Original and refreshing with unexpected twists, Savarna Yang
Draw Me a Hero
N K Ashworth
July 06, 2021
Jane Dawson’s life is boring. Predictable. Well that’s what she thinks until the day a mysterious boy called Bailey Summer walks in to her life (and by walks, I mean literally strolls into her kitchen uninvited and asks for a bottle of milk).
They get off to a rocky start but then slowly become friends when, completely out of the blue, Bailey suggests they create a graphic novel. She can be the artist and he’ll be the writer. As she loves drawing and Bailey doesn’t really give her the option of saying no. Jane finds herself the illustrator of his comic book. The only thing is, it’s not very comical. His graphic world is a savage and disturbing place and as Jane says, ‘a million light-years away from the cocoon of my own boring and predictable existence.’
As she grows closer to Bailey she must ask herself whether she can actually trust him. Who is he really?
N K Ashworth’s Draw Me a Hero is an emotional story that is both heart-rending and hilarious by turns. One moment you’ll be misty-eyed and the next you’ll be laughing out loud.
With lots of unexpected twists, I was kept wanting more. While the main part of the plot focuses on Jane and Bailey, there are a few side stories too, including the relationship between Jane and her sister Madeleine (or, as Jane likes to call her, Mad). At the start of the book Jane sees Mad as her rival and feels as though her mum is always going to compare Jane to Mad. But then she finds out that Mad is unwell and realises things have to change. ‘Mad resembled a victim from Belsen – one of those horrifying Nazi concentration camps we learnt about in history.’
I loved the cover on Draw Me a Hero and for me it just seemed to really reflect Jane’s character and personality. She’s cool and quirky but also funny and a very relatable character on the whole: ‘There is a superhero standing in our kitchen doorway. I’ve spent the morning drawing him and now he’s come to life…complete with a long grey trench coat, blue jeans, red converse and a white tee. Seriously cute.’
On the other hand, Bailey is quite an intriguing and secretive character and he actually creeped me out at the start!
‘“Madeleine was worried about all the time I’m spending with you.’ He gives me a devilish grin and adds, ‘For some reason she didn’t trust me.”’
“So how exactly did you put my sister’s mind at rest?”
He tilts his head slightly and looks across at me, almost as if he is sizing me up. A shadow falls across his face. But his only comment is: “That’s for me to know and you to wonder…”’
However, as you read on you see the vulnerable side of his character and he becomes much easier to relate to. The language and tone of Ashworth’s writing is easy to relate to as well; colloquial and relaxed.
Draw Me a Hero isn’t a long book – you could probably read it in one sitting – but in its few pages it really packs a punch. At first I was worried it was going to be a clichéd ‘first crush’ classic but I definitely got proven wrong! It’s original and refreshing and I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for something a little different. I think this is a book that you could read over and over again and each time take something new away from it. It’s one of five finalists in the young adult section of the New Zealand Book Awards.
- Savarna is 13 years old and lives near Dunedin.