"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Tristant and Elijah by Jennifer Lavoie

This review is spoiler free!!

This book is adorable. Tristant has had a crush on his seemingly straight classmate Elijah for years. When Elijah visits him at work one day, they discover a mysterious old letter in his great-great uncle's book. Together they attempt to uncover what it's all about.

I love Trisant.

Attending parties had always been awkward for me, and this one was no exception. When the music blared loud enough to vibrate the windows, did you knock or just walk in? What if you didn't know the person well? And then there was the matter of once you actually got inside the house: everyone stared at you, trying to figure out who you were and what you were doing there.
Very relatable. But he's also very dense. It takes him forever to figure out that Elijah isn't so straight. Even after Elijah kisses him, he still doesn't think he's gay. Really, dude?

There's basically two stories in this book - the romance between Trisant and Elijah (and Elijah gradually coming out of the closet) and the romance between Tristant's great-great uncle Glenn and his classmate Jesse, told through Uncle Glenn's journal. The differences between their situations are illustrated beautifully. Obviously being gay wasn't so accepted in 1909. I've done a lot of research on gay history (for my dissertation and also just because it's super interesting). It was nice to read a book that acknowledges the immense progress that's been made in the last century. While Elijah is scared to come out, he doesn't have to worry that coming out will mean being thrown in jail.

How awful to have lived back then. Today was bad enough, with queer teens getting ridiculed every day. But at least we could be out, and most of didn't have to give a shit what others thought about us if we didn't want to. But Uncle Glenn...

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