Drawn That Way

Elissa Sussman

Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers

Published 28 September 2021



As a fan of animated movies, Drawn That Way was a wonderful and fun insight into the magical and flawed world of animation. This is a delightful YA realistic novel that sucked me into the story and was just such a pleasure to read. You know how some books just make you smile? That’s this book. But along with the fun, flirtations, friendship and kissing, there are some powerful messages about challenging the racist, sexist systems, girl power and standing up for what you know is right.

Hayley Saffitz knows her future lies in the world of animation. The chance to spend the summer at an exclusive internship program with her idol and Oscar winning animator Bryan Beckett is everything she ever dreamed of and the chance to prove to everyone just how serious she is about animation. But when Hayley is overlooked for one of the director positions and Bryan’s son is given one of the direct positions without even presenting a finished pitch, Hayley realises the world of animation is biased. Determined to prove to herself – and the sexist men- that she deserves her chance, Hayley teams up with the other girls in the program to create their own short.

You can tell the author has experience working in the world of animated movies. While I have no experience and rally couldn’t tell you if the details are right, the whole thing feels authentic and realistic.


I so enjoyed Hayley as a character. She is determined and knows how good she is and that she deserves a shot. Sometimes this comes across as brash and rude, but she learns from this and begins to balance her confidence and self belief with being a good friend. I love the message that it’s okay to be this self confident, to truly believe in your abilities. It’s something we often lack in YA fiction and it’s refreshing. I can’t wait to share Hayley and her story with my high school readers.

Yes, this book has some romance in it. Swoony kissing scenes and a lovely connection between Hayley and Bear. It was a little unexpected, as despite idolising his dad, Hayley hates Bear right from the start and despises him for the privileged that he doesn’t seem to care about. Despite trying to ignore him, during a few moments where they connect and as Hayley starts to understand Bryan better and how that must have impacted Bear growing up, Hayley starts to learn who Bear really is – and she kind of likes it. But she doesn’t let romance stand in the way of her chance to prove herself and I LOVED that.

The female characters, from the other girls in the program to Hayley’s mentor, were absolutely fabulous, as were the few non-jerky men in the book. I loved the few sketches scattered throughout the story that bring characters and special moments to life and reflect the true artistry of this book – captured both in the story and the words on the page

A feel-good YA novel about the challenging white male privilege and ignorance.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.


More information

Category: Young adult fiction

Genre: Contemporary

Themes: Animation, sexism, women and girls, friendship, movies, art, drawing, romance, internships.

Reading age guide: Ages 12 and up.

Advisory: Sexist remarks, sexual harassment comments, sexual references (“on your knees, sleeping your way up”). Coarse language, f*** (24), sh** (16), sl** (2), bit** (12), ass**** (9), pi** (4).

Published: 28 September 2021 by Simon Schuster for Young Readers

Format: Hardcover, ebook. 352 pages.

ISBN: 9781534492974

Find it on Goodreads