So, I have a lot of rambling thoughts about this book that I’m not even sure I’ll be able to put down here – and definitely not coherently. When I initially finished this book, I felt it a solid 4 stars. I LOVED it, except for one area. I’m not a religious person by any means. I went to an all-girls Catholic school for years, and we were allowed to take a year off of Math and Science, but it was required to take a religious studies course every year. Mass was every Friday. We had Chapel. We had nuns with rulers. My father hasn’t missed mass in probably 50 years. That all said, I don’t know, it never stuck with me. I never felt it necessary or guilty that I wasn’t religious. My dad’s best friend was a gay man with HIV. My mom went to Paris with herself and 30 gay men. So I never grew up with the impression anyone not heterosexual could be looked at as anything other than another potential friend or loved one. All of this kind of combined and when I read what Brandon was feeling, I just kept thinking, “I don’t relate to this at all.” Mind you, I never felt it was intrusive, and I was glad the Father was a genuine nice guy, but it still felt like this element that kept appearing in the book and throwing me off.So I focused on the rest. The characters, the amazing I swear we are twins humor, the road trip (something I love in all books), the likeable female friend, the personal growth, the pains of growing up, finding love, and finding friends. That was what I initially focused on.But, I thought about this book more and more. It stuck with me. And I realized that themes or threads in life can be relatable without being something directly mirroring your life – this including the religion element. That feeling of not living up to what people want you to be, that feeling of your loved ones being disappointed in you – and often your aware of what you are doing and even though it’s not purposeful you can’t switch off your feelings or brain in a way that they wish you could. That feeling of being totally overwhelmed and in your head, but being so scared. And then you find someone - a friend, a partner, etc. and you want so desperately to go with the flow and relax. Let yourself get lost in the moment. Be someone that others think you are, be someone else that you wish you were. But if it’s real, they’ll love you for who you are faults and all. And that’s the best aspect about this book. It felt real. Painful, embarrassing, joyful, amusing, and a whole lot of wtfuckery. These boys felt their age to me. Plastic figurines and all. Hell, I have a Game of Thrones John Snow doll proudly displayed on my desk at work. That sense of being part of a community and your place in that community can change often. That sense of people you looked up to letting you down. That sense of someone surprising you in ways and then you surprising yourself. That sense of finding peace when you focus on you.Of course, there is so much more. Fandom and all its joys and ridiculousness. The bonding over characters and stories that others would give you the side-eye for, but then you find people that get it. The fact that the story ends uncertainly fits too because we never stop growing, changing, and learning. Brandon and Abel are two characters that make me grin so hard and stop and sigh.This book is the cat’s pajamas and I’m Team Abandon all the way. Changed it to 5 stars.