Rating: 5 stars
Published: December 24, 2012
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
Synopsis: Robert Westfall’s life is falling apart-everywhere but in math class. That’s the one place where problems always have a solution. But in the world beyond high school, his father is terminally ill, his mother is squabbling with his interfering aunts, his boyfriend is unsupportive, and the career path that’s been planned for him feels less appealing by the day.
Robert’s math teacher, Andrew McNelis, watches his best student floundering, concerned but wary of crossing the line between professional and personal. Gradually, Andrew becomes Robert’s friend, then his confidante. As the year progresses, their relationship-in school and out of it-deepens and changes. And as hard as he tries to resist, Andrew knows that he and Robert are edging into territory that holds incalculable risks for both of them.
J.H. Trumble, author of the acclaimed Don’t Let Me Go, explores a controversial subject with extraordinary sensitivity and grace, creating a deeply human and honest story of love, longing, and unexpected connection.
|11/23||100.0%||“*grins* A++ One hell of a controversial topic, engaging dialog and events. From start to finish an amazing book.”|
|11/23||83.0%||“oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, oh shit. I don’t wanna read this part. arrrgh!”|
|11/23||50.0%||“I can’t put it down. I’ve laughed and I’ve cried. I’m loving the hell out of this book. Gotta go back!”|
|11/23||8.0%||“Only just started and my heart already went out to Robert.”|
Review: An emotionally charged story of unexpected love and unwavering loyalty.
“I am crazy about him. I can’t help that he came into my life four months too soon; he stole my heart when I wasn’t looking. “
Andrew is a young, math teacher who cares greatly for his students’ well-being. He has had a rough time in the relationship department and has had to make some tough decisions to be able to find his peace of mind. He is ambitious, loyal to a fault and no pushover for bullies. When he notices that Robert is struggling personally, he offers him his help and allows himself to be there if Robert should ever need someone to talk to. He questions his motives and hesitates in his actions. He struggles with feelings of protectiveness towards Robert and constantly tries to fight the connection between them.
“I want to be held. Is that so wrong? I want to be held, and stroked. I want to know that someone loves me. I want to feel it on my skin.”
Robert is a high-school senior with a difficult family situation and no one to turn to for support. He is openly gay, popular and kind. But inside he struggles with his place in his family and the uncertainty of his future. He takes comfort in having extracurricular activities and math class. In Andrew he sees someone he can trust to share his burdens with and when the opportunity presents itself to lean on him he does.
What begins is a journey of two men discovering their need to connect and just let go. Their story is not an easy one to read. There are the obvious obstacles they have to get through and their own doubts and hesitations. Add to that a series of events that completely took them and me by surprise and a set of selfish characters determined to screw up their happily ever after and you got yourself a powerful, riveting read.
Once again, I found myself engrossed in a book that constantly made me question my stance on teacher-student relationships. As a mother, could I condone such a relationship? As a hopeless romantic, should I accept that you can’t control who you love? And as a reader, do I accept this story for the fiction it is even if the reality of it all causes so much controversy? Throughout my reading I found myself wondering why I constantly put myself through this kind of turmoil.
The answer lies in the beauty of everything that embodies this book – the range in emotions, the complexity of the characters and their development and the skillful way the controversial subject is brought forward.
The writing was excellent. The author, J.H. Trumble, brought forward every emotion felt by these characters in a way that easily made me relate to them. Robert and Andrew struggled and felt deeply throughout the story – hesitation, fear, desolation, longing, love and heartache. All these emotions were brought to the page beautifully. I faltered along with them, felt the loneliness they tried to hide from others and yearned for them to make it work. It was a joy to see their love develop and their despair over the events that unfolded broke me. I spent the better half of the book falling in love with these characters and cheering them on, only to spend the last quarter of the book a weeping mess. Although expected, the events that unfolded still impacted me. Their presentation was that powerful.
I have to admire an author who manages to make me ecstatic one moment and has me crying the next. It is not every author who keeps me in a constant state of expectation then astonishes me with a whole different set of events or makes me question my beliefs and achieves my compliance. This is the first book I have read by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last.
“If I had a chance for a do-over, or an opportunity to make corrections like I give my students when they screw up a test, I’d take a pass. “
I received this book through NetGalley and I would like to extend my appreciation to them and Kensington Publishing Corporation for giving me the opportunity to read and review this title in exchange of my honest opinion.