Sunday, November 18, 2012

Don't Let Me Go, by J.H. Trumble

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.

This book had SO much potential and fell terribly flat.  I absolutely love the premise and I totally swooned over the cover.  Other reviewers compared this to works by David Levithan and John Green, so I was expecting to be wowed.

And I was.  Just not in a good way.
To be fair, I am not gay.  I am also not a guy.  So I have no idea what it's like to be a recently-out 17-year-old high school boy.  But I DO read a fair bit of GLBT YA fiction, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with the genre.

I have so many problems with this book that I don't even know where to begin.  Which is why I'm so glad that I took notes on my Kindle, once I started getting really annoyed.

1. In this book, everyone who is not gay is either: 1) head-over-heels in love with someone of the opposite sex who IS gay (taking "fag hag" to an extreme); 2) a mother or a sibling of someone who is gay; or 3) a hateful person who spews vitriol at every opportunity and beats up homosexuals.  I mean, EVERYONE.  Parents.  Friends.  Schoolmates.  Strangers.  There isn't a single person who is indifferent or supportive.

2.  All gay guys look like this:

No, wait.  This is okay.

3. If you are of any sort of ethnic heritage, people automatically cannot pronounce your last name.  Because there are so few non-Caucasians in Texas.

4. School administrators don't care if students are bullied, assaulted, or attempt suicide.  Or are beaten by their parents.

5a. Some cheating is okay, but just don't get caught! 

5b. You know what?  Even if your ex wants to fool around, you don't HAVE to!  No one is forcing you, no matter how much he begs and pleads!  Seriously.  Stop being such a baby about it.

6. Gays need bodyguards.

7. Teenagers don't know anything about blogs.

8. The timelines and chronology were all over the place, which made the story really hard to follow.  There were random sections with a lot of unnecessary detail: re-stringing a guitar; tuning a guitar; the temporormandibular joints (just say TMJ!); and playing football.

9. The mid-story angst--the arc of the story that is supposed to tug at your heartstrings and make your stomach plummet with dread--felt very forced.  And then there was swine flu!  And a huge fight (or four)!  And OMG, I should feel something!  But no.

By the time I got to the epilogue, I wasn't sure I could handle the inanity of last few pages: everyone is happy and in love and making babies and seeking closure to those few drama-filled days from TEN YEARS AGO.

I am actually debating whether or not to request a refund from Amazon.  I am that disappointed.

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