Impressed. The Year of Ice
broke away from the cliches found in almost all gay teen fiction. The guy he had a crush on wasn't secretly gay, also. He wasn't the captain of the football team. He didn't come out to his parents and find blissful acceptance. He didn't even find love in the end.
The characters were complex. The gay character wasn't the only one who had to struggle between his public persona and his internal thoughts and emotions. When dealing with those internal emotions, they sometimes had to deal with two that conflicted with each other. Some of the characters grew, though not unbelievably. Others stayed the same ass-holes they were from the start.
In the end, I felt like there was hope for the main character Kevin, but his future was still unclear. As any teenager in his or her first semester of college, there are still so many possibilities and uncertainties. (Hell, at 39, I still have a world of choices I can still make that will affect where I end up in life.) But he was no longer gripped by fear. He felt a stronger sense of being able to face those uncertainties without being crippled by them.