It's a book about acceptance and self-discovery. Of overcoming your fears and social disorders to finally being able to be happy and content. Mark grows so much over the story. In the beginning he's miserable and alone, scared to come out of his shell because he's gay. Over the course of the story, he realizes being gay is not as horrible as he thought from being raised by a homophobic father. He sees there are people who accept individuals for who they are and he grows to ultimately accept himself. Seth helps him in a surprising way because he's willing to take things as slow as Mark needs and help Mark work through all his emotions. It's powerful and sweet.
I really adored these characters. Mark is so cute with his shyness and how crippling that social disorder is for him which makes him freeze up and stutter in front of men he's attracted to or large crowds. He has severe anxiety in a lot of situations but most stem down to having to do with being gay. He's scared so much of that side of himself that he keeps it in secret and bolts when things start to escalate between him and Seth. Seth was a great character as well. I felt like he was made perfectly for Mark because he knew how to handle Mark, sort of as if Mark was a skittish animal.
It was nice seeing these two circle around each other and I loved seeing Mark try to work through his problems and learn that just because he's gay, doesn't mean he deserves to be lonely and miserable the rest of his life. He realizes he could be happy, open and in a loving relationship. I loved his awkwardness around Seth and how he just couldn't get passed the intensity between them. It was definitely palpable.
The only problem I had with the story is about halfway the story started to drag. I think Mark's internal monologue became a little excessive. I also would have liked a few more scenes of Seth and Mark actually alone together (outside of having sex) so we could have gotten to know them better with the way they act around each other in close quarters. But, I loved Belle, Mark's dog, and I loved the role Claire played in helping Mark understand what Seth is to him. Mark's sister-in-law, Lisa, played a nice role as well and it was funny seeing Mark taking care of her, since she's pregnant, and people mistaking him for his brother, Pete, who's away at war. There were definitely enough laughs to make this story heart-warming and an easy read.
All in all, I really enjoyed it. I loved Mark's social disorder and Seth's instinctive way of soothing Mark. It was a fun, sweet and interesting tale with a great ending. I would love to see these guys again to see how Mark is coping with his new-found courage and see how their relationship is working.