Wow, this book was just... bittersweet and haunting (no pun intended). The love between Ethan and Charlie, shadowed by their frustrations and misery over not being able to touch each other, to have a real relationship was almost unbearable to see. I, and Ethan, could only relate to how Charlie becomes attracted to Briggs, wanting to feel a human connection he has denied himself for years by loving Ethan. I thought I would hate Briggs, because I really HATE reading about characters trying to get in the middle of an established relationship, but I only ended up feeling sorry and sympathetic to him. I couldn't make myself resent him like I really wanted to for falling in love with Charlie, not when he did all he could to protect Charlie. This is not really a love triangle, thank goodness, because despite Charlie's physical attraction to Briggs, it's apparent that his love is all for Ethan. That this attraction was mainly borne out of Charlie's loneliness, and even Ethan understands that Charlie NEEDS to have a living connection with someone he can feel and touch, if he wants to have a life and not waste away. So in this way, I never felt Briggs was a real threat to Charlie and Ethan, though I did wish he wasn't around so constantly. Once he showed up on the page, he never went away. But his constant presence made sense since it helps explain how he started to care and love Charlie so fast and why he chose to sacrifice himself in the end. He was a lonely guy himself, drunk and having one night stands, so no one can fault him for recognizing how different and unique Charlie is and wanting to protect him. I still didn't like him at all, but I didn't hate him in the end. His death made me sad, dying when his love for Charlie was never returned.
The ending was so bittersweet, perhaps more on the bitter side, because I really felt the sadness of the sacrifice made to finally get there together. This book is extremely well-written, memorable, unique, and I absolutely loved it. It earns a spot on my favorites shelf. I just don't think it's something I can re-read, not for a bad reason, but because knowing what had to happen for them to get their HEA threw a slight shadow over the happiness of the ending for me. But by all means, don't let this put you off, this story is something to be enjoyed. I just sometimes get slightly emotional over characters' plights, fictional they may be. :) 5 stars, because this story made me really feel for the characters and I know I'll still be thinking of it for awhile.