How do I love thee, Rebuilding Year? Let me count the ways.I love thee for thy double GFY theme.
-- The fact that neither John nor Ryan had previously had an attraction to another man took the normal GFY story line to a different place. I kept wondering how the MCs could ever come together romantically. Every time I thought it was about to happen, it didn't. And then it did.I love thee for thy coming out.
-- When an MC comes out to his parents, siblings, and friends, in a M/M romance, it is often awkward and sometimes does not work out well. Here John had to come out to his teenage children, custody-controlling manipulative ex-wife, and her homophobic new husband. There was no walking away from these people if they did not accept him. I have not seen this situation play out before in a story and I love how it was handled. I love thee for thy communication between the MCs.
-- There was no Big Misunderstanding here to drive the plot along, thank goodness. Ryan and John communicated with each other, supported each other, and stuck together. Refreshing!I love thee for thy balance between the subplot and the relationship building.
-- There was a murder mystery in this story. But it was secondary and did not distract from Ryan and John's relationship. Quite unusually, I didn't find myself skimming through the mystery parts trying to get to the next point where John and Ryan were together. I love thee for thy surprise drama.
-- Almost every book has a point where something goes a bit (or a lot) wrong and there is a big drama. The whole book I assumed that John, or maybe Ryan, would be accused of the murders, but that did not happen. Instead there was the fire. Ryan's act of courage took the relationship to a whole new level.
Okay, yeah, I loved thee all around. There was one issue I had with the story and it was a big one but it only lasted a few sentences so I am only deducting .25 stars for it. When John's son, Marcus, caught John and Ryan kissing for the first time and Ryan went to talk to him, Ryan implied that if John was forced to choose between Ryan and Marcus because Marcus couldn't accept the relationship, that he hoped that John would choose him over Marcus. What a crappy thing to say to a kid in that situation. He probably didn't mean it like it sounded but still, ick.I love thee to the depth and breadth and height of 4.75 stars