Thursday, January 19, 2012
Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble (Top 2011 Pick!)
Don't Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble
Review by: Lauren
Copy from: The author, through her publisher, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Some people spend their whole lives looking for the right partner. Nate Schaper found his in high school. In the eight months since their cautious flirting became a real, heart-pounding, tell-the-parents relationship, Nate and Adam have been inseparable. Even when local kids take their homophobia to brutal levels, Nate is undaunted. He and Adam are rock solid. Two parts of a whole. Yin and yang.
But when Adam graduates and takes an off-Broadway job in New York--at Nate's insistence--that certainty begins to flicker. Nate's friends can't keep his insecurities at bay, especially when he catches Skyped glimpses of Adam's shirtless roommate. Nate starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it's the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.
Review: I just want to preface this review by saying: Go and Read This Book. Right Now. Okay, read the rest of the review, and then go and get the book. I finished Don't Let Me Go a few days or so into 2012, but it's actually a 2011 book...and one of my favorites for sure of last year. How do I know this? Because this book has now been added to my list of all-time favorites. It really is that good.
As you can tell from this blog, I love LGBT themed books and this is a great one. To explain, the book jumps back and forth through time a bit. It starts with Nate driving Adam to the airport as Adam is about to take an off-Broadway job (since he's a recent high school graduate). Nate is about to start his senior year, without Adam. This would be upsetting to any couple that really loves each other, I'm sure. It's especially hard for Nate due to a tramuatic event he suffered the year before. As you read, more about that is revealed and how integral Adam was in Nate's recovery. The flashbacks are also great in showing the progression of their relationship in general, which gives an added depth and suspense to the present day situations.
Being away from each other is hard on both boys, but as we're reading this story through Nate's point of view, we mainly get his thoughts. And he's not really great at being away from Adam. Nate is independent in his own right, don't get me wrong, but Adam has become a large part of his life and being away from him is hard. Adam is in what Nate sees as fabulous New York, and what if that means he'll forget about his high school boyfriend back home in Texas? Not to mention Adam is living in a tiny apartment full of other boys, with one particular one intent on being flirty and trying to get inbetween Nate and Adam.
This book is just amazing. I love the fact that Nate and Adam are a real couple. This isn't about them coming out. They are quite fine with their sexuality, even if other people aren't. Nate, especially, must deal with that homophobia...and he's a really, really strong person. But back to their relationship! The two of them go through a huge range of emotions, like any relationship. They are happy and have great moments together. They get jealous. They get mad and/or frustrated with each other. They fight, they yell, they kiss, they make love. It's full of passion and romance and the desperate yearning for another person to be there for you, no matter what.
Don't Let Me Go is incredibly well-written and it makes you feel all sorts of emotions. I love that we got Nate's point of view, but it's easy to forget that there are two sides, and one must always keep Adam in mind while reading. To Nate, he's like a rock. He's always there, helping him, taking care of him. But Adam has his own worries and feelings...and those do start to come out as you read, and it's great to see. This is a two-sided relationship and I love that! Sometimes you get books that feel too unrealistic, and that's not the case here. I especially love that the two boys make mistakes. They screw up in various ways. Nobody is perfect, and relationship can sometimes be messy and ugly and hard. And Don't Let Me Go really shows that.
Now on a different note, music is definitely mentioned throughout the book. I love that. But what I really enjoyed is that the author included her actual "soundtrack" (a list of songs she feels fit the story/character) in the back of the book after the discussion questions. There is even a little note on why each song works. For example, "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi is on the list and under that it says: Nate chooses Adam over his fear. If you want the rest, you should obviously get the book. I will recommend that you don't read the list of songs or explanations until you've read the book though. There is a reason it's at the very end. You don't want to ruin any part of the story, do you? Let me answer that for you: No, you do not. Because there is a lot to be learned in these pages. You get a look at the past, the present, and even the future. It's surprising, suspenseful, romantic, and all sorts of amazing. You'll get mad at the characters, you'll feel bad or him, you'll feel happy for them, and more than anything, you'll feel connected.
Again, buy this book now. It really is a new favorite of mine.