taps the tip of his pruned finger against the center of my chest. “You must draw from there.”

My sternum bone hums and vibrates like he tapped a tuning fork. He shifts his weight from foot to foot as he sketches a portrait of his late wife. From memory. It takes him all of five or six minutes. Maybe less. His process enthralls me. A pencil in his hand may as well be a magic wand. I’m rapt. When he’s finished, her picture appears to hover right above the paper.

“Mr. Cassisi, that’s amazing,” I say. “Those fingers still have the juice.”

His voice thins. “Sometimes I hear a mysterious voice over the ocean, when the beach is empty. She speaks to me, still. Her whispers carry atop the waves.” He stares at the picture for a moment. “Amore mia … musa mia.” He reaches a finger toward the face, almost like he’s going to stroke her cheek. A single tear forms at the corner of his eye. “You must infuse the portrait with passion. Then and only then will she come alive on the page.”

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Product Reviews

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  1. With a unique plot, believable characters, and a story line that flows quickly from page one 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Jul 2015

    I was itching to read a good YA novel that was different and entertaining. Drawn by Chris Ledbetter was just that and more! Ledbetter was able to write a contemporary fiction novel with fantasy elements taken from and mixed with the art world. Picture A-ha's 1985's innovative music video of Take On Me, with its mix of real-life and pencil-sketch animated characters. That was so cool! And in turn I found Drawn to be just as unique and different from any YA book I've read. In many ways, this novel took me back to my high school years, when I first fell in love and drawing was one of my hobbies.

    Cameron has a crush on Farrah. He also likes to draw, is an avid gamer and is your average teen boy. Seems pretty typical one might think, but it's not. Cameron also lost his mom to cancer a year ago, has a close relationship with his Dad and has an old Italian artist as his mentor. This is a kid who is still hurting and drawing helps him cope. When he is given an old sketch book and decides to draw Farrah in it, everything changes. Farrah comes alive in the sketch and Cameron discovers she's now part of Terra Sempre, a Renaissance world drawn somewhere beyond the pages of the sketchbook. And if he doesn't get her out, the Farrah in his world will die.

    What an imaginative world! With a unique plot, believable characters, and a story line that flows quickly from page one, Drawn takes you on an adventure that will make you happily escape into a world of art and Italian history. I was hooked from the very beginning. Cameron is a great character. I liked him very much and wondered how he was going to get out of his predicament. The story is never predictable, but a fun and fast read. I also liked that Cameron is African-American and Ledbetter adds diversity in his novel by including an interracial romantic relationship which is lacking in today's teen novels.

    Drawn has a satisfying ending but it did leave room for a sequel. When I asked the author about this, I was thrilled to find out that he is currently working on the second book. Of course, I simply can't wait to read it! Drawn has made it on my list of best YA novels read in 2015. I look forward to revisiting Terra Sempre and escaping into what I consider a "very cool" novel.

  2. Drawn. Be careful that you aren’t drawn in too deeply with no way of getting out. 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Jul 2015

    I’m pretty sure that when you begin reading Drawn, you are immediately taken back to your high school years. The years of competition, class schedules, sports and first loves. Or the possibility of just wanting to know how to get to know someone a little bit more and see where it goes from there. Such is the case for Cameron. He finds that Farrah has caught his eye and truly hopes that just maybe she will be interested as well. Sharing the same Journalism/Newspaper course provides Cameron with the opportunity to showcase his artistic abilities and empress Farrah, the head of the newspaper.

    Just when Cameron believes that things may be going his way for the better, there is a huge turn of events in the novel. No longer is Cameron looking at Farrah as just a friend, but now a friend that is in danger and only he has the power to save her from that great danger she is now in. A power that is lead by the stroke of Cameron’s pen on paper.

    Originality, is the first word that comes to mind with this debut young adult novel. I never saw what was coming, until it hit me and there was no question that I had to continue on to see where Mr. Ledbetter was taking his readers. The major change of events and twists throughout the novel create a powerhouse atmosphere of adventure. Great character development and descriptions, along with the vibrant description of the over setting throughout the novel brings the storyline to life through a full circle of excitement. Readers are in for a treat with the mixture of realistic fiction and fantasy all twisted into one. It will surely be hard to put it down once you get started. Drawn. Be careful that you aren’t drawn in too deeply with no way of getting out. {Deitre}

  3. Amazing YA 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 13th Jul 2015

    “Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.”

    ----Oscar Wilde

    Chris Ledbetter, an American YA author, pens an intriguing contemporary YA story, Drawn, that centers around a young artist and his magical sketchbook which finally pulls him into a thrilling adventure to find the girl of his dreams.


    Caught between the sweltering fall landscape of Wilmington, NC beaches and southern illusions and expectations, all sixteen year-old Cameron Shade thinks about is art. That, and for Farrah Spangled to view him as more than just a friend. Cameron longs to win her heart through art.

    After several warm interactions with Farrah, including painting together at the beach, Cameron discovers just how complex Farrah’s life is with her boyfriend and her family. Following a tense run-in with Farrah’s father, she forbids Cameron to ever speak to her again, but Cameron’s convinced there’s more behind the request.

