Outdrawn by Deanna Grey

Outdrawn saved me from a month of mediocre romance novels.

The book 'Outdrawn' on an iPhone sitting on a bamboo table surrounded by colored pencils and ceramic sheep
Best romance of the year! So far.

I’ve read four romances this month. One was gawd awful, another was meh, the third was pretty decent, and then I read Outdrawn. The pretty good one now seems diminutive by comparison to this rockstar of a romance.

Outdrawn by Deanna Grey manages to a have a satisfying dual POV with Sage, a badass, motorcycle driving bisexual with trust issues, and Noah, a pastel loving lesbian with carpel tunnel and confidence problems. Grey gives them both character flaws, an emotional story arc involving their respective families, a professional story arc, and a romantic story arc all interwoven. Despite both being professional comic artists now working for the same company and long time nemesis, their problems are unique enough to make each character unique.

Their competitiveness goes back to their college years when they shared classes and doodled in each other’s notebooks, personalities clashed and their enemy status cemented.

“Our time did more than overlap-it tangled. I held my tongue about the tangling, because it’s too weird to explain how we had gotten close enough to draw in each other’s sketchbooks but never exchanged phone numbers. It’s too weird for even me to fully comprehend.”

Coming together years later to work on the same comic, a reboot of an old favorite, with Sage as head writer and Noah the new co-writer, brings up the old feelings they’d long buried. Like a satellite around a planet, they orbited each other through life until they came crashing together.

Is everything better when it’s queer? Yes, that should go without saying. But outside of its charming queerness, I prefer the story structure Deanna Grey used in Outdrawn. That’s to say, I really don’t like when at the 80% mark, the main character loses their damn mind for no good reason and implodes the relationship. The gawd awful book I read had the female MC cutting off the ‘perfect man’ because he was going to leave her some day like her last husband. Oh, and she’s pregnant. Oh, and he’s donating a kidney for her brother. I hate all of it.

Outdrawn was a lifeline amongst a flurry of bad romances, and I will recommend it to random strangers unsolicited.

/rae ryan/