My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Derrick – also known as Bear – has not had the easiest life. His mother (in the loosest sense of the word) abandons him at 17 and leaves him with the responsibility of trying to raise his 6 year old brother Tyson – the Kid.
Luckily Bear has a group of very supportive friends, whom he have known for most of his life, who really steps up when Bears world crashes down. His on/off girlfriend Anna, his best friend Creed and Creeds older brother Oliver – also known as Otter.
In the midst of the emotional shit storm of Bears mothers abandonment, feelings that no one is prepared to acknowledge are revealed and Otter ends up leaving town as well. Three years later – when our story really begins – Bear is 21 and muddling through, The Kid is 9 years old and – all things considered – quite a well balanced boy and Otter is suddenly back in town!
First things first. Angst! Oh my god! This story has it – by the bucket load! I was quite surprised to realise that Klune was a man, because rarely have I read so many emotions, so much angst and so many tears. Teenage girls would bow their heads in defeat!
I love a bit of angst with my romance, but this was verging on too much. Mainly, I think, because the book was written in 1st person POV – which forced my to be inside Bears head all the time. I wanted to slap him several times – and ask him to grow a pair!
1st person POV is one writing style I do not much care for, but I got over that quite easily with this novel, as I enjoyed Bears “voice” – except for the fact that he waddled in his angst a bit too much for my liking. Another thing, that is really “not my thing”, was the nick names: Bear, Otter, the Kid