With its vague metaphysical motif leading the way in some respects, I was truly finding myself totally absorbed in this extremely well-written and otherwise quite realistic coming-of-age novel. Having read the Amazon editorial piece and the extant reviews (one of which mentioned the HEA ending referenced in MY review title), I thought I knew exactly where the story was going and with whom I would be traveling as the plot proceeded in that direction. Then, just past the novel's halfway point and totally out of the blue, the author figuratively - but savagely - kicked me in the gut and stabbed me in the heart. Down for the count, I turned off the Kindle and let it rest on my pounding chest. Jeez! After making a real investment in how I thought this would turn out, I was left completely bereft of that emotional investment; I decided I couldn't finish reading the book. I poured myself a glass of Merlot to calm my nerves and my hurting heart.
A few minutes later however, I felt that by picking up the book again - in the way readers' minds sometimes work - I could thereby take the grieving Ryan into my arms and hold him. He needed someone; he needed me (since I had been through what he was going through). Or, perhaps more likely, I needed him; I needed to continue holding onto him (since I had been through what he was going through). Still, even with such rationales, did it ever hurt.
Please don't get me wrong. I'm glad I decided to finish the book. And though it seemed, somehow, a little rushed and a bit like some literary afterthought, the conclusion provided a fitting and believable HEA. And I appreciated that even though it didn't - at least for me - bring comfort enough to make up for what had gone before. I honestly think the story line could have continued apace, resolving whatever needed to be resolved (the murder, Ryan's future and the question of his sexuality, the "problem" of his visions, Ryan's feelings for Dave) without having to force - midway through - the inclusion of a horridly sad turn of events.
This is one of those rare books which I found myself loving even as I felt totally let down by how it all came to be. Take from this what you will.