Just Between Us: J. H. Trumble: Book review

May 1, 2014

Just Between UsJust Between Us

J. H. Trumble.

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.

Our protagonist Luke Chesser has found his man, and he’s all the things he’s ever wanted from a man and then he goes and dumps him.  The guy he’s in love with has just been diagnosed HIV + and is ashamed and worried and it’s from here that the story picks up and becomes an interesting discussion and dissection of the motivations of people in relationships, the things they will put up with for love, the things that are unbearable and the things which make it all worthwhile in the end. It’s also a sweet book about first love and the power and passion that evokes in us all.

The book concentrates on the feelings of these two very young men and how they choose to confront and adapt to the complex and difficult feelings that being in love and not being perfect throws up. The author has also included some supportive and understanding family members which adds to the depth of emotional pull in this book.  The prose is clear and easy to follow; the plot follows sensible principals and the characters are believable, although I never quite felt that I liked either of them, but perhaps that’s more to do with my old cynical side rather than the author’s ability to represent honest romantic conflict.  It’s all a little bit idealistic though, however most folk won’t mind that.

This book follows on from Trumble’s previous work and has the same  ‘we might be flawed but are striving to be better’ feel about it.  It’s an engaging story and one which will keep you reading. It’s also good to read a book that deals with HIV and young people and the consequences of their wild sexual and abandoned behaviour catching up with them, but without too much judgment just a lot of reflection and soul searching.  It’s not often that HIV is treated with such a candid and emotionally honest  attitude which is carefully explored through the struggles of the characters in this book to find a relationship that works for them and including their serodiscordantcy as a major plot theme makes this a stronger story.

At heart this is a sweet coming of age love story with a twist.

Out now £10.99

For more info about the book see the author’s website here: