Yup, I am just as surprised as everyone else.
At about 35% this was a 2 star books for me. A DNF. I don't finish two star books. Ever. I have better things do than read a book I don't love. I openly complained about this book in my status report and comments. But for some reason, I stuck with it.
And it got better, and better, and better.
The first 35% or so of the book is Ryan after he enlists enduring the pain of basic training. This part of the story wasn't all that interesting to me. The drill sergeants yelled so much I was getting flinchy. Reading about the brotherhood that Ryan was building with his fighting buddies was nice, but it wasn't enough. The sexual tension between Ryan and his drill sergeant similarly not enough.
Then basic training ends and the boys are sent overseas to serve. The next part of the book is staged as letters between them. We see how much they have grown, how much they appreciate what their drill sergeants taught them, how deep their friendship runs. We see their personalities, their quirks, their sense of humor in the face of adversity.
Then we get more narrative and the love story really begins to take shape. It has a few hot moments, but it was more like a slow burn. I came to love the MCs and the cast of supporting characters. They felt like real people to me dealing with war, deployments, death, family, injuries.
So, a big thank you to my GR friends who convinced me to stick with this. I am glad I read it. I guess I can enjoy a book with minimal sexual content. Who knew?