Rating: 3/5 stars.
I really wanted to love this book. I moved heaven and earth to find it. Well, not really – I searched all of my local libraries, and the nearby bookstores. I couldn’t buy it on Amazon in case my mom got to it before I did. I resorted to ordering it through Barnes & Noble, and I’m still not sure why Don’t Let Me Go was so difficult to obtain.
It’s like gay chick-lit, but better. The story revolves around Nate Schaper, a high school senior who has already found his soul mate. Nate and Adam are inseparable, bonded by true love that has survived huge amounts of homophobia – even a heinous hate crime. But when Adam graduates and gets an acting job in New York, their relationship is put to the ultimate test.
There should me more books like Don’t Let Me Go. I loved how J.H. Trumble addressed homosexuality and how tough it can be to be gay in high school. She took a sensitive and honest approach to coming out, cycles of abuse, and gay/straight friendships. Her care for the characters appeared prominently on every page.
Before I get into why I didn’t love the book, I want to make it clear that I have every intention of reading Trumble’s next novel. Her writing is raw and sincere, and her utilization of flashbacks uniquely fleshed out the characters. I only wish she had showed some of the scenes instead of telling them. However, the romance in the novel was real and intense and made me wish that I had a boyfriend. Perhaps that’s how girls feel when they read books like Anna and the French Kiss.
Now, the only reason I’m giving this book three stars instead of five is Nate. Nate. Schaper. It’s taking every ounce of my self-control not to just rant about him. As the protagonist of the book and the narrator, I did empathize with him. I understood how hurt and vulnerable he was. But there comes a time when characters cross the line from emotionally distraught and damaged to acting like an insensitive, immature idiot. Almost every single plot problem arose from his insecurity or his inability to communicate like a mature human being. The pain I felt for Adam cut way deeper than the pain I felt for Nate. He deserved a sharp slap across the face, or something that would wake him from his slumber of stupidity.
Don’t get me wrong, I still recommend this book, especially to those searching for a great story centered on a gay relationship. Just get ready to put up with a protagonist who is not exactly likeable.