Don’t Let Me Go by J.H. Trumble
I think I just might have a new favorite author — or at least one whose additional work I definitely will be reading. And that would be J.H. Trumble author of don’t let me go, a novel that I just completed and absolutely loved. I read the book in one sitting, staying up several hours past my bedtime because I simply could not put it down.
This delicate yet powerful character-driven story follows the love story between two young men, Adam and Nate. They meet in high school and almost immediately, are inseparable and the love that they feel for one another is evident almost from day one. Told from Nate’s point of view, we are privy to the ups and downs of young love as the two teens figure out who they are in the presence of each other and experience growth in the process. The author does an excellent job of weaving together a complicated first love and I found the writing to evocative, with the perfect amount of description.
It’s All About The Angst
But what’s a novel without a little angst, right? If you like angst, you’ll find plenty of it in this book. Shortly before Adam graduates, a horrific event occurs during with Nate suffers both physical and psychological injuries. Adam, whose love is the theater, is presented with an opportunity to go to New York with a theater troupe only a few months after the incident. The question is: should he go or should he stay? If he if goes, how will it affect their relationship?
Well, we know right from the first page that Adam does indeed go as the novel opens with tense scene during with Nate driving Adam to the airport. With the talented use of flashbacks, the author fills us in on how they arrived at this particular point in their lives and what the fallout (and there is indeed fallout) of Adam’s decision will be on Nate’s life and their relationship. Several misunderstandings on the part of the characters creates plenty of obstacles four our pair and their relationship, causing them to not always make the best decisions.
The characters themselves are meticulously developed and as such, the reader truly feels the depth of their relationship as they grow deeper in love and later on in the novel, further apart. The supporting cast of colorful characters is well presented such as Danial the tease who has shadows of his own; Annie, their best friend, who I suspect is still in love with Nate; and of course Granny, who spends her time looking at gay porn on the computer.
The writing is solid and clear, although some people might not like the author’s use of “time-jumping” — but I felt that it worked well in the story and was expertly handled, as it revealed a touching backstory that helped us to know and understand each character’s motivation.
At one point in the story nearing the end of the novel, I found myself getting a tad disgusted with Adam and came to the conclusion that he was kind of a dick. In my eyes, this likable character had transformed into somewhat of an unlikeable brat. If you come to this same point, keep reading — he redeems himself later one (but he doesn’t have an easy time of it). The bad decisions he makes however, does render him more believable as a character as we are all prone to making the wrong choices here and there. But by the end of the novel, you will care deeply about these characters and what happens to them.
In the midst of turmoil, there is humor and I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the story at the witty dialog that Trumble throws at us. Although there is a light touch in places, don’t be deceived — the author tells a very serious story during which our characters learn about love, loss, disappointment, bigotry, deceit, betrayal and friendship.
Don’t Let Me Go is an excellent young adult coming-of-age tale to which many gay and lesbian teens will be able to relate. I found this book to be a refreshing well-written and emotional story dealing with two gay teens who overcome past hurts to find love and the promise of a future together. I look forward to reading more of this author’s work. Recommended!