Art & Soul is a beautifully written story about two teenagers trying to navigate and survive adult situations. This story made me laugh, ugly cry and the end left me with a huge smile on my face.
Aria is an artist, she is used to being one of the oddities and enjoys going unnoticed in her high school. She has her art and her best friend, she doesn’t need or want anything else. Levi has been living in Alabama with his mother, but has just moved to Wisconsin to live with his dad. He is the opposite of Aria, when he walks into the room people notice him, they want to know him.
He was so beautiful that it was almost offensive. He looked like a whisper sounds. Sweet, gentle, and romantic. It was making me dizzy.
As the school starts Aria and Levi quickly learn that one decision can change your whole life, it can shape your future into something you no longer recognize. Aria is no longer the girl no one notices, she is the girl they are all talking about. Then there is Levi, has uprooted his whole life to try and understand why he and his dad no longer have the relationship they used to. He wants answers on what happened and to try to repair their broken relationship.
Levi immediately sees Aria. He sees that she is beautiful, unique and sad. He wants to know her, he wants to make her smile. Aria can’t help but notice Levi. The whole school sees Levi, so she can’t understand why he is only seeing her. She is closed off and afraid of getting to know him, but when they’re paired together for their Art & Soul project they are forced to get to know each other.
“Your personality is the complete opposite of your looks.”“I know that my personality is outstanding, so I’ll go ahead and pretend that you didn’t just call me ugly.”
As time goes on Levi and Aria develop a friendship and help each other through difficult times. There is so much character growth throughout the story and I absolutely loved watching them open up and accept comfort in each other.
Levi Myers is one of my most favorite characters I have ever read. He is selfless, loving, compassionate, and real. He isn’t perfect, but it just made me love him more. He is a child having to act like a parent. He is a teenage boy who sees past people’s differences to the heart of the matter. What I love the most, he is a teenage boy who sees past social norms and beats to his own drum.
He was the best kind of oxymoron. When I was with him I could be a sad kind of happy and be content with the feeling.
Aria is beautifully unique. She isn’t as mature as Levi, but throughout the story she really grew as a character. She is faced with one of the most difficult choices and she handles it with maturity and grace. While Levi stole my heart in the beginning, by the end, Aria owned it. She was completely selfless, giving and understanding. She was completely refreshing.
The world was often ugly and painful, filled with hate, sadness and despair. But Aria? She made sense in a senseless world.
“You understand that abstract art is standing out against the norm because it’s the only way abstract art knows how to stand. And you get so fucking happy because it’s so beautiful. And unique. And edgy. And…abstract.”
It is rare for me to love the side characters as much as the main, but Simon, Abigail, and even the parents added so much to the story. This story is full of heart and depth. Most importantly it is real life.
I loved Brittainy Cherry before I picked up this book. She wrote one of my favorite reads, Loving Mr. Daniels, so I couldn’t wait to read this story. I didn’t expect this story to move me like LMD, but it did. These stories are so different, but contain the same ingredients: heart and soul. This story moved me to tears multiple times, not just sad tears, but happy tears. That is crazy, I don’t usually cry happy tears in a book, but by the time I finished this story the characters were real to me.
There are not enough words to express how much I loved this story. I am sure Levi, the word master, would do a much better job. I will close with this. This is a story that I will read again and again, it is a story I never wanted to end, it is a story I hope everyone reads.
ARC kindly provided in exchange for an honest review.