Tearing Us Apart by Amanda Clay
Publisher: Prizm Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (168 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 5 Stars
Review by: Astilbe
Julian Pham is surviving high school. Openly gay, flamboyantly goth, and Vietnamese-American, he’s just about as different as his Oklahoma City high school can tolerate. He has good friends and a supportive family, which helps, but lately his family is changing and his friends have troubles of their own. Julian is afraid he’s being left behind. Then he meets Duncan. The star of the school basketball team, Duncan has never crossed Julian’s social path. A fateful encounter one cold night brings the two young men together, igniting a romance that neither of them expected, and that both can scarcely believe. But Julian and Duncan are in different places. Julian is happily out, unconcerned with others’ opinions. And Duncan, while he knows who he is, isn’t ready to face the challenges of living out loud. Even as the two grow closer together, Julian begins to question whether he can live with Duncan’s desire for secrecy. And even if he can, does that mean he should? When the crisis of their romance leads to a shocking betrayal, Julian must decide if he will fix this love or tear it apart.
Sometimes love shows up when you least expect it.
Julian’s character development was excellent. Not only was his personality vibrant and unforgettable, the ways he reacted the things that happened to him fit in perfectly with how the narrator described him. I actually briefly wondered if this character might have been based on a actual person because of how many details there were about who he was and what he thought about all sorts of topics. That is simply how real he felt to me!
What I appreciated the most about Julian’s friends was how much they had going on their own lives. Everyone in this social circle had their own problems and triumphs that they shared with the entire group, but they also had other parts of their lives that they weren’t always so keen to reveal. I really liked the fact that the secondary characters had such well-developed backstories. It made me empathize with their struggles and hope that they’d get happy endings just as much as I hoped the main character would.
The budding romance between Duncan and Julian was handled beautifully. At first I wasn’t quite sure how a possible relationship between someone who was completely comfortable with his orientation and someone who was still coming to terms with it would work out. Seeing how this conflict was handled only made me root for this couple more, though, because of all of the obstacles in their way.
Tearing Us Apart is a must-read. I can’t emphasize enough how much I loved this book!