But when Adam graduates and takes an off-Broadway job in New York--at Nate's insistence--that certainty begins to flicker. Nate's friends can't keep his insecurities at bay, especially when he catches Skyped glimpses of Adam's shirtless roommate. 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's the attention of a new boy who is looking for more than guidance that forces him to confront who and what he really wants.
Tender, thoughtful, and unflinchingly real, Don't Let Me Go is a witty and beautifully written account of young love, long-distance relationships, and learning to follow your heart.
"Don't Let Me Go is a charming story. Trumble's love for the characters is evident on every page, and it's contagious." -- Robin Reardon, author of A Secret Edge
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)|
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Don't Let Me Go
By J. H. TRUMBLE
KENSINGTON BOOKSCopyright © 2012 J. H. Trumble
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSaturday, July 26
One. I lied. All that crap about me wanting you to go, about me needing to know who I am without you. Lies. Every stupid, lying word of it. I don't want you to go. God, I don't want you to go. And not only do I not need to know who I am without you, I couldn't care less. There is no me without you. The yin and the yang. You, yin; me, yang. Adam and Nate. Two parts of a whole. Existing together in beautiful harmony. Without you, I'm just a broken piece.
Two. You had to know that.
I veered my car sharply into a Shell station a few blocks from Adam's neighborhood.
"You're kidding," he said, glancing at the time on his cell phone. "Nate ..."
"What?" I maneuvered the car next to a pump and hit the brake a little too abruptly. "You want to get to the airport? We need gas."
He huffed, one of those irritated and irritating noises he'd been making all morning. "Why didn't you put gas in the car yesterday?" he said, turning down the stereo. "We don't have time for this."
"We don't seem to have time for a lot of things lately." I killed the ignition and popped the handle on the door.
"Come on. That's not fair. We spent the entire night together."
"Sleeping," I muttered and dropped my head back against my seat. This was the part where he was supposed to console me, whip out his ticket and rip it up into a million pieces right in front of me, toss it out on the concrete, beg me to turn the car around, profess his undying love, confess he couldn't live without me.
Instead he lit up his cell phone. "Shit," he said softly. He dropped the phone in his lap and growled, which might have been sexy if I hadn't been so angry and if he hadn't been so freaking anal. "Are you trying to make me miss my flight?"
So much for love. "I don't know why you're in such a damn hurry. At the rate we're going, we'll have time to wax the stupid plane before they board passengers."
"You're being a brat," he said. "You know that?"
Brat? He called me a brat? He'd called me a lot of things in the last ten months and nine days, a lot of sweet, beautiful things. But brat? Never brat. Not even close.
He opened his door. "I'll get the gas."
"I'll get it," I said, and got out.
I jabbed the nozzle into the tank and locked the trigger, but I kept my hand on it. The other hand I shoved deep in my pocket. I watched the air shimmer around the pump handle.
Adam leaned against the car and watched me. When I didn't look up, he tipped his head low and fingered my T-shirt at the waist. "Just to set the record straight," he said, "we didn't sleep all that much either." The tiniest of smiles tugged at the corners of his mouth. My eyes locked on his and my heart lurched in my chest. It was an unexpected moment of intimacy standing next to a gas pump on a stifling July morning, sweat trickling down my back and the smell of gas strong in the air, the moment so brief that in the days and weeks ahead, I would think I had imagined it. But for three, maybe four fleeting seconds, I saw in his eyes the guy who loved me, the guy I loved back so much that it scared me sometimes.
His eyes shifted past me to the spinning dial on the pump, and as suddenly as it had arrived, the moment was gone.
He took the handle from me and released the trigger with a thunk and seated it back on the pump. I stared at the dial, not quite believing what I was seeing—five gallons. Five gallons? That was all he could give me this morning? A five-gallon delay? I stood, stunned, as he secured the gas cap and smacked me on the butt. "Let's go, handsome."
As I pulled back onto the road, he checked the time on his cell phone again and then tucked it back in his pocket and resumed patting his thigh to the song. I thought if he pulled that freaking phone out one more time, swear to God, I was going to pitch it out the window. The gas gauge nudged just past a quarter tank, but my internal gauge was quickly slipping toward Empty.
"You won't miss your flight," I said, the hurt coating my words, weighing them down so that they tumbled out, heavy and muted.
He put his hand to my ear and rubbed my earring with his thumb. "I'm going to have to send you a new pair of earrings."
I kept my eyes on the road but shifted my head and my shoulder to trap his hand just for a moment. "I don't want another earring." I swallowed hard past the lump in my throat. How could he even think I could part with this one? When I'd woken up in the hospital, one of the first things I'd noticed was that they'd taken my earrings, the ones he'd brought me from New York. He'd taken a black stud from his own ear then and put it in mine. I hadn't taken it off since that day. I didn't intend to take it off ever.
I glanced at him. He smiled and dropped his hand and looked back out the window. I could sense his thoughts slipping away again as he picked up the song and the beat.
"We're pulling apart," I said.
"Hm?" He looked over at me.
"The line. It's we're pulling apart."
I looked back at the road. "Never mind."
He smiled distantly and turned back to the window. Up ahead, the freeway split. I slid into the right-hand lane and made the wide sweep onto the toll road as Adam butchered yet another line.
It was stupid, stupid, getting pissed off over something I did myself all the time. Who cared whether he got The Fray's lyrics right or not? Except that he'd been doing more and more of that in the past few weeks—feigning attention, smiling vaguely when I said something or asked a question. Sometimes it felt like he was already gone, like his brain had been unplugged from the here and present and plugged back in to the there and future. Maybe I was to blame. I'd pushed him to take the job. This is your time. Please, go to New York. Be fabulous. I just never thought he'd go for it with such gusto.
"You're wearing the green underwear," I said.
"What?" He turned down the AC.
"I said, You're. Wearing. The green. Underwear."
"What? You're complaining about my underwear? You want me to take them off?"
"We don't have time for that, remember?" I said, sullenly.
He rolled his eyes. "Why does it matter what underwear I'm wearing?"
"Because I bought them for you in Key West."
"I remember. I like them. A lot. I promise, they're clean."
"I just don't know why you're wearing them today," I mumbled.
Okay, now I was being a brat.
I popped the cover on the storage compartment in the console and felt around until I found a thin jewel case. One-handed, I flicked it open and popped out the CD. The case clattered to the console, then dropped into the space between the console and Adam's seat. I hit the eject button and switched the CDs, then dropped The Fray back into the storage compartment sans case and smacked the lid shut. Three Dog Night wailed about some stupid bullfrog named Jeremiah.
"Is there something we need to talk about?" Adam asked.
The heat was creeping back into the car. I turned the AC back up and stared at the toll booths up ahead, considering the penalty for crashing through the gates. We'd get pulled over for sure. I'd probably have to take a sobriety test—walk the line, breathe into some little tube. I'd get a citation for failure to stop and pay a toll and probably a hugely inflated bill for replacing the gate. And then Adam would miss his flight. And for just a little while longer he'd stay. But there were other flights. There would always be other flights.
I hit the brakes and fumbled in the tray at the base of the gear shift for quarters. I counted out five. "Dammit, I should have gotten some quarters before we left." The tray held some loose change, mostly pennies and a stray nickel or dime. I slid the coins aside until I found two more quarters. I pinched one and added it to the five in my hand, then flung all six at the basket. Three overshot and fell to the concrete.
"Great." I got the last quarter out of the tray. "Do you have any quarters?"
"Just back up and go to the full-service lane," he said, clearly annoyed.
"I can't just back up." A horn blared behind us. I glanced in the rearview mirror, then popped the door handle and gestured to the dickhead behind us as I got out. He leaned out his window and called me a faggot. I found two of the coins and made some suggestions to the guy about how he might amuse himself while he waited for me to move, then got back in the car, slammed the three coins into the basket, and hit the accelerator, almost taking out the gate anyway.
