This is another one that's so hard for me to rate that I think I'll start with the review first and see what rating I settle on at the end. There were just so many things I loved, and so many things I hated that I can't make my mind up yet.
What I loved:
Joey! I'd read in some other reviews that he played a big part in this book, also, so in his honor I went back and re-read books 1 and 2. And I loved that he was still the same delightful, optimistic, sweet, tough, insightful, determined character that he's been all along. I loved how kind he was to Dylan throughout the book, even when the other characters weren't so much. And I loved how much of a part he played in the final resolution of this story.
I also totally loved Dylan--mostly. I was a little afraid, after reading other reviews that called him whiny or pouty that I wouldn't like him, so perhaps being prepared helped? I didn't find him whiny at all. I could definitely sympathize with his feelings of abandonment and loneliness and I was glad he had Mike there to help.
I also appreciate that there wasn't a simplistic, magical ending where everything is back to how it "should" be by the end. Again, however, I may have been over-prepared by reading some reviews that said the ending was too abrupt and that it would have been nice to see more of the twins' reconciliation. I actually appreciated that things were left fairly open between the D's. Recovering from the kind of betrayal both twins were feeling takes longer than the span of this book, and I'm glad Ms. Mitchell didn't try to force it in here. Plus, the whole point of the story was allowing the twins to establish separate identities and separate lives, so I thought the ending was beautifully fitting.
Finally, I LOVED the pacing of the relationship between Dylan and Mike. Much as I love GFY/OFY stories, sometimes they seem too rushed and too fairy-tale-like. I loved that both Dylan and Mike had to take turns being vulnerable and open to the other, and that Dylan needed Joey to actually understand what Mike had been offering. And to have Mike admit that there were things in life that are even better than football totally cracked me up. I thought it was perfect!
Okay, now for what I didn't like so much:
I REALLY didn't like that Dylan had sex with a girl again after Mike. I understand that he was confused and whatever, but blech. And ugh. Why couldn't the scene where they just watch sports while she braided his hair have happened sooner and instead of having to hear Dylan talk about her.
I also didn't like Aaron in this book. At all. He'd made such amazing progress by the end of book 2, and become such a perfect partner for Joey. He seemed to have regressed to being the selfish asshole we met at the start of book 2. It made me sad how much he treated Dylan like he was less important or less valued than Darryl. And to call taking Darryl away "Operation Amputation" just seemed beyond cruel. It shouldn't have taken Dylan almost dying for Aaron to realize that both twins are his brothers and worthy of his love.
Okay, so there are many more things I liked about this than didn't like. It was an enjoyable read, and a great addition to the series!