The Telling by Eden Winters
A well-paced, unfolding story of a war veteran trying to overcome his demons and discover who he is, and the young man who helps guide him on his journey. Everything felt realistic and tasteful while dealing with difficult topics. The bedroom scenes were well written and appropriate for Michael's state of mind, a matter Winters always kept in mind.
What I liked
Emotions. If Jay hadn't had a long-standing crush on Michael's picture, then the relationship between the two men would never have worked. Because he did, his feelings and actions were more believable, cementing a support system for Michael.
Struggles. I enjoyed their small miscommunications/misunderstandings in the beginning that caused a little strife but didn't linger. As the story developed, so did the problems, most of them resulting from Michael's innerself, but also realistic things like coming out and Jay's looming graduation.
Moments. Michael isn't completely broken, but he's not completely stable either. Winters did an excellent job of keeping the balance by using little moments (like when he wakes in the morning) to show the random terror he feels in life. He also experiences larger fears (being outside in the open), which are continued as bigger issues that become hurdles for him to overcome.
What didn't work
Pathos. While I liked the characters, there was no real depth of plot to make me extremely attached to them. When something happened to one, I felt a twinge of sadness, but not much else. I don't think this is necessarily a terrible thing, but it is the weakest point of the novel.