Sometimes it's that ONE little thing in a story that either make it or break it for specific reader. A little thing that others don't see as an issue but for you it becomes so big a deal; a deal breaker.
For me, that one little thing in this story is the early (and continuously boring) sexual thoughts and sex scenes. It's just that the whole sex feels corny and cheap, like coming out of the porn stories at Nifty. It just killed my mood right off the bat. Once the mood was gone, I found it difficult to care for the rest. I just skimmed everything, racing to the end, so I could start another book.
Let me list out the things that made this story a crappy experience for me:
** Right from chapter 1, I have to deal with Ryder's sexual thoughts about others, including Snake. He would go on, and on, and on, about it. Look, I know that he was 18, he was horny, it was sexual deliberation, but for me as a reader, it was plain BORING.
** Then when it came to the sex scenes itself, seriously, the explanation and the dialogs: "The delight of cum exploding within, all warm and wonderful.", "Eat it" (referring to the cum), "boy pussy", the snowballing, the part where Snake serviced a police officer to escape jail (where Ryder just watched, that sense of voyeurism) -- REALLY, it felt like PORN. If I want porn, I will READ porn. Porn is not romance in my book. Totally different thing.
** Then we have the usual drama of teenagers being beaten and tossed out by his family for being queer, the gay bashing ... okay, okay, I admit, this thing still exists even now, in the 3rd millennium. It's a serious thing, an issue that we have in our society. I'm not downplaying that. However, I have also reached the stage in my MM romance READING, where I get tired with such theme. Where I want different social issues or daily life problems to be presented. Yes, it's an important issue but not one I am excited about for the time being.
** Oh, and don't forget baby as endearment, okay? Nail in THAT coffin.
So yeah, maybe I miss the bigger point, maybe I miss the journey of Michael Ryder, an 18-year-old gay teenager, in 1976 America, who was going to the West, to San Fransisco, with the hopeful dream to be himself: a queer man. I'm sure it's my crappy mood that play the significant role in my rating this.
Usually, for MEH and forgettable book, I could still give it 3-stars, but since all I could remember about this story was my being bored, and moaning, and bitching ... well, I could only gave it my 2-stars.