Book Reviews

Where You Are by J.H. Trumble at Kensington Publishing

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Romance
Reviewed by Jamie Deacon on 14-August-2013

Book Blurb

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.


Book Review

Romantic relationships between teachers and their students is always going to be a sensitive issue, and one which I’m sure many readers will find controversial. Teachers have a duty of care to protect the pupils in their charge, and a clear line marks the boundary of what is considered acceptable behavior. Yet, can it ever be appropriate, or even forgivable, for a teacher to cross that line? In her follow-up to the highly acclaimed Don’t Let Me Go, J.H. Trumble confronts this question head on, displaying not only tremendous courage, but a heartfelt understanding when it comes to the powerful and often unpredictable nature of love.

Seventeen-year-old Robert Westfall’s life is collapsing around him. The father with whom he has always had a difficult relationship is dying, his domineering aunts and their spoilt offspring have virtually taken up residence in the family home, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that he and his boyfriend have nothing in common. Only in math class, where every problem has a solution, does he feel remotely in control. Robert has long-since harbored a crush on their young calculus teacher. Quite apart from being handsome, Mr. McNelis is extremely charismatic and takes a personal interest in his students, so when everything starts to get on top of him, it’s to Andrew Robert turns for help.

Andrew McNelis loves his job. He has a passion for math, and makes it his mission to get the best out of every one of his students. It’s immediately apparent to him, therefore, when Robert, one of his star pupils, is struggling with problems beyond the realm of calculus. Wary of straying into dangerous territory, Andrew nevertheless can’t resist lending Robert a sympathetic ear. Gradually, private classroom conversations progress to the exchanging of text messages, and then to secret assignations. Both know what they’re doing is forbidden. However, as their relationship deepens from friendship to something more, they have neither the strength nor desire to fight it.

What struck me most about this book was its authenticity. The story breathes emotion from every page, so much so that my stomach frequently tied itself in knots fretting over the heroes and what they were going through. Still, not at any point did it feel contrived or overdone. Robert and Andrew are immensely human, easy to love, but also flawed. Their decisions may not always be the wisest ones, but their actions are wholly believable. Even while my heart was in my mouth, fearing for the consequences of what they were doing, I never once stopped rooting for them or wanting them to find happiness.

This novel is a must-read for anyone who enjoys romances that are complex, tender, and incredibly real. I couldn’t put it down.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 320 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 24-December-2012
Price $9.99 ebook, $15.00 paperback
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