Title: The Cranberry Hush
Author: Ben Monopoli
Type: Original Fiction
Genre: Contemporary Gay (sort of) Romance (kind of), maybe? I'd just call it General Fiction in which the main character happens to not be straight (he's bi).
Rating: PG-13 maybe?
Link 1: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10768069-the-cranberry-hush
Link 2: On Amazon (Kindle)
Vince Dandro might be going through the quietest quarter-life crisis of all time. He lives alone, works in a comic book shop, and has a crush on his coworker he can't seem to act on. Like an old comic book, his life's colors have started to fade. Everything brightens when Vince's long-lost friend Griff appears on his doorstep in the middle of a blizzard. They were roommates in college, so close back then that Griff's girlfriend called them "lifebuddies" -- but Vince's love for Griff had ended the friendship, he thought, forever. They haven't spoken in years. Why has Griff shown up again? And, more importantly, can Vince handle his return?
Vince and Griff are two twentysomethings struggling to find their places in the world and in each other's lives. This is a story of friendship and love, both unrequited and requited, and of learning how to fly through the post-college void, which just might hold more than a cranberry hush.
Obviously, since it's on this list, I really liked this book. It wasn't entirely perfect, but it was close, particularly since it's the author's first published novel. Ben has a fairly tight writing style--he doesn't hit you over the head and leaves you to figure out a lot of things on your own, which I appreciate. There's little worse than an author who doesn't trust the reader enough to leave some things unsaid and instead rambles on about stuff we should have (and would have) picked up on our own if given the chance. This book does some very brave things, and it ended up being one of those stories that I thought about for days after I finished it.
It immediately endeared itself to me by taking place in New England (the author lives in Boston). As a bonus, there's a lighthouse on the cover of the novel, and I love lighthouses.
And it's only $4 for Kindle, which seems crazy. I'm not sure I'll ever get used to really good books being so inexpensive.
A note about the "Romance" part of the genre label above: there might be a love story aspect to the story, but it's by no means a typical romance novel. Far from it (read: don't expect sex).