13 July 2011

Review: Jeff Erno - Trust Me

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ebook, 366 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Dreamspinner Press (first published February 21st 2009)
ISBN: 139781615815814.
Characters: Shawn Graham, Bobby Wilder
Book read from my personal library 
Summary from Goodreads:
Shawn Graham and Bobby Wilder couldn’t be more different. Shawn is a devout Christian fundamentalist from northern Michigan; Bobby is a street-smart, latchkey kid from southern Ohio. From an early age, they are both confused and troubled by their attraction to the same sex. Shawn believes that homosexuality is sinful, and a traumatic incident of childhood sexual abuse adds to his guilt and shame. Bobby has an image to maintain and flatly denies the possibility that his same-sex attractions even exist. He's just too cool to be gay. When they finally connect, their preconceptions are suddenly dwarfed by what they feel for each other.

They become inseparable and fall deeply in love; however, love doesn’t make life easy. Plans are in motion that will surely devastate the young couple. Painful experiences of the past overshadow happy memories, and heartbreaking obstacles loom over the possibility of a future. If Shawn and Bobby want to stay together, they will have to fight with everything they have.

My Review

First Impression:
Can I just say; Wow! Trust Me is one of those books that popped up on my radar, refused to leave and delivered an unexpected mind blowing reading experience. I never thought I would be so drawn in to the lives of Shawn and Bobby but right from the bat, Jeff Erno managed to give these two boys a compelling voice. It’s a classic trope of ‘good boy – bad boy’ but it never fails to keep me enamored with the dynamics between the two types. The author takes the reader through the years where certain events occur in both Shawn and Bobby’s life that would affect the young men they would become in the present storyline. Layer upon layer the author brought two very distinct personalities to life who became fully fleshed-out characters by the time I reached the point where the lives of Bobby and Shawn interjected.

Throughout his life Bobby has been neglected by his parents who divorced when he was young. He had to take care of himself in which he developed a devil-may-care attitude, befriends the wrong kind of kids and basically goes his own way. That all changes when his mother decides a summer at his father’s might straiten him out. Bobby is this classic case of hard on the outside, soft on the inside. His loud-mouth actions speak against what goes on inside his heart but this defense mechanism has worked for him so long, it is hard to change. And this becomes the very fact why I loved Bobby so! The two opposites in him made him flawed but endearing.

Shawn also has his fair share of troubles to deal with as a kid. What I found so fascinating in him was his instilled faith in Jesus as his savior. How it affected his way of thinking, how it affected every action in his life and shaped the young man he came to be. He was this good kid, who did good things yet fear was an every slumbering part of Shawn that fueled certain thoughts and actions. Even though Shawn was a good kid this was no guarantee he wouldn’t encounter bad people or had to deal with horrifying events. There were at times where I thought Shawn was almost too good a kid to be real. Yet, as I read on it became evident that it was just an innate part of him as his faith.

The Story:
What I found absolutely mesmerizing to read was the fact how religion and faith clashed with thoughts and feelings. The gradual exploration of Shawn’s angst’s was gripping and his internal thoughts provided a very intimate connection to him. The gradual progress of Shawn coming to realize a few truths of his own by the time he neared adulthood was superbly done. ‘Bad boy’ Bobby shared some of those same fears but dealt with it in an entirely different matter and when push came to shove he took his feelings and acted on them. The relationship dynamics was not only done with realism, it showcased a very intricate synergy between the main characters, exposing their true natures. The connection that was irrevocably establishes so very early on only grew stronger with each shared moment. As the story progressed with heart rendering difficult moments it brought a poignant story to paper which I can re-read for many more times to come.

Jeff Erno manages to incorporate many topics in Trust Me; sexual abuse, divorce, religion, bullying, substance abuse, first love, first time sex. Sometimes things were repeatedly told throughout the story which stalled the flow of the story and it made me wonder why the author did that. Still, it simultaneously also emphasized on the balance between the good and bad in life. Some of the good was definitely the friendship turning in to a budding romance. It was sweet, endearing but also infused with angst and some very teenage lustful moments. The bad, oh, the author delivered on the bad by the end of the story. There were signs but my mind refused to acknowledge them and one specific momentum laid all the desperation and pain bare of various characters. It was the culmination of various story threads, of course choices had to be made, but it was a moment for me where I feared for the happily ever after.

Synonyms for Trust Me:
Emotional – heart-breaking – angst – great characterization – beautiful – tender & in-depth.

Final conclusion:
Trust Me is a story where Shawn and Bobby demanded my attention and sucker-punched me with what they had to say. Even though all the trials and tribulations will emotionally wring you out the HEA is absolutely worth it. This is truly a phenomenal coming-of-age story! 

4.5 stars

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  1. I didn't rate this one nearly as high as you did, mostly because of all the lecturey interludes...

  2. Hhhmmmm, I guess I missed on the lecturey interludes. I thought there was a bit too much on the recap but other than that it was good *duh* you got that from my review ;)


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