Saints of Augustine (2007), by P. E. Ryan

A complex look at two former friends, each dealing with serious issues in their adolescent years.  Charlie is living with a depressed and drinking newly widower father, and owes money to the local marijuana dealer; Sam has problems admitting his homosexuality, even to himself.  The parallel narrative perspectives flow together towards the end of the novel; the friends make up; their issues—not unexpectedly—are easier to handle when they support each other.  Despite this rather trite description of the plot, the characterization and situation construction is sophisticated and satisfying.  Without creating a rainbow-sparkling happy ending, Patrick Ryan leaves us feeling satisfied and hopeful for the future of characters we have grown to like.

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