Just Between Us by J.H. Trumble
Seventeen-year-old Luke Chesser is trying to forget his spectacular failure of a love life. He practices marching band moves for hours in the hot Texas sun, deals with his disapproving father, and slyly checks out the new band field tech, Curtis Cameron. Before long, Luke is falling harder than he knew he could. And this time, he intends to play it right.
Since testing positive for HIV, Curtis has careened between numbness and fear. Too ashamed to tell anyone, Curtis can't possibly act on his feelings. And Luke--impulsive, funny, and more tempting than he realizes--won't take a hint. Even when Curtis distances himself it backfires, leaving him with no idea how to protect Luke from the truth.
Confronting a sensitive topic with candor and aplomb, acclaimed author J. H. Trumble renders a modern love story as sweet, sharp, and messy as the real thing, where easy answers are elusive, and sometimes the only impossible thing is to walk away.
Publishes in US: September 24th 2013 by Kensington
Genre: YA Contemp
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Luke and Curtis had my heart from page one. Just Between Us has these beautifully crafted characters that have strengths and flaws making them realistic and making me cheer for them as well as feel right along with them. J.H. has a way of writing relationships that make you fall in love right along with them, and understand their trials, feel their highs, and tingle with anticipation of what will happen next.
This is a timely book on HIV, and Curtis is just like everyone else, he made a few bad decisions, but they caught up to him. And it not only drastically changed his life, but the ones of his family and the boy Luke who fell in love with him, and stuck by his side even when he finds out the risk to him and what changed Curtis's life. The medical facts seem well researched but they don't beat you over the head with them, we learn as Curtis learns about it.
But if you think this is only an issues book you will be missing out, because at the core, it is a love story. Showing that love doesn't matter race, gender, illness, it just happens. There is a spark, and a lot of tension that preceded their relationship, but I loved every part of it. The stolen words and glances made this semi-slow build and finally into a ignition towards the end.
Another aspect about this that I loved was the family involvement. While neither family was perfect or whole, each had one supportive parent, and their relationships with their siblings made the story shine. While Luke deals with his dad who at first is not at all accepting, they later form a tentative relationship, and watching that grow and change as well as Matt's comments to spur their dad on was pretty awesome.
I should note there is an age difference. Its only three years but Luke is in high school and Curtis is in college. It didn't bother me because they had things in common and it's like a freshman with a senior to me. There are also some pretty steamy scenes, nothing too left field for the ya genre, but might make some uncomfortable. I personally loved every second of it, and it made me love the story even more.
Everything isn't all roses and chocolate between Curtis and Luke, they get in some pretty intense disagreements and they both do some pretty hurtful things to the other, but to me, it makes it more realistic. It is gritty, but I think that all that happens can be chalked up to hurting teens and not knowing how to handle such a huge thing in their life.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you know anyone with HIV?