Saturday, January 21, 2012

Review: Don't Let Me Go

Title: Don't Let Me Go
Author: J. H. Trumble
Release Date: December 27, 2011
Publisher:  Kensington Publishing
Cover Designer: 
Kristine Mills
Age Audience: YA
Genre: LGBT
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.

Gay romance, music, theatre, and a Texas setting all in one book? What's not to love?

I'll confess, I had misgivings before reading because as a homosexual individual myself, I'm wary of LGBT books written by non-LGBT people. (How could they possibly understand, right?) But the author of Don't Let Me Go proved me wrong by showing just what it's like to be a gay teenager, and how it feels to have to fight to have what others take for granted.

One of the elements of this book I loved was the theatrical aspect. Adam had been acting since he was a child, and an off-Broadway job was the whole reason he went to New York in the first place. Even though I'm more of a techie, I smiled at all the mentions of rehearsals and cast parties.
Music played an important part in the story as well. It was something Nate and Adam fell in love over, and many important events took place at Mr. Ratcliffe's music store.

Another fun thing for me was that this book was set in the Houston area! It made it easier for me to see the descriptions in my head, because I knew what was being described. I nearly squealed the first time it mentioned Market Street.

I loved reading about how Nate and Adam's spark of romance grew into the love of a lifetime, then felt sad when it flashed forward to the state of their relationship with Adam in New York. They were very codependent, but I don't think that has to be a bad thing. However, they got more and more dysfunctional as the book went on, to the point where you wonder if they could ever go back to being what they once were.

I wasn't fond of the character Danial at first, but I grew to like his snarky, sarcastic personality, and felt sympathy when we learned the truth about his past.

This book wasn't afraid to show the ugly side of dealing with homophobia, for which I was thankful. I wish it weren't true, but people really are that ignorant, and their ignorance can turn into bigoted hate. It wouldn't have been realistic unless Nate and Adam had dealt with hate, even if not on a colossal scale.

Because of where the near end of the book was heading, I was worried that this would become one of those books with a good but sad ending that keeps me up for days. While the words "Ten Years Later" were a relief, this book will be on my mind for the weeks to come.

Bittersweet and honest, Don't Let Me Go is a terrific work of LGBT fiction. I'm looking forward to more from J. H. Trumble!