Monday, September 2, 2013

Review: Where You Are by J.H. Trumble

Where You Are
Where You Are by J.H. Trumble
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.
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    So, before reading this, I was wary. Because in my mind, the student and teacher should be just that. There should be no lines crossed, under any circumstances. But in this one, 24 year old Andrew is the teacher, and 18 year old Robert are the teacher and student, and J.H. changed my mind. Because I was in their heads, and because there was more than just attraction. In trying to be there for his student, Andrew, Mr. McNelis listens to Robert, helps him with his school work and they develop a trust. 
   Lines are crossed a little at a time, and they fall for one another, and somehow I find myself rooting for them even though I know that it is against the law, and they both knew it was wrong, it was so hard not to wish that their love could work out. I think that I forgot why it was wrong until something was thrown in their face because of the depth of their love and how well it is described. At the bottom of it all is Andrew wanting to be there for Robert in his time of sorrow, guilt, and confusion. And Robert finding solace and love at the same time and both fighting hard to keep the rare treasure that they found. 
    Besides the forbidden romance that made my heart pound, there was also some great character depth. They both had things they were dealing with. Robert's dad was slowly dying from brain cancer, and he was struggling with feelings of loss and also that they were never all that close. He yearns for that relationship and wishes that it was there. He feels like a bad person that he just wishes his dad would pass instead of what they are going through and the pain he's in. 
     Andrew is dealing with an ex-wife and a daughter, and he made some bad decisions that compounded the already unique but strained relationship with Maya his ex wife. They are best friends, but Maya has always wanted that love relationship with him, and that puts stress on the relationship. 
    I also loved that I was put back in this world, since I read Just Between Us first, I already knew a bit about Robert, and knew so much about Luke and Curtis and the band dynamics, and that was so neat to be a part of that again. 
    This is emotional, powerful and makes you think. I had to see how far each would go for love, and if  Andrew could risk or give up the career he loves and is good at for a chance at true love. 
    The ending was powerful and not completely happily ever after, because you know if a story like this is to be realistic that everything can't work out perfectly. But I think that Ms. Trumble handled that well and made it believable but still created something that I wanted to read. 
    
Bottom Line: Emotional and wonderfully written book where the student teacher relationship is written so naturally and over time that made me think.

My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think that student teacher relationships are okay under ANY circumstances?
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28 comments:

  1. This sounds lovely, Brandi. I would be wary too because stories like these tend to not have a happy ending. I'm interested, though. Adding this to my pile.

    Thanks!

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  2. Glad you enjoyed it, even though you were worried at first :) Not a book for me yet, but it does sound pretty interesting. <3

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  3. I'm not sure if this a book that I pick up, but it does sounds emotional. Glad you enjoyed it.

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  4. I agree -- intimate teacher/student relationships in fiction make me uncomfortable, though at least the student is 18. Glad you enjoyed it!

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

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  5. Teacher/student relationships are very hard for me to read. Knowing you feel the same way, and that this story worked for you makes this review very valuable.
    So glad you enjoyed, Brandi!

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  6. I've been seeing a lot of the student/teacher relationships lately and I'm finding there either hit or miss for me. I think usually the college student/professor types are a little easier for me to digest than anything with a HS student involved. Great review!

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  7. Sounds like an interesting exploration into the student/pupil relationship. I think it can be so much more difficult when there isn't much of an age gap. Like policemen, teachers seem to be getting younger, not like the teachers when I was at school.

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  8. Not my type of book but nice review and I'm glad you liked it =)

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  9. I know exactly what you mean by a relationship like that that is written realistically. We both reviewed books about student teacher relationships today! I do like the forbidden romance aspect of it all, to read about about, but it's such taboo in the real world. Great review and question!

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  10. You have me curious, and I love when an author makes you connect and see all sides to a taboo subject.

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  11. I've only read one book about a student teacher relationship, and it didn't go very well, but I'm definitely curious about this one now, especially if it packs an emotional punch. Great review!

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  12. Not exactly a big age difference

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  13. The only student-teacher relationship I've been able to enjoy so far is Layken and Will from Slammed. They worked so wonderfully. Oh, but I do think Gabriel and her loved one by Sylvain Reynard was a great one, too. So glad you were able to enjoy this one!

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  14. Even though the age differences don't bother me, the student teacher relationship would. I mean, wait until they graduated to start the relationship. It's what? A few months? So, yea, I think I would have a problem with the book. :)

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  15. This book really has me curious. It seems like it would make me ponder some things. Great review :)

    Janina @ Synchronized Reading

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  16. This one sounds very emotional and good.

    I don't think teacher/student relationships are appropriate under any circumstances. If the two people care that deeply about each other, they should be able to wait until they are no longer in that situation (ie: the student graduates).

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  17. Thanks for sharing that you found the story thought-provoking. I guess it's not easy to define what's okay or what's not okay but if two people are in love with one another, I'd like to think that they'd do something to work things out. Loved your review :)

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  18. I kind of hate you because you've made me want to read this so badly. It looks so unique.

    Thanks for the comment two weeks ago. I'm following and you are kind of, well actually incredibly, awesome.

    Rebecca of Vicariously!

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  19. It would be very hard to get behind an unlawful relationship in a book so I can see how that would be a difficult read. Must be a great author to get that to work out to have you rooting so well for the characters in this situation. I'm so glad it turned out to be a great and emotional read for you. Jaclyn @ JC's Book Haven.

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  20. I really loved this book, and I definitely rooted for their relationship. I think student/teacher relationships can happen when it's like this book and the age different isn't that much. I've had teachers in high school that were very close to my age. I do think it should wait until they graduate though because then there are no issues concerning legality, etc.

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  21. I hadn't heard of this one before your review, but I do appreciate a book that has well-written characters. Not sure I can get on board with a teacher/student relationship though, although I'm glad that the ending does seem to be realistic.

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  23. I agree, the student teacher romance thing is so taboo for me but an author can do it right. Happy this one was good.

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  24. it's intriguing. I confess I would have been like you too. But it's interesting to see it changed your mind.

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  25. I don't think the age difference bothers me as much as the teacher/student dynamic, but I suppose there are instances, in college especially, that I'd be ok with. This does sound like a thought-provoking read!

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  26. I don't think the teacher/student relationship is ever okay because of the position of power the teacher holds. That can't just be erased or wished away. Glad this deals with the subject sensitively.

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  27. Popped in today via Joyous Reads' blog, because she said it was your review that persuaded her to read this book. It sounds fascinating! The teacher/student thing is one of those situations where I NEVER think it's okay in real life, but I do find it a fascinating topic to explore in fiction.

    I recently read a couple of other books on this subject that were really well done in terms of getting inside the characters' heads: TAMPA by Alison Nutting and UNTEACHABLE by Leah Raeder. Definitely worth checking out sometime if you're curious! Thanks for your review of this book, too.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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