I read the first two pages of Finlater before I decided to purchase the book. I was hooked instantly by the unique voice Shawn gave our young protagonist, Cliffy. Writing about youths in situations our narrator went through can be a delicate balance act, but I think the author did an exceptional job at keeping Cliffy a kid, even though he was smarter and more soul-wise than most boys twice his age. I'd have to agree with a reviewer who posted here before me, saying there was no one in Finlater I could truly dislike. Even the father, deadbeat, selfish prick that he was had redeeming qualities. For every mean-spirited action performed by one of the characters Shawn was quick to follow up with an example of just how human, and as such, liable to sin as the next person his characters were. Down to Frau Crites--the old German woman confined to her apartment by illness--the character's were multi-layered, believable, and heartrendingly broken in their own way. And yet they were strong too; in turns wise behind their years, and then rendered foolish by their desires. I'd warn readers of only one thing before picking up this book: If you are a fan of Happily-Ever-Afters and epilogues, you will not be satisfied with the ending of this book. Only truth lies here, and sometimes its pretty bleak and uncertain.