This is one of the best coming of age stories I've ever read. McDonald takes a familiar and overused theme and works many different angles into it to make it stand out. Set in rural France, it adds atmosphere to the story, and the main character, Adam, is for once a fairly complex person; likable but by no means perfect; intelligent, but capable of making serious and potentially dangerous mistakes. Considering the book may have been aimed primarily aimed at young people, there is quite a substantial number of sex scenes, some quite graphic. However, McDonald handles it very well, and at no time is the story in danger of degenerating into smuttiness. In fact, the sex scenes are an integral part of the plot. The book is at odds with so many 'erotic' stories out there, it manages to pull off so much more without even trying to be erotic. If only more gay-themed stories could do the same!
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