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The Year of Ice

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,152 ratings  ·  112 reviews
It is 1978 in the Twin Cities, and Kevin Doyle, a high school senior, is a marginal student in love with keggers, rock and roll, and--unbeknownst to anyone else--a boy in his class with thick eyelashes and a bad attitude. His mother Eileen died two years earlier when her car plunged into the icy waters of the Mississippi River, and since then Kevin's relationship with his ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 11th 2003 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published June 30th 2002)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,152 ratings  ·  112 reviews

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4,5 stars!

I think, this book is one of the best coming of age/growing up stories I've ever read. Though I can hardly name it a STORY. There is NOTHING typical here: It doesn't have a typical beginning, you won't find a typical culminating point of the plot, and probably someone would miss a clear ending. We accompany Kevin Doyle, a high school senior through one calendar year, 1978- from January to December. And winter plays a special role here.

4,5 stars!

I think, this book is one of the best coming of age/growing up stories I've ever read. Though I can hardly name it a STORY. There is NOTHING typical here: It doesn't have a typical beginning, you won't find a typical culminating point of the plot, and probably someone would miss a clear ending. We accompany Kevin Doyle, a high school senior through one calendar year, 1978- from January to December. And winter plays a special role here.

I know, all this might sound not very convincing or thrilling considering the fact that The Year if Ice is also NOT a romance!


The most amazing and fascinating thing in this book is a honest, intimate, sarcastic, sometimes sorrowful, often hilarious, captivating and always REAL voice of Kevin. I'm a 1st POV junkie - if an author CAN write it, it is the best reading experience a reader can have, and I assure you - Brian Malloy DID it BRILLIANTLY.

I asked myself while reading it: could it have been such a great read if it had been written from the 3d person view? Probably not. And by other author? Hahaha! Hardly!

I'm pretty sure that you can get 3 TOTALLY different books with exactly the same storyline- a boring one, a very depressing one and an amazing one: The Year of Ice.

I laughed laud, a lot. I cried silently, a bit.
AND I enjoyed this book ENORMOUSLY.

The writing is EXCELLENT.
And the characters are as real as reality.

This book goes directly to my favorite-read-2015 shelf.

I can't recommended it highly enough!

Read it! READ IT!!!
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, lgbt

I wanna say hello. I wanna say My name is Kevin and I am so fucking lonely.

Couldn’t put this book down.

This is the kind of YA novel I love to read - characters that feel real, no one is just the villain or just perfect, everyone has their own fight that the reader can sympathize with, and everyone makes mistakes. Things are said and done in anger – some can be forgiven, others not. Things are said and done out of love – some are right, others are wrong. This book is a slice of life.

And what to say about Kevin – the 18
Nov 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I don't want to rave too much about this book, lest I hype it up too much for a potential reader. But I will say that I really took an intense personal liking to this book for numerous reasons. The writing is excellent. It is one of the best written coming-of-age story about a gay boy that I've encountered. I found myself relating so naturally to the protagonist, as when he thinks about his high school crush, "standing next to my locker. I don't know how to look at him anymore. I'm afraid he'll ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a strand one to review, let me start by recommending this one I could not put this one down. I was up well into the night when I started it. Not a romance, it’s 1978 and Kevin is in his senior year if high school. I could imagine the 70’s perfectly from the writing which made this book. Kevin is having a rough year, there family problems, he’s coming of age, emotionally all over the place, the times are so different and the author captured it perfectly. The story is told in Kevin’s POV, ...more
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
M/M literature is becoming less of an obscure genre, and one that has garnered a huge following. This alone is a remarkable achievement for a genre that had scant offerings and those that were mainstream were hidden in the ‘sexual development’ sections of bookstores (and I know… I used to secret agent them out as a teenager). It is even more delightful that the majority of these books are either from small independent publishers, or self published. There is this certain inherent credibility and ...more
I can't remember when last I devoured a book that wasn't a romance or at least had any name-worthy romantic content. It's been a long while...

But lately I don't know if I should hate Dad more for being a dick, or if I should hate Mom more for trying to cross the Mississippi in a Ford Galaxy. I know that neither of them were perfect. I know that I'm a part of both of them. But, like, is the fact that they're my mom and dad enough to make me honor them?

'The Year of Ice' is a wonderful a/>But
Jan 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic book. The writing was stellar, and I couldn't put it down. I loved the voice. Kevin is a fantastic character, and his grief and angst and desire to be loved just jumped off the page. The narrative voice made me laugh out loud several times. Seriously, couldn't put it down. I was reading it at 3:30am this morning.

