My two problems: Colin and Spencer Goss.
I think I could have had more understandings for Colin if he were a random stranger, or someone whose presence in the first book was more of a neutral nature, like some ex-neighbor for example.
For me it was difficult to get used to a new transformed Colin, to Colin-a victim, and not Colin-an asshole. Despite the fact that at the end I got all logical explanations for his homophobia, his tendency to self-destruction, his pathological self-loathing and everything he did wrong in his life, I don't see it as a natural excuse for how he treated Daniel for the most part of his life.
And it has nothing to do with being gay or not, or fears or lack of self-esteem and understanding or whatever. It is ONLY about to be an older brother to a little boy.
Yes, I hated Colin in the first book, but I honestly did not hate him in the second book, I felt rather pity for him for the most part of the story: all bad things that could happen to someone did happen to him. His fears to disappoint his father, his pangs of remorse and guilt because of Daniel, his dark secrets and inability to be honest even with himself, all these could make him more to a case for a psychiatrist. You can’t NOT feel pity with him.
But I can't help, a broken Colin, who desperately tried to be someone else not to disappoint his father on the one side, and on the other side a small boy, who carried the same clothes for weeks at school, because his father drank himself to sleep for months after mother’s dead, who had to eat ordered pizza every day for so long that he practically puked at the smell of it, a kid who once asked his father if they could have cookies and a tree for Christmas and was immediately laughed at by Colin, because it was too girly, because this sweet child's wish made his father felt like he failed as a father, a kid who never mentioned Christmas again. A boy who never felt like he HAD A FAMILY who loved and cared for him.
Spencer Goss, an audio book narrator.
I really enjoyed the timbre of his voice, his emotional narration, the way he changed his voice from character to character. But I had a HUGE problem with his narrating style. When Colin was unsure or angsty or emotionally stricken or simply aroused– and it was actually his usual state – Spencer Goss started to to carve the sentences, as if there were points AFTER.EVERY.SINGLE.WORD. It drove me nuts!!! I was even closed to give up the audio book. Hadn't he had such a pleasant voice, I would have given it back for sure. I finished it with mixed feelings, hating and loving the narrator at the same time.
The bottom line:
I enjoyed the first book more.
I think that Spencer Goss is a great narrator, all he has to do is to change A BIT his narrating style. Though I assume he did it THIS WAY on purpose, BECAUSE he tried to make Colin VERY human and VERY broken to make us to forget how we hated him at the beginning of the series. Unfortunately it backfired.
Roan Parrish is a talented writer and I hope I'll like her next MCs more again.