THE YEAR OF ICE by Brian Malloy
Not sure how I stumbled across this gem. It’s a darker take on the gay coming of age novel set in 1978 Minnesota. After reading the works of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli (both of which are must-reads within queer YA), I was looking for other novels within the gene. The story delves into the character’s internal struggles with his sexuality, but explores deeper struggles with his father and the tragic death of his mother two years earlier. The novel stayed with me for a while after finishing, largely because of the intensity of the father-son relationship, and the endurance of the protagonist. All of the secondary characters bring so much to the story, including the women his father dates and an eccentric neighbor, that really bring the world to life.