Wonderful. Different from what I expected in the way that any really good book that digs deep into its characters and takes them seriously as human beings is unexpected--because it moves beyond the cliches of the genre. I've not come across a character quite like Lane before--that deeply shy and inarticulate, and frankly that vulnerable. When he admits to Derek that he used to "practice talking" to photos on his wall I wanted to tear up. The scenes where he reaches out to the abandoned dog were shocking in the subtlest possible way--one of those quiet moments that lets you see deep into the heart of the character, without any talky explanations. The mother in me wants to take this boy in and protect him, but I was truly glad to see him grow up and discover a new family. I really felt invested in the characters and their destinies.
Don't be put off by the content warning on puppy play--I generally find any animal play deeply disturbing, but this is very mild and justified in the sense that it fits the character perfectly--you never for a moment feel it was played for shock value (which given Lane's situation would have felt like a betrayal.)
All in all, very highly recommend.