Friday, August 29, 2014

Tristant and Elijah by Jennifer Lavoie

Tristant and Elijah* * 1/2

Tristant Whitfield has had a secret crush on straight Elijah Cambridge since the start of high school. He’s okay keeping his distance, but when Elijah starts visiting him at work and bringing his favorite coffee, Tristant begins to wonder if there’s something more there.

Then Elijah uncovers a scandalous old letter from Tristant’s great uncle tucked away in a book, and the two boys begin a journey through journals and letters to discover the real Uncle Glenn and the secrets he hid from his family. And Tristant realizes that Elijah has been hiding something as well.

A secret that just might change everything.


I had a hard time connecting to either of the characters in this story.  Tristant was a bit of a drama queen. And not in a fun endearing way (yes, that exists).  There were a few times he referred to himself as a drama queen; in a self deprecating way that fell short of humorous because it was so painfully true.  And Elijah just seemed somewhat unavailable to the reader.  I didn’t know enough about him other than he liked horror movies and video games and he was afraid to tell people he was gay.  For me it was all on the surface which made it almost impossible to connect with his character.   

I understood Elijah’s desire to reach out to Tristant.  How could he not?  Here is a classmate that has successfully done the one thing that Elijah is most afraid to do – come out.  What I didn’t understand was Elijah’s romantic interest in Tristant.  They seemed to have no connection other than Elijah’s fear of coming out and Tristant’s great uncle’s diary. 

There were two positive things that stood out to for me.  First, I loved that this story provides young readers with a protagonist that is not only comfortable in his own skin but also has family that supports him 100%.  The second thing the journal.  Tristant and Elijah slowly read Tristant’s great Uncle Glenn’s journal together  What unfolds is a heartbreaking story of a gay young man in the early 1900’s.  I found myself much more engaged with this story.  And although I had an idea of where Uncle Glenn’s story would go I was still on pins and needles.  Honestly, make that story into a novel and I would read it.  Even though I already know how it ends.

This was not my favorite LGBT YA but the fact of the matter is if this story makes into just one LGBT youth’s hands and gives them characters and story to connect to then that is what truly matters.


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