That said, the ending doesn't really resolve anything. It's like reading a narrative of a year of someone's life. It's vivid and compelling and fascinating to read, but don't
Aug 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, ebooks
It's 1978. I mean, the entire year of 1978 - January to December. Kevin the main character and narrative of the story is one pissed off teenager about to graduate from his high school. But, he's truly pissed off with the people around him (especially his father), and his personal conflict: a confused, conflicted, and closeted young man. He portrays himself as this tough and exterior alpha, but in his own world, it's something completely different. One of the main reasons that he is angry is the ...more
Beagle Lover (Avid Reader)
Jul 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Gay themes, disfunctional families, infidelity, mild humor and sexual inferences
The Year of Ice, 3.50 stars.

A very well written novel that delves deep into a severely disfunctional family, particularly the father of the MC, Kevin. Having lost his mother to an apparent car accident, Kevin finds his life with his father, Pat, increasingly strained by past secrets that slowly are discovered to be true about his mother's accident, Pat's infidelities and Kevin's hidden homosexuality.

Kevin has a deep crush on another male student but isn't sure if the feelings are mutual. This le
Nov 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Mature teens, adults, GL teens
Shelves: 2009-reads
I'm always looking for well-written and HONEST gay/lesbian YA books. This one is both of those things and so much more. It's not just a story about a young man named Kevin who knows he's gay and just wants to find someone to love. It's about how his life is in such chaos since the death of his mother and finding out dark secrets about his father. It's about life and being a teenager on the brink of adulthood and feeling like you're ready to take on the world, but also wanting everything to stay ...more
Dec 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I don't even know what to say about this one.

Kevin, to be completely honest, is a jerk. I know he has his reasons and sometimes he's funny and relatable. But other times he's just a complete asshole and I didn't like him. Come to think of it, pretty much everyone is an asshole at some point in this book.

There's no romance at all, and although I appreciate that it was a much more complex coming of age story, I really wish there was a romance. Kevin could use some happiness. (For the
Oct 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Author Brian Malloy introduces the reader to Minnesota high school athlete Kevin Doyle, who is having as bad a senior year as Stephen King’s Carrie White. His mother, Eileen, was killed in a car accident; his father--who he never really got along with in the first place--has taken to drowning his sorrows; neighborhood women seeking entry constantly show up at his house bearing food, and he has an unrelenting crush on a male classmate, Jon, with whom he can’t even manage to fake a friendship. The ...more
Feb 15, 2013 rated it liked it
"The Year of Ice" revolves around a 18-year-old and tells his experiences in the first person perspective in a single year, 1978. It's a novel about struggles on family matters, sexuality and other typical teenage as well adult problems.

The writing is beautifully done, and it lets the story absorb me as I read the book. The POV on Kevin Doyle gives the story a focus, and we witness events that in one way or another, relates to the coming of age of a not-so-ordinary teenage boy, one w
Wael Margheni
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Frankly, I don't think 5 stars is enough for this book! There should be way more stars for such books.
Like most of the books I read, this one I didn't plan on reading any time soon as well. BUT I am so glad I did because it's one of the best books I read so far. I mean, I do say about books I just finish that they are the best, but for this one I sincerely mean it.
'The Year of Ice' is a great coming of age novel that will hold you within its pages and literally make you lose track of
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I just reread this book. It is one of my favorite coming of age stories. Kevin is a high school senior in 1978. He considers himself an alpha, and makes sure that everyone remembers that, including, Jon, the boy he is in love with. Kevin is dealing with a lot. His mother died in a car accident two years prior to this story. New facts come to light regarding his parents' relationship, which make Kevin see his father differently. Kevin likes boys, and in 1987, there is no information or support to ...more
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A lot going on with The Year of Ice. Kevin Doyle is a senior in high school, but two years ago, on his 16th birthday, he was attending his mother's funeral.
The theme of "ice" is well thought out, and an early reference to Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" leads Kevin to search for different meanings of this poem through-out.
Great read
Jan 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
One of my favorite novels of the past few years. Set in 1978, the author perfectly captures the voice of a teenage stoner who is also realizing he is gay. I laughed out loud in many places, though it is a novel of substance. Ending was not as strong as I had hoped.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sad to say goodbye to Kevin! I loved his smart-ass jokes. You could feel his desperation and loneliness throughout the book, I felt so sorry for him most of the time. This was not a romance novel and that was kind of refreshing (and realistic!) too! 4 stars!
Jan 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
This was one of the first gay fiction books I read, and what a way to start! It captured the struggle of realizing oneself is gay perfectly (in my opinion anyway). It was a heart-wrenching and completely consuming book and I'm glad to have read it.
Jeff Erno
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay-fiction
Kevin Doyle is an eighteen year old high school senior from Minneapolis. It is 1978, and Kevin lives at home with his widowed father. Kevin's mother died two years prior in a tragic automobile accident when her car hit a patch of ice and careened off the highway over an embankment into the Mississippi River.

