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You are here: Home » Tear-Jerker

DON’T LET ME GO by J.H. Trumble
Publication Date: December 27th 2011 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
Rating: |

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, honest, 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 starts a blog to vent his frustrations and becomes the center of a school controversy, drawing ire and support in equal amounts. But it is the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.

Book Review Overview:

  • Heart-wrenching tale that will make you cry and laugh
  • Perfectly flawed characters that are so realistic, so inspiring
  • You don’t have to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, or whatever to read this. Whatever your sexuality is, you will relate.

I didn’t believe the hype before I picked up this book. I needed one more book to read in 2011, and Brent urged me to pick up J.H. Trumble’s DON’T LET ME GO. I already knew that Brent was a massive fan of the book, and since I was in the mood for a contemporary novel, I asked Brent to Lend Me his ebook copy of the novel. I read this in less than 24 hours in two sittings. It’s one of those books where I had to force myself to put it down and go to bed.

Trumble is such a talented writer. I loved the alternation between past and present because it gave a lot of insight on how Nate and Adam’s relationship started and progressed. Furthermore, Trumble has that rare ability to make you cry in one paragraph and laugh out loud in the next. I urge you strongly not to read this in public; your reaction may cause other people to give you weird looks.

DON’T LET ME GO is relatable to everyone because the basis of the novel is the relationship between Nate and Adam. It doesn’t matter that the main characters are gay because the characters are so easy to relate to. Trumble puts you in Adam’s shoes and you feel his heart break. Like Nate, as much as I wanted to trust Adam, I just couldn’t do it. A million different scenarios ran in my mind about all the things that Adam could do to hurt Nate while he was in New York City. I didn’t want to think the worst of Adam, but Trumble made it so difficult not to. In addition to Adam, Nate is also so flawed which made him even more realistic. He’s not perfect either, but he works to make himself a better person. Nate has trust issues and he has to learn to accept that people won’t judge him based on his past. Trumble creates such realistic characters and brilliantly captures what it is like to be in a long distant relationship including the insecurities, trust issues, and the reunions.

Furthermore, DON’T LET ME GO reminded me on how lucky I was to live in a liberal area and have attended such a liberal school. It reminded me that there are teens out there who are not so lucky and who do not have the freedom to be who they want to be. Nate is such an inspiring character to read about because despite the fact that he was bullied and abused, it does not stop him from standing up for what he believes in. He’s inspiring not only to the teens in the novel but also to teens reading the novel. Nate made me want to do something to help gay teens who live in more conservative areas.

I’d highly recommend DON’T LET ME GO to those who are fans of David Levithan’s novels and bittersweet contemporaries. I highly urge you to support this fantastic author and buy this book.

Why I’m Biased: I was influenced by two reviews raving DON’T LET ME GO, written by Ecey and Brent!

Other Book Reviews:
Ece Red
The Naughty Book Kitties

About the Author

J.H. Trumble is a Texas native and graduate of Sam Houston State University. You can visit the author online at http://jhtrumble.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Find the Author

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Comments 9 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , , , | Words 1119 words

You are here: Home » Tear-Jerker

WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick
Publication Date: Date
Rating: |

Summary: Set fifty years apart, two independent stories—Ben’s told in words and Rose’s in pictures—weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.

Ever since his mom died, Ben feels lost.
At home with her father, Rose feels alone.

He is searching for someone, but he is not sure who.
She is searching for something, but she is not sure what.

When Ben finds a mysterious clue hidden in his mom’s room,
When a tempting opportunity presents itself to Rose

Both children risk everything to find what’s missing.

With over 460 pages of original drawings and playing with the form he invented in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey. Rich, complex, affecting and beautiful, Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.

Review Overview:

  • Full of beautiful and historically accurate drawings
  • Made me cry! The story is incredibly touching.
  • Selznick is a genius. Wonderstruck is a masterpiece. Buy this.

Don’t let the page count fool you. Despite being a monstrous book, WONDERSTRUCK is an incredibly fast-paced read that will take you through two unforgettable journeys. WONDERSTRUCK is a beautiful novel told in alternating perspectives: Ben’s is told in print while Rose’s is told in stunning black and white drawings.

I had no idea who Brian Selznick was prior to reading this book. I’ve heard of Hugo Cabret but it’s not something that I would usually pick up. I heard there was a movie in the works, but I hadn’t seen the trailer until months after I picked up this ARC at BEA. My knowledge of the author and his previous work was limited to the reviews printed on the back of the ARC. I flipped through the book and saw the epic amount of pictures inside. A review compared Hugo Cabret to reading a silent film. From the first five pages alone, they couldn’t have been more right.

Selznick is a great writer, but he’s an even better illustrator. The drawings just worked so well for Rose’s story. The illustrations told so much but also so little at the same time. I felt like I read this book so quickly, but if I could go back and read it again, I would pay even more attention to the little details of each drawing. It’s so hard to describe just how visually stimulating this book is unless you actually have the book in your hands. I love all the research that Selznick conducted to make sure that his drawings of all the different places in New York City were as historically accurate as possible. This was a fantastic idea that couldn’t have been executed any better.

