Where You Are

20 07 2013

So this is probably my favourite read so far this year, and definitely my favourite gay teen novel this year. What makes this novel so good? Well, the teacher-student premise could have been a porn-y, cliché fantasy, but surprisingly (and thankfully), it wasn’t. What I liked best, aside from the wonderful, well-rounded characters which I mentioned a few posts ago, is that Andrew’s inevitable decision to give in to Robert is delayed over and over again instead of happening at the first instance the two characters are alone. I found this to not only give Andrew more humanity (and made me respect and care about what happened to him), but when they did finally get together, it made things that much sweeter– I was cheering! I really appreciated that decision by author J.H. Trumble, whose writing is simple and clear, with sweet, humorous moments dispersed throughout. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: some genuinely surprising twists too. So much to be pleasantly surprised at!

That being said, all my praise for this very touching, poignant story doesn’t mean that I found it to be a flawless read. There were minor things that I wondered about, such as what happened to Stephen after the whole mess was uncovered? I know it’s not important because the story is centered around Andrew and Robert, but I did feel like if he was punished somehow, that I damn well wanted to read what kind of trouble that brat (and his ignorant father) got. Although I loved Andrew and Robert as characters, I found some of the other minor characters to be a bit flat. Aunt Olivia and Whitney came across as the evil twins, and there were times I was confused who was who and who was saying what mean thing; Luke is a fascinating character– a gay friend who is genuinely a friend and has no ulterior motives! Wow!–but he only appears briefly as simple friend archetype. This isn’t to say that all minor characters need to be developed (though that certainly would be impressive). Another fantastic gay teen novel is Bill Konigsberg’s Out of the Pocket, which is about a closeted football player. The other players on the team are minor, supporting characters to the protagonist’s story, yet they are described so distinctly and vividly, either through what they look like or through their dialogue/slang, that they became real three-dimensional people, just like the protagonist. They aren’t featured nearly as heavily as him, but when they are, I have a really clear picture of their personality and what they look like.  It’s a really tough thing to do, to create three-dimensional characters that feel real, but when it happens, it can really elevate a story to make it feel more like reality.

I also found myself, while reading, completely visualizing this all happening as a movie. Man, what a great movie this would make! I can see it as a good, indie movie, with some handsome actors who know how to act. In the meantime, I’m really looking forward to reading Don’t Let Me Go now, after this engaging read with characters I still think about. By then, I’ll have raised my expectations for what I’m sure will be another enjoyable story.

2013-07-19 21.21.55

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5 responses

21 07 2013
J.H. Trumble

Is that a barcode on the front? So it’s a library copy? I love libraries! And I’m so glad you like the book.

21 07 2013
weirdduck88

It is indeed a library book! I first heard about Where You Are in the local LGBT newspaper, Xtra! and it sounded interesting. I’m so glad the book was good and not an erotic fantasy, haha. I’m a writer as well, but not so much into fiction; after reading this book, it really made me feel like writing fiction again, so I thank you immensely for that. Are you working on any projects at the moment? Consider me a fan! 🙂

21 07 2013
J.H. Trumble

You’re welcome! I hope to read something of yours one day. Yes, I am working on (struggling with) something new right now. My 3rd novel, JUST BETWEEN US, will be out September 24. You may have to wait a little longer for #4 though. This one is kicking my butt! 🙂 Thank you so much for your kind words.

22 07 2013
weirdduck88

Two books released in one year! My, you’re busy. I should take some inspiration from you to finally complete even one book. Looking forward to seeing your new book at the library soon! And good luck with the one you’re working on! Kick that book’s butt, not the other way around. 🙂

23 07 2013
J.H. Trumble

Doing my best!

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