Book review: Tristant and Elijah, by Jennifer Lavoie

TristantAndElijah Lavoie, Jennifer. Tristant and Elijah. Bold Strokes. 2014. $11.95. 207p. PB. 978162390751.

An out and proud teen with a very supportive family, Tristant has a crush on Elijah, but Tristant thinks the closeted gay boy is straight. Together they discover a letter written by Tristant’s great uncle, a gay man living in the early 1900s when LGBTQ involvement was much more dangerous. As Tristant and Elijah work together to unravel the mystery of Tristant’s uncle, their relationship with each other begins to bloom as well.

This novel is an interesting combination of a character-driven romantic story and a plot-driven historical mystery in which the reader learns as much about the Tristant’s uncle as they do about the two main characters. Tristant and Elijah’s relationship develops throughout the story, but an absence of explicit details makes this story an ideal match for young adults and even tween readers who are ready for more mature books without graphic content. The historic information makes this book an easy pairing for David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing. While the lack of friction or difficulties in Tristant and Elijah’s lives may not ring true for most LGBTQ teens, the presence of a character who is confident in his orientation will be a source of encouragement.

A conversational writing style and character-driven story makes this novel an easy public and school library recommend for fans of romance literature, especially boys who may want a romantic story without a female main character.

Jenni Frencham, Librarian
Cesar Chavez Middle School, Hayward (CA)

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