I couldn't stand any more joy to the fishes. Gag me. I jabbed the track button. After a pause, an electric guitar ripped from the speakers. I'd burned this CD of rock anthems years ago when I first decided guitar was more than just a way to blow a few hours after school each day. I might have lost myself in the music if it hadn't been for the stupid lyrics.
Well, I'm hot-blooded ...
Oh, hell, no. I hit the track button. From the corner of my eye, I could see Adam staring at me, but I kept my eyes on the road. The airport exit was just ahead, three-quarters of a mile. I considered staying in my lane, driving until we ran out of gas. (How far would five gallons take us? Galveston, maybe? I could finish my senior year at Moody High. Surely there was a theater company Adam could perform with. It didn't even matter. We could be beach bums, sell T-shirts to tourists in a beach shop, live on love. That's all we needed, right? The toll road to I-45, then Galveston. It would be so easy.)
A jet screamed overhead. The noise—the jet, the AC blowing full blast, the music, the roar of traffic around us—it was all too much. I turned off the AC again and flicked on my blinker and slid into the exit lane.
Fame (fame) lets him loose, hard to swallow.
I jabbed the button again, twice, then a third time.
"What's wrong, Nate?" Adam said.
I shook my head, not trusting my voice. The heat was creeping back into the car. This time it was Adam who turned the AC back on.
And then "Free Bird" was playing and my fingers ached with the urge to hit the track button again, but I could feel Adam's eyes on me, so I didn't. Death by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
"Hey," he said, running his hand up and down my thigh. "Let's do Key West again next June. It'll be my graduation gift to you this time. No parents."
I gripped his hand tightly and hoped to God I could make it to June. Key West was magic. And I was afraid I was going to need some magic by then.
Chapter TwoTwo months earlier Graduation party and Key West
"Open it! Open it!" Mea cried, bouncing impatiently in her chair.
Adam grinned. "I'm opening it." He painstakingly worked the envelope flap loose just to tease his little sister. Adam's parents had waited until the party guests had gotten out of the pool, dried off, and gone home to give him their graduation gift.
Clearly, the wait had been almost too much for his little sister. "It's an airplane ticket," she blurted out before he could finish the job.
"Mea!" Mrs. Jensen said, putting her hand over the six-year-old's mouth.
Adam stuck his tongue out at her and removed not one, but two tickets from the envelope. He looked at them, said, "Wow," cleared his throat, then held them up for me to see.
"What?" I said, surprised, because one of the tickets was issued to Nathan Schaper.
"Family trip," Ben said before we could get the wrong idea, which was approximately two seconds too late.
Mrs. Jensen slinked her arm around her husband's waist. "We've already cleared it with your mom, Nate. We have a lot to celebrate and, well, we're really hoping you want to go."
A week in Key West with Adam? Was she kidding? Even with his family, it was still a week in Key West with Adam. Just a week and a half ago I'd been girding myself for a second trial, a repeat of the painful and humiliating experience that had been the first trial in March. Facing the second assailant in the courtroom, reliving that horrible night five months ago, laying out the most intimate details of my relationship with Adam, and feeling like I was the one on trial. And then, at the eleventh hour, a plea deal.
Just like that, it was over.
I hadn't felt this free, been this happy since last New Year's Eve, until Mea innocently blabbed half an hour later, "Adam's going to be a star."
I was helping her get her toys out of the pool while Adam helped his mom and Ben carry the food back inside.
"Adam's already a star," I said, hooking a yellow raft with a net and dragging it toward the edge.
"No, he's going to be a for-real star. In a play and everything. In New York. He even said I could visit him. And he's going to take me to the zoo in Central Park. And let me feed the pigeons and ..."
New York? New York?
Over the next week, I kept waiting for Adam to hit me with New York, my excitement over the trip to Key West marred by a new impending sense of doom. But he said nothing. And by Friday afternoon I was beginning to think that Mea had gotten it all wrong.
Adam was rummaging through my suitcase when I got out of the shower.