    To impress Farrah with a last-ditch effort, Cameron sketches her portrait. But the sketchbook he uses hides a dark secret. Farrah’s now in grave danger because the sketch he drew of her siphons her real-life’s soul into the sketchbook. Cameron now has twenty days to extract Farrah. To save her, he must draw himself into the book.

    If he fails… they both die.

    The story opens with Cameron, who is a 16year old high school student, having a crush on his school newspaper editor, named, Farrah Spangled, who is actually a third year journalism student and her boyfriend is on the football team of the school. But on a family expedition that turned out badly between Cameron and Farrah's father, results Farrah to make a decision to stop talking to him forever at school. Marco Cassisi, is Cameron's artist friend, who after his death leaves a sketchbook for him, that has only one warning to draw things not human life. Frustrated with Farrah's decision, Cameron decides to draw her portrait to make things right between them, unfortunately, his painting comes to life with Farrah's soul forever trapped into the sketch book's magical world, Terra Semper, that leads Cameron to draw his self-portrait to save Farrah. Will he be able to do that? Can he, being an avid gamer, use his gaming skills to go on an unknown adventure to save Farrah?

    Okay, honestly, I was sucked into the story right from the very first moment. The writing style of the author is engaging and the plot has been layered with suspense and action to keep the readers on their edges. The prose is fantastic and articulate with a fast pace. The narrative is interesting and catchy layered with mystery as well as emotions and thoroughly intense and funny at times. Then, not to mention about that compelling book cover, that just like the book title, draws into the reader's attention inside the book.

    Terra Semper, the magical world inside the sketchbook is strongly and strikingly portrayed by the author. Everything in this mystifying world is run by a stylus and some ink and humans are immortal. The picture drawn by the author of this world with tiniest of tiny details are carefully laid out by the author, thus making the readers connect with the fantasy world. There is also a world based on video games, that the author initially features in the storyline, that reveals it's importance later into the plot when things get bit messy and out of control in that fantasy world.

    The characterization is also nice but not brilliant, especially the main ones, Cameron and Farrah. Despite Cameron being a boy, and I, being a female reader, could connect with his problems related to his parents and his wish to be a fantastic artist some day. Cameron is a fun guy who lead the story very well with lots of drama, action and romance. He and his friends from the video games world are perfect fit to the story, as they are all distinct and have something unique from one another another, that lets them stand out. On the other hand, Farrah, I didn't like her that much because at times she annoyed me with her attitude, but in the end, the author represented her as a young girl who braved all the domination from her family and her boyfriend to fulfill her desires. Overall, I must say that the characters are all portrayed with a bit of complexity among them to add depth and interest in their demeanor.

    The chemistry is very strong and has been sweetly featured by the author. Farrah and Cameron's romance is filled with passion, desire and lots of cuteness, that makes the readers feel for them, especially through Cameron, to root for the love of his life.

    In that strange, magical world, there are lots to hold onto, like the European artists and their paintings which the author have vividly depicted and the rivalry among the artists which makes the world even for interesting.

    Verdict: A must-read YA novel of this year.

  4. BTS Book Reviews 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 3rd Jul 2015

    Stunning! Each word was vividly woven together, creating a brilliant read. Drawn truly comes to life, each character jumps off the page. Drawn by Chris Ledbetter delves into the thoughts and feelings of teenage Cameron. His male voice shines through in his love to Farrah, his father, friends how he missed his mom and respect for his art mentor. Mr. Cassisi, who wisely tells Cameron "The greatest deceit this life delivers is the belief you have time." An that sets the tone for the rest of this novel. Art is a huge theme throughout, and the way the author clearly weaves fantasy and real-life scenarios is simply amazing. I couldn't stop reading this once I picked it up. Filled with tender moments, hard decisions Cameron has to make. Drawn was original every step of the way! YA lovers, look no further for your next read!

  5. Great first book 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 24th Jun 2015

    Enjoyed this story a lot!! Very creative premise and wonderful visualizations from the descriptions of people and places. Great first book by Christopher Ledbetter, can't wait for the sequel to see where the story leads next.

  6. One of the Most Unique Reads Ever! 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 19th Jun 2015

    DRAWN is one of the most unique books I've ever read, and that's saying a lot because I read constantly. The plot keeps the pages turning and the main characters, Cameron and Farrah, are worth rooting for.

  7. Good Book 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 19th Jun 2015

    I was really intrigued by the cover of Drawn, and that was what made me want to pick it up first. When I started reading, I was immediately sucked into the three different worlds (in a way) that made up this story. The book held my attention from the first page until the last page. It was a little slow in the beginning, but definitely picked up it's pace as the story moved along.

    The three different worlds in this book would be the real world, the gaming world, and the sketch book world. I thought it was interesting complex way to write the book, but it worked for me. I was won over by this fantastic world that the author has thought up.

    I really enjoyed getting to know Farrah, she had times irritated me with what she said or did, but overall I though she was a really great character. Cameron was also pretty cool, but he was super nice... which don't get me wrong, isn't a bad thing... but I definitely like guys who have a little mystery or intrigue about them. Although, I did think Cameron and Farrah were an awesome couple.

