Firstly, I want to thank the author for taking time out of his busy life to participate in the Love's Landscapes event. Without people like you willing to give your time and creativity freely, asking for nothing in return but feedback from your readers, the M/M reading community wouldn't have this wonderful event each year. So THANK YOU!
My appreciation for the author's efforts aside, however, this story just did not work for me. I love a college-aged GFY as much as the next girl, and I found the idea behind a character who self-identifies as asexual finally experiencing a sexual awakening for that one special person (a sexy man, of course!) intriguing. Unfortunately, all of that was laid out in the prompt and it was the overall execution of the story that I found lacking.
While both likable enough, I didn't find that either Solo or Ben drew me in and demanded that I become invested in them or their relationship. There just weren't enough deeply emotional and angsty or sweet and gooey moments between the characters to build that sense of connection between them and me, and I found the constant stripteases awkward and repetitive. So, when the story ended with one lackluster kiss and a HFN
, I just kinda *shrugged* and moved on.
I think my biggest difficulty with the story was that the narration and the dialogue seemed overly formal for a story about two college guys in their early twenties. It was also the exact same voice for both characters, so you couldn't always distinguish which one was talking at any given moment. The lack of contractions and overly concise use of language made the story feel stiff and stilted - like the story had been edited within an inch of its life.
I believe the author's relatively new to the publishing world, though, and may find a more relaxed, natural rhythm to his writing with time and experience.