I loved the alternating perspectives of Rose and Ben. Though they seem like two completely irrelevant stories, they aren’t I love how they parallel each other throughout the novel. I’m a sucker for novels set in New York City and I thought it was really cool to see the Museum of Natural History earlier in time.

And guys, I cried. WONDERSTRUCK is not a depressing story; it was so touching. The tears literally came out of nowhere. Just the sudden turn of events at the novel’s climax just triggered something in me, and the next thing I knew, I was holding back tears. And I was in public!

This was such a fantastic book and I am so lucky to have picked it up at BEA. I cannot wait to read more of Selznick’s work. He’s a genius.

About the Author

Brian Selznick is the author and illustrator of The Invention of Hugo Cabret. He was born in 1966 in New Jersey. He has a sister who is a teacher, a brother who is a brain surgeon, and five nephews and one niece. Selznick studied at The Rhode Island School of Design and after he graduated from college he worked at Eeyore’s Books for Children in New York City.

Find the Author

Website | GoodReads

Comments 11 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , , | Words 1051 words

WANT TO GO PRIVATE? by Sarah Darer Littman
Publication Date: August 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
Rating: |

Summary: Abby and Luke chat online. They’ve never met. But they are going to. Soon.

Abby is starting high school—it should be exciting, so why doesn’t she care? Everyone tells her to “make an effort,” but why can’t she just be herself? Abby quickly feels like she’s losing a grip on her once-happy life. The only thing she cares about anymore is talking to Luke, a guy she met online, who understands. It feels dangerous and yet good to chat with Luke—he is her secret, and she’s his. Then Luke asks her to meet him, and she does. But Luke isn’t who he says he is. When Abby goes missing, everyone is left to put together the pieces. If they don’t, they’ll never see Abby again.

Review Overview:

  • Abby’s character will definitely be relatable to younger teens
  • Since this is a novel about an Internet predator, be warned: Littman does not sugarcoat anything
  • A must-read for young teens who are just starting to be or are already active on the Internet

WANT TO GO PRIVATE? is a thrilling and realistic portrayal of a girl’s experience with an online predator.

Initially, I was put off by Abby’s character. I couldn’t quite relate to her since I had a smoother transition into high school. However, I think there are a lot of young teenagers who will understand what she is going through. Just starting high school, Abby feels lonely. She wants things to remain as they were, but her best friend Faith is quickly being acclimated to her new environment and making new friends. Drifting apart from her friend and family, Abby starts socializing with a man online and quickly befriends him.

Written in first person, Abby’s chat conversations added authenticity to the novel.  However, the chatspeak used in the first part of the book did bother me after a while, but this is a very minor complaint on my part. After all, I would hate to be a hypocrite. I use them too, but maybe not to that excess – anymore, at least!

Since this is young adult, I wondered how far Littman could possibly take it. This is a novel about an Internet pedophile; they do some pretty sick things. As much as I would love to immediately pass this off to my 13 year old cousin to warn her about the dangers of the Internet, it probably would not be the best choice. WANT TO GO PRIVATE? got quite explicit. My jaw dropped. I highly praise Littman for having the audacity to write out the chat transcripts between Abby and Luke. The novel would not be the same without them.

Each part of the novel increased in intensity. Reading the first part of WANT TO GO PRIVATE? was like watching a teen horror flick. You know what’s just about to happen, but no matter how hard you scream at the characters, you know that they are walking straight into trouble. It was just so frustrating to read Abby make so many mistakes, but I knew they were inevitable.

I love how the second part of the novel changed in perspective. The different point of view left me just as clueless as the other character’s as to Abby’s whereabouts. It left me hanging at the edge of my seat. At that point, it was impossible to determine what exactly happened to Abby. I felt helpless as Lily and her parents. It felt like I was reading a crime drama. It’s obvious that Littman did her research very well. WANT TO GO PRIVATE? was very realistic and at the same time managed to completely suck me in.

The ending was probably my favorite part of the book. I ended up discussing this book with my mom because she’s big into crime TV. She said that she always wondered about the after. Littman makes the book about more than just a crime: it’s about Abby – what caused her to start talking to a stranger and how she changes during and after. The story isn’t over until the crime is solved. For the victims, it’s also about what happens when they return back to their lives.

Every teenager needs to read this. Littman warns about the dangers of the Internet without sounding didactic. This can happen to anyone, no matter how many time we think that it could never be us. Littman is a master at capturing serious issues in the lives of teenagers while maintaining a genuine voice.

Comments 7 comments

Permalink Permalink Category Book Review, Four Stars - , , , , , , | Words 912 words

The only French word I know is oui, which means 'yes,' and only recently did I learn it’s spelled o-​u-​i and not w-​e-​e.
- Stephanie Perkins, Anna and the French Kiss

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