Kevin has a secret which he shares with no one except his imaginary boyfriend Jon. Actually Jon is a real person that goes to school with Kevin, but the real Jon is strai
Apr 26, 2015 rated it liked it
The Year of Ice follows Kevin Doyle through the year of 1978. As the months go by, he must cope with his mother's death, deal with his father's lies, and figure out his own feelings.

This was an interesting story. To start, I loved Kevin's voice—he was sarcastic, he was conflicted, he was real. His actions reflected his personality and I felt that I had a good understanding of his character. I also appreciated that each person in the story had a purpose that connected with the plot. Everyone felt i
John Ames
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
I absolutely loved The Year of Ice. This novel starred Kevin, a secret closet case who was madly in love with Jon, a straight kid. I fell for Kevin instantly. He lost his mom at a very young age in a car accident and he was left under his dad protection. But as his senior year advances, Kevin becomes a young man and he begins to see his father under a new light.

Kevin, to me, was the bomb. He was the Alpha of his group and loved bossing Jon around just to have him close. In other word
Kevin is a "foxy" senior at his small-town high school in 1970s Minnesota. He considers himself an "alpha" male, meaning he often uses his brawn to put other boys in his place, and all the girls want him. His mom died a couple years earlier, and his dad is being pursued by all the widows and single women in town. And Kevin just happens to know that he is gay, and doesn't know what to do about it. The Year of Ice was shelved in the adult fiction section of my library, probably because mention of ...more
Jul 21, 2010 rated it liked it
I was pretty excited to read this book at first cause I was pretty young. The audience follows the life of Kevin Doyle and one of the stand out things is that he isnt a gay stereotype which is refreshing. His life is a mess and it seems realistic enough and you come to actually care for him.

The plot definitely has its good points but in the latter half it became a bit tiresome? The events seemed a bit plain? You just seem to follow Kevin's life as he grows up and how he deals with family. The e
Ronald D Castaneda

I bought this book a long time ago but never got to read it. Then I found it again two weeks ago on kindle and finally read it. I have to say, I hope I get to read more about Kevin. He is such an immensely complex character. Full of raw emotion. It reminded me of when I was in high school and I had a crush on a football player that I swore was gay but never found out. The overwhelming need to connect to someone like yourself is sometimes all consuming and Brian Mallow has absolutely cap
Jan 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This story is set in 1978 and told from the POV of Kevin who is 18 years old. He's in High School and trying his best to hide the fact that he is gay, even going to the trouble of having a girlfriend so that his friends don't suspect him. His mother died and as time goes on, secrets are discovered and he finds out things about his father that he doesn't like. Kevin's narration is hilarious and you get to hear everything he thinks, followed by the censored version that he says out loud. My only c ...more
Dec 11, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Twin Citians
I liked this novel, a poignant depiction of a troubled young man struggling to come to terms with his sexuality in 1970s Minneapolis after the tragic death of his mother in the icy Mississippi. I felt that Kevin's personality and feelings were very well developed and the book spared no details in the course of the very rough year of 1978, though I felt that some plot points were left unfulfilled. I especially enjoyed the setting of the Twin Cities in 1978, recognizing things still in existence a ...more
May 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another of those books I rate high, because they are excellent, but I won't reread. Great writing, humorous without trying too hard, believable teenage voice, complex characters. It is a coming of age story (view spoiler). The struggle of the MC with his sexuality is very realistic. He has to come to terms with other problems as well. (view spoiler)4.5
Another of those books I rate high, because they are excellent, but I won't reread. Great writing, humorous without trying too hard, believable teenage voice, complex characters. It is a coming of age story (view spoiler). The struggle of the MC with his sexuality is very realistic. He has to come to terms with other problems as well. (view spoiler).
Jan 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2008
Brian Malloy's writing is quietly beautiful. Every scene or paragraph has a wonderful turn at the end, and can take an otherwise ridiculous or adolescent scene and make it meaningful. This is not to say that it's schmaltzy. The characters are incredibly believable (with the debatable exception of Aunt Nora) and I felt just incredible amounts of sympathy for the main character.

You will especially love this book if you are at all familiar with Minneapolis.
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Brian Malloy is the author of Twelve Long Months, the 2009 Minnesota Book Award winner for young people's literature, as well as the award-winning novel The Year of Ice and Brendan Wolf.

Brian has taught creative writing and literature at Emerson College. He is adjunct faculty in the MFA programs at the University of Minnesota and Hamline University, and serves as Education Director for the Loft Literary
“You won't further the cause of human rights by walking away with your morals intact. Change is about getting your hand dirty.” 3 likes
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