    I want to mention that I was very disappointed when I had to put the book down because it was over. I wasn't ready to part from Farrah and Cameron, I wanted to continue reading. For the most part this book was amazing, I just had some issues with the pace and Cameron as a character.

    I would definitely recommend this book.

    *Note: I received this book free to read in exchange for an honest review.

  8. An Enthralling Romantic Fantasy! 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 18th Jun 2015

    In "Drawn" Chris Ledbetter blends fantasy, romance and adventure with the artistic swirl of a pen in the magic pages of an old sketchbook. The story begins at Seaview High School where a sixteen year old talented artist, Cameron Shade has a crush on Farrah Spangled a third year journalism student and editor of the newspaper whose boyfriend is a football jock. In emotional turmoil after a painting excursion and with a complicated family life , Farah hurts Cameron with her decision to stop speaking to him at school.

    After the death of his friend and art teacher Marco Cassisi, Cameron is willed an ancient book; the pages blank and a cryptic note inside advising him to draw things not people. Frustrated with Farrah's thoughtlessness Cameron throws caution to the wind and sketches her picture on a blank page in the book. When the girl in the portrait comes alive and he realizes Farrah's soul is in danger an adventure begins that has Cameron drawing a self-portrait so he can enter the unreality of Terra Semper. Enlisting the aid of his gaming teammates he knows he only has twenty days to reclaim her before she becomes a part of the Italian Renaissance landscape forever.

    The story is fast-paced, quickly heating up in intensity and suspense when Echo the personification of Farrah disappears and Alphateam- Cameron (aka Whiplash), Goulash and Reaper- join forces to return her soul to the real world. With detailed description Chris Ledbetter weaves a surreal and imaginative setting where Immortalibus and Imitatus - sketched images - become real and sustain their likeness after drinking a concoction of ink. In a roller coaster of twists and turns the action never stops, keeping the reader enthralled from the first page to the last. In this innovative and magical tale the sense of loss, hopelessness and mounting violence is diluted by the romance, friendship and self-sacrifice of its engaging and complex characters.

    Cameron Shade haunted by the loss of his mother and art teacher is often "drunk on sadness" and guilt-ridden especially after Farrah becomes ill. He's a gifted artist, talented gamer, dependable and empathetic. In contrast his friend Jameson Scott is a friendly, sarcastic, but loyal friend while Chace Scott is a rich, conceited, self-absorbed and controlling jock. Farrah Spangled is the confused and angry object of Cameron's affections. Although she cares for him, her life is dominated by her boyfriend and her family's interests. All these characters add passion, power and drama to a captivating and innovative story.

    I thoroughly enjoyed "Drawn" by Chris Ledbetter a novel that's reminiscent of Amanda Sun's book "Ink" with its artistic drawings that come alive . It's well-worth reading.

  9. "Drawn" by Chris Ledbetter 5 Star Review

    Posted by on 18th Jun 2015

    After reading "Drawn" by Chris Ledbetter, the one word that best describes my impression of this novel is CAPTIVATING. It took me on an exciting adventure that left me thinking, "Wow! Well done." The manner in which the author was able to clearly define his setting, characters, scenes, conflicts, relationships, plot, and ultimate outcome was amazing to me. I did not have to struggle to understand the structure of this novel nor its meaning. It played like a movie in my mind. It is obvious to me, and apparently others, that the author has a gift for novel writing.

  10. Interesting Italian Fantasy 4 Star Review

    Posted by on 18th Jun 2015

    In Drawn, by Chris Ledbetter, Cameron has a crush on Farrah. The main problem is that she already has a boyfriend…and she can never seem to remember his name. Hoping to secure her admiration, Cameron sketches her portrait on an ancient-looking sketchbook he inherited from his art mentor, a book that contains obvious warnings not to sketch people in it. Cameron’s world turns upside down when the drawing blinks and smiles up at him.

    I have heard of books about people’s drawings coming to life in which the sketches walk around in the real worl. But Drawn takes the idea to a different dimension by making all things drawn into the book come to life in an entire world contained within the book. It was intriguing to learn about this new world in which everything is possible with a stylus and some ink and where humans live immortal lives.

    Cameron had a team he played video games with. At first, I wondered why the author was spending so much time on their friendships. But the novel soon revealed that even that friendship played a role in Cameron’s fight to bring Farrah back to the real world.

    I enjoyed the appearance of several famous artists in Drawn. It made me smile to see their rivalry. The appearance of mythical creatures was also interesting. It demonstrated the unending possibilities of the world within the sketchbook.

    One thing in Cameron and Farrah’s relationship made me wonder. They spent some time apart in which Farrah learns that it is Cameron’s fault she is in danger. Then, when they meet again, they are both very determined never to be separated and to date no matter what. What changed? They were not able to communicate yet Farrah is willing to risk all to be with the one who put her in danger then rescued her from it? Perhaps it is just me, but it did not entirely make sense.

    Overall, Drawn is a good story. I would read it again if need be.

    I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Showing reviews 1-10 of 22 | Next

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