Sirens & Muses by Antonia Angress is such a nuanced and hopeful study of art, human nature, and love. The writing style is simplistic yet picturesque, and both the characters and their lives are so interesting to read about.
This book is a fantastic examination of the art world during the Great Recession, as well as an immersive experience for those not particularly knowledgeable about the art world, and comforting for those who are. So much of it is explores the questions we're forced to ask ourselves as artists—what makes something art? How much of your art is really yours? Does that even matter? What makes art such an appealing path, and why is it so lonely and brutal?
I appreciated how the characters are incredibly flawed and the author gives us reason to dislike them (the best of them are selfish, disloyal, weak-willed and vain), but yet it is so hard to hate them. I think we often are inclined to either love or hate a character, but these characters force you to look at them through an incredibly nuanced lens.
It felt like I was going through life with these characters, and I loved it, though I could see how people who are more action and plot-focused could find it boring.
I also think this book might be the best executed multiple point-of-view (POV) book I've read. The way that the characters circle each other for months and acknowledge each other's lives—often wrongly—made the book that much more appealing and gripping. I found every point of view interesting, and I'm excited to see what Antonia Angress writes next.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of 5
Written by Ellie Thai, member of Canton Public Library's Teen Leadership Council.