"Why do you have so many books packed?" he asked, flipping through the pages of a novel I'd picked up at a used bookstore after work a few days earlier. "When do you think you're going to have time to do all this reading?"
"I always read at night before I go to bed."
"Not this trip. You're sharing a room with me."
"What?" I froze in the middle of towel-drying my hair and stared at him, shocked.
He laughed and tossed two books over his shoulder. "Mom and Ben finally gave up trying to figure out room arrangements. They could only get two rooms at such a late date, so they were going to have me sleep with them and Mea. And then that seemed ridiculous when there was an empty double bed in the room right next door. So ..."
A slow smile spread across my face. "So I'm stuck with you for a whole week? In Key West? Me and you? Together? Like alone? All night?"
He laughed and held up a pair of pajama pants. "You won't be needing these either." He tossed them over his shoulder too. I threw a box from my nightstand into my bag and he read the label. "Trojan natural lamb. For a more sensual feeling." He held it up to me, smiling. "A twelve pack? Are you kidding me? I hope there's a First Aid kit in here somewhere too."
Key West—the southernmost point in the United States, a mere six square miles, the last in a string of keys off the tip of Florida, and a place where, as one Web site claimed, closets have no doors. But thankfully, the rooms did, with locks. Ben handed over the key with a slightly amused grin.
"I expect you two to behave."
Fortunately, our room wasn't next to theirs after all.
The week was pure magic. We filled our days with long walks on the beach and lazy swims in the ocean. We explored the island on bicycle, taking in the nineteenth-century architecture, dodging the free-roaming chickens, and chatting up barefoot hippies with tiny dogs nestled in their bicycle baskets. We wandered through Ernest Hemingway's house and speculated about Tennessee Williams's life as we stood, hand-in-hand, outside the bungalow he'd lived in decades ago. And when we got hungry, we ate Cuban sandwiches or conch fritters at a sidewalk table or sitting on the curb and watched other lovers in fearless public displays of affection.
Our nights we filled with passion and long soft gazes and sweet words. We weren't behaving ourselves, and we didn't for one moment feel guilty about that.
On Thursday evening, I paid a street performer twenty-five dollars to borrow his guitar for five minutes. It was the first time I'd played Adam his song, the song I'd written for him as a Christmas present, the song I'd not had the heart to play for him before then. And it seemed right that I'd waited. I played it for him sitting cross-legged under a street lamp in Mallory Square with the crowds and tightrope walkers and jugglers as a backdrop. He cried.
Too soon it was the last day, the sun on the beach just as intense as it had been on the first, but the water cooled our feet as we walked through the surf. Adam took my hand.
"Can I ask you something?" I said.
He smiled and strengthened his grip.
"When were you going to tell me about New York?"
Excerpted from Don't Let Me Go by J. H. TRUMBLE Copyright © 2012 by J. H. Trumble. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON BOOKS. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
All I can say is WOW!! Awakening, discovery, tenderness, heartbreak, betrayal; I could go on and on. This is an amazing novel of first and only love. Nate is a young man who is at a cross roads. He knows he is dependent on his boyfriend, but he also knows he must let Adam go so that he can fulfill his dreams. Even if it means that they will be separated for months and by countless miles. It tears his young heart apart. Adam has only been in his life for a short time, but without Adam, Noah just wouldn’t be. This is Nate’s story. His past, present and future as told with the confines of this book. It is told in his voice, be it as a young and immature teenager or as man that is wise and strong beyond his years. To be able to experience this with him is a gift. This is a love story that speaks to anyone who has ever met the other half of their heart or has experienced a long distance relationship. Nate is crushed when Adam leaves for NYC. All his insecurities and jealousies come to play, and truthfully even though Adam is an innocent bystander he does little to alleviate Nate’s feelings. This lack of communication and trust during a long distant relationship can happen between any couple and has. Matters of the heart do not know gender, race or sexual orientation. This story has nothing to do with them being lovers, it has to do with them being human beings with emotions and the games that the mind plays when we are alone and in need of our loved one. Don’t Let Me Go is told in a unique and well thought out fashion. Flashbacks to the past are wonderfully written to flow flawlessly with the present, giving you an amazing insight into Nate and Adam’s relationship. Though Nate seems childish at times, his feelings are warranted. He has a tragic past and is still raw from the experience. I felt his heartache and his triumphs. Ms. Trumble’s exceptional writing entranced the story for me and I couldn’t put the book down. Her portrayal of first love and all the pain and anguish that same sex couples go through is spellbinding. The injustice is poignant. Her depiction of how ugly bigotry and hatred can be was perfect. I was enraged during the story, but was also awed and filled with wonder. Don’t Let Me Go is just simply an extraordinary story that shouldn’t be missed. I can’t praise it enough. Bravo and well done!
I don't even know where to begin to describe the positive impact this book has had in my life. I started reading it a week ago and could not put this book down. I finished it in a week despite having finals to deal with. Nate is an amazing character I could relate to. His choices were some of the same choices i made, but my story will probably end differently. I love how the author describes the relationship between Nate and Adam. Nate always saw Adam as his hero who was always there to rescue him when he needed it. Nate felt like a burden and pushed Adam away little by little. This book is good at also describing the type of society we currently live in and is still progressing. Its 2015, I am currently a third year college student and this book still manages to relate to my life in this ever changing world. Regardless to say, I recommend this book to anyone who feels lost or confused in this world. I was lost and somehow this book helped me find myself a little.
In the end I was both completely satisfied and left wanting more. The authors realistic depiction of a teenager's coming out is inspired. I loved it! Best book I've read this year!
Its everything a great love is.
I never really write reviews for books anywhere, but with this one I felt like I had to. What drew me to this book were the names Nate and Adam. Funny enough my name is Nate and my high school boyfriend was named Adam. As I began reading the book, I could spot similarities between real events that happened in my life and real events that happened in the book. The journey of a first relationship dealing with long distance and trust is very common in any high school relationship. How much do you trust someone when one goes away to college, while you are stuck in high school for one more year. It is such a beautifully well told story that I couldn't put down! I highly recommend this book whether your name is Nate or not!
Fantastic read, twists at every turn!
This book was an introduction to an author whose books I've grown to love so much! Nate and Adam explore the difficulties of a long-distance relationship while Nate publicly copes with the aftermath of a hate crime. Nate can be a bit of a jerk at times, but given his situation and the fact that he's a teenager, it fits so incredibly well and is incredibly authentic. There were times when I laughed with him, yelled at him, and cried for him. (And a particular time when I wanted to punch him in the face myself!) But overall, this book is worth reading so many times. Loved it!
This book was a great read! I'm at a loss for words to best express how much I enjoyed the book! It's written in a way that you can easily relate with the characters in the story. I 100% recommend this to anybody!
I expected to read a typical young men's story of coming out. This book developed the main characters so well I thought I knew them. Hated to see this story end and am looking forward to the sequel.
This is an intense, emotional and gritty contemporary. I connected with Nate and felt his pain. We see all sides to this relationship, the present and then different things in flashbacks throughout the book. We get to see the uncertainty, the flirting, an even that is traumatic for Nate, and pieces of Nate and Adam's healing as well as their happy times. Nate is so vulnerable and brave all at the same time. You can clearly see the insecurities, but he also stands up for the injustices. I loved the T-shirt theme. He would wear something about gay pride and the teachers would make him repeatedly turn it inside out. Instead of stopping, he turned it into a "movement" at his school, where others would wear pride shirts or just wear inside out to support him. It really highlights the cruelty, ignorance and intolerance of some people. I do not miss high school and this shows me many reasons why. It was painful to read about what Nate and Adam went through, and had to deal with because of who they love. As a christian, I feel bad that there was people that opposed and was so cruel to Nate. I am really close with Jesus, and in no way do I think that he would have treated someone that way or stood for it. I have my own things that I do that is against what the bible speaks for or against, and I agree with what was said that they needed to get the planks out of their eye before trying to judge someone else. Danial is a great secondary character, and I loved every scene he was in. He is a straight guy, but he has ties to the gay community. I really appreciate how he stood up for and was a true friend to Nate. His back story is so touching, and it moved me so much. I was so conflicted about Luke. His mere presence put Nate in a weird place. He is a guy who is ready to come out, but worried about the ramifications, and very worried that his parents won't be supportive. Since Nate's dad didn't support it and he felt much the same way, Nate took him in and wanted to help him. This story of first and powerful love isn't perfect though. There are big misunderstandings that get in Adam and Nate's way. There is evidence that Adam is not being the guy that we believe him to be... the evidence just is not pointing his way. And then Nate does some stupid things too that made me want to smack some sense into him. But at the end of the day (or book, however you want to look at it) I felt for these characters, and I cared what happened to them. I could see where their mistakes come from, and usually the heart is in the right place, just not fully realizing what the consequences can be and who it could hurt. This book should be for mature teens and up due to drugs, language and semi-descriptive sexual acts. Nothing is too gratuitous but still a bit more descriptive than most ya lit. None of the above really bothered me though, it seemed realistic from a male pov. The ending is abrupt, but the epilogue gives more closure, and it is sweet. Bottom Line: Hardcore emotional but beautifully written story about a gay boy learning to love and accept himself, and taking others along for the ride.
I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this book. However I am always open to reading something different. Even if it stretches my normal boundaries. I like to think I am open minded when it comes to reading and therefore will try read anything. Am I ever glad that I do read just about anything and have an open mind when selecting books to read. I absolutely loved this book. At times the book is romantic, sweet, angering, and melancholy. It's about being a teenager, being in love, and being yourself. Finding out who your are and being brave enough to live life how you are no matter what obstacles are placed in front of you. Are there some things that Nate did that I did not agree with. Most definitely. I was glad with the ending. Nate and Adam's love for one another is truly a beautiful thing to read about. Yes they had difficulties and I got angry wanting to throw my book across the room at times. However in the end it was the loved that Adam and Nate felt not just for one another but for their friends that kept me reading and I was so happy I did. Nate and Adam must overcome distance, jealousy, doubt, and indiscretions in order to truly be together. Really this is what most relationships end up enduring at point or another. Thus allowing readers of any orientation to relate. I can't truly give you a review because I don't think I can do so without gushing about the book and giving away too many details. I loved all of the characters. Nate, Adam, Luke, Danial, and Juliet. They were all so real and relatable. None of them were prefect. They all had their flaws which made the book just that much more interesting to read. I have had this book for a couple of months and never read it. I am so glad I finally picked it and a little disappointed in myself for not doing so sooner. I recommend you not only put this on your to be read list but that you actually read it and not let it sit collecting dust. Read this book!!! I think it's fantastic
I absolutely loved it..I could not put it down..true love does really with stand everything...Nate let Adam go..like that saying if you love something let it go...well he did..and Adam came back...it was meant to be..thru all the pain and trials of love/hate/confusion..they toughed it out..I laughed, I cried..it really made me think..how hard it really is to grow up gay and without the support of friends and families. Luckily Nate and Adam had each other,,and family..friends like Danial..My mom is gay..says she knew she was when she was 12..she was raped several times by a group of boys..sum were cousins..but goin up in the 50's I guess was harder to come out and say...so she followed the norm, got married had kids..5 of them..they split, she went with her natural tendancies, went thru sum rough spells with the family..came out approximately 15 yrs,,lost sum family members because the disowned her..which is their loss...I love my mom..and I love her mate..altho not official..they stick by each others sides thru thick and thin..I don't think there's anything wrong with being gay..they're human just like you and I..they love, laugh, cry, fight, make mistakes..this book says it all..its a must have..I can definately see myself rereading it over and over...
Amazing depiction of teenage love. Blew me away with its honwsty and accuracy!