Just Between Us

2 05 2014

Another wonderful, wonderful novel from J.H. Trumble. I think this is my second favourite book out of the three I’ve read so far (behind Where You Are but ahead of Don’t Let Me Go). It was only now that I was able to see how the characters all link with each other in the other novels, which made me love all the characters even more (it also made me what kind of school these kids went to since there are so many gay teens! Wish I could’ve gone there). Super excited to read what Trumble has to offer next!

Just between us

 





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





Can’t let go

17 07 2013

I don’t know about everyone else, but sometimes when I get really invested in a story, when I care about the characters and their ordeals and want things to end well for them so badly, I get attached to a novel to the point where, when I finish it, I’m still thinking about it, replaying my favourite scenes in my head. This doesn’t happen very often, and certainly hasn’t happened in quite some time.

It happened today when I finished Where You Are. Andrew and Robert lingered in my mind, their smiles as they kissed and held each other. I had grown so attached to them and their story, it didn’t feel right returning the novel so quickly to the library, as if there might be a scene I would have to re-read in the middle of the night to comfort myself that one day, I too might find my Andrew (or Robert). It felt like I knew these two, like there was some special bond created when I read their story, like I was now involved somehow. It’s strange, yet comforting. Part of it is the hopeful ending (which I am incredibly glad for) that kept me thinking of what their life might be like further down the road. I suppose the other part is that the story, about two people who genuinely seem like they’re made for each other, really resonated with me.

I like to think this strange attachment is indicative of a good story, to be emotionally invested with the story and/or the characters. I’ve never really considered myself to be a fiction writer– creative non-fiction, poetry, and even writing my TV pilot come more easily to me– but upon reading Where You Are, I wish I could give someone else that same feeling. Maybe I could write a novel someday and do that too.





Hidden — Tomas Mournian

26 04 2013

I finished this book but I didn’t like it nor did I take a picture of me and the book. Probably because I wanted to return it and get it out of my hands.

Why?

Here’s a comment I left on the VPL’s page after reading it:

Well, I will have to respectfully disagree with the previous comment. I think there’s a good story here, but the narration of the protagonist is so ingratiating. self-pitying, and overdramatic (even if teens are overdramatic, they’re not this overdramatic) that it becomes difficult to care about Ahmed’s struggles. As well, I found Mournian’s style of writing to take me out of the story (ie, breaking up dialogue with unnecessary action and then finishing the rest of the sentence). Less than halfway through the book I wondered if I should’ve even bothered finishing it because it wasn’t very interesting and engaging. Mournian may have a journalism background but it doesn’t translate well to a novel. Parts are confusing to imagine, particularly the rushed ending. Anyway, this is probably scathing enough. If by about a hundred pages in you’re not sure if you should continue, I would put it down (and I’ll tell you what happens).





Something to make you cry

29 02 2012

Dammit, I forgot to post something yesterday.  Argh.

Anyway, here’s one of my favourite It Gets Better videos, mainly because it makes me cry a lot.  A lot.