Friday, December 28, 2012

DON'T LET ME GO by J.H. Trumble

Don't Let Me Go is a story about a romantic relationship, and chronicles several years while the protagonists, Adam and Nate, are in high school. The main story occurs in the "present," with a partner story that takes place in flashbacks. The flashbacks contain important moments in Adam and Nate's relationship, e.g. how they met, and focuses on a traumatic event that happened to Nate that Adam helped him get through. In the present, Adam is going to New York for his dream job, while Nate is staying behind. They try to stay together and emotionally close even with the distance, meddling roommates, other needy boys, family issues, personal insecurities, etc, etc. Essentially: THERE IS A LOT OF DRAMA.

The flashbacks were done well; by that I mean that they usually had a logical jump off from the present day, and they informed and fleshed out the present storyline and characters. Nate's trauma was handled well. We get a terrifying sense of what he went through, without it being too much, or getting too close and personal. Nate's recovery is made possible by his support system, his friends and family, and it was heart-warming to read, even while showing the complexity of recovering from something like that.

The characters were VERY real in this book; relateable and likable while still having their flaws and quirks. I loved how we see Adam most of the time through Nate's eyes, so he's basically perfect, but there are hints of Adam's flaws, and when Nate realizes that Adam needs him as much as he needs Adam, it was an inevitable realization and totally great. And satisfying.

The supporting cast is fun, especially Daniel, a few years old who becomes Nate's straight BFF. He was totally impervious to drama that infects literally EVERYONE ELSE IN THE STORY, and his life experiences were another perspective on what happened to Nate; it all connected very well, in a believable way, instead of seeming contrived: he is trying to help others avoid what happened to his family, and that leads him to Nate. I also had a fondness for the Roommate of Temptation. Luke, a boy who is very similar to who Nate used to be, was really annoying. But Nate's rebound to him was believable drama.

I disliked the time jump near the end. If you read this, you will know which one I'm talking about. It gives a cliffhanger to the drama, skips forward a few years, and then spends a few pages drawing the suspense out of how the cliffhanger was resolved, and finally explains it all in a brief, reporter manner. ARGH. I have no idea who made that structure choice or why.

This book is kinda long, too. There was a LOT of drama, and it was sometimes painful to read. I liked the past stuff more just because those were more focused on what we needed to know, rather than spinning out the suspense of the drama. This is just one of those romantic books where you KNOW they're going to end up together, but that just makes you scream at them more every time they do dumb things or cause miscommunications or make bad choices or break up or whatever. However, it was still a jolly, well-written, character-driven story.

I gave Don't Let Me Go four out of five stars.

PS: I found a great review of this book here: Much better written than mine, haha.


Jasmine Stairs said...

Interesting, this sounds like. Do you think it would have been marketed as YA, if YA wasn't so big? The characters sound older.

Bahnree said...

They all act like the high-schoolers they're supposed to be, although Adam always seems way more mature than the other characters, but part of that is because Nate sees him through rose-colored glasses always.

Jasmine Stairs said...

Okay. You know I'm trying to make this a bats story. Though I don't know why. Ugh, because of past!trauma?