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Moss

Moss, of the division Bryophyta.

I read smut.  

 

Shitloads of smut.

When One Door Opens - J.D. Ruskin I thought I'd be giving this more stars, but it just never pulled together enough to get past the 'it was ok' hurdle.

It was okay.

There were parts of it that were entertaining and offbeat, and I liked when those parts suddenly flashed into view: the kids in the movie theatre, the funny little conversation at the baseball game.

And there were parts that were insightful and touching: the way Logan processes and understands Caleb's limits (and so, by extension, his own), the deep caring and trust visible as the relationship unfolds, the way all the people in Caleb's past have manipulated him one way or the other to try and affect his phobia. The author made a heroic attempt at giving the MC's respective demons screentime, and I think for the most part they succeeded in exposing their problems in a compelling, intelligent way.

There's a good thread of emerging self-awareness running through the book as well -- it's not always executed perfectly, but I really liked that the author thought to at least build that into the MC's personalities. Things like Stacy's story being a sort of allegory for what Logan could be to Caleb and vice-versa, and how Logan comes to understand that, and Logan's relationship with his friend Michael.

The overriding problem with the book was how disconnected the separate elements felt from each other. Caleb's narrative is perfectly okay as long as we stay in Caleb's head and listen to his inner monologue; the second we step out of that and Caleb tries to engage with the greater story, it all gets muddled and suddenly there's phone sex and all kinds of stuff going on that's had very little lead-in. It's the same with Logan. There's a real lack of cohesiveness between the characters' inner journeys and the way the story shapes around them.

It's at points like this that the narrative starts to make great big leaps to try and advance the storyline (presumably because the author didn't want to make it all about self-discovery), but it's the least successful thing about the book. Caleb and Logan jump very awkwardly into sex (and the author has this totally hilarious inability to close an encounter gracefully, so Caleb and Logan will kiss and then Logan will hear a timer go and say, oh I remember I have an appointment now goodbye and then actually, my hand to god, leave), and then implausibly flop into something else (like an OVERCROWDED BASEBALL GAME OMG because apparently that's the next logical step from a movie with seven people in it). And so on and so forth.

Dishonourable mention btw for the weird slut-shaming thing going on with a few of the women in the book, and the constant fucking use of the word tranny. No copping out with the whole 'appropriate language for Logan' thing either, that was seriously uncool.

So yeah, it was okay. Not as stunning as it promised to be in the opening couple of chapters, but it had its moments.

Recommended, with caveats.