Quinn has always loved Skylar, but Skylar has a boyfriend, Bryan. However, Skylar also ahas a secret: Bryan abuses him regularly. One night, Quinn gets a call from Skylar. Bryan has beaten him very badly and he needs help.
A week later, Quinn sits at Skylar’s hospital bedside. Skylar’s been in a coma ever since the terrible night when Quinn found him broken and bleeding on the floor of the apartment Skylar shares with Bryan. Quinn is determined he’s going to help Skylar recover and be there for whatever he needs. So, when it’s time for Skylar to be released from the hospital, Quinn invites him to stay at his place.
Recovery is difficult. Not only is Skylar physically hurt, he’s mentally and emotionally drained. Things begin to slowly get better, though. Quinn has helped him to get a therapist and to slowly come back to himself. There are nightmares and flashbacks, but Quinn is there for ever step and misstep. Eventually, Quinn even begins sleeping in the same bed as Skylar to be there for him should he awaken screaming like he sometimes does.
Soon, Skylar begins to tell Quinn more and more about his abusive relationship and the bond between the two men begins to deepen even more, until they confess their love for each other. Will their newly found happiness survive Bryan’s trial and what follows? Is Skylar ready to move on with his life with Quinn, or will he wind up turning inside himself yet again?
First of all, I find it’s necessary to start this review with a trigger warning. Searching for Solid Ground includes several graphic descriptions of domestic violence. Please be aware of this before you read the story.
Even with the heavy subject matter, I think this might be one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s beautifully written, and even though there is quite a bit of unpleasantness, the Quinn and Skylar’s feelings shine through all the ugliness. This is a very character-driven story. While there are several other people in the background, this belongs almost entirely to Quinn and Skylar. The author skillfully weaves the emotional and the physical so both men are fully fleshed out. Everything feels real.
I like the way Mores was able to take a relatively short story and make it feel like a slow burn. She takes her time with descriptions of everything from what Skylar’s hotel room looks like, to the weather the first time the men go to the cabin by the ocean. It’s all very natural. There’s also a nice flow from chapter to chapter, and it’s all told in the third person, so there’s no bouncing back and forth between headspaces.
The plot is excellently developed. As I mentioned, the story is shortish, but with phrases like “a few days later” and “one morning a week or so later,” time passes without mentioning every detail of every minute. Because of this, Searching for Solid Ground manages to stay on point and deliver only what is needed to tell the story.
I was so compelled by Quinn and Skylar that, by the time they are able to admit their feelings for each other, I was ready for them to start their lives together. I felt such happiness because they were making their way toward happiness. I do want to make a very quick mention that there is no sex in Searching for Solid Ground, but it was certainly not necessary. Skylar is rather delicate, and I feel sex would have lessened our sense of his vulnerability.
The ending tied up well. Skylar was able to come into his own by an event that takes place on the last two pages. It was exactly what needed to happen and I was pleased. All in all, I recommend Searching for Solid Ground. It’s a great character-driven book, and I feel like it’s going to stick with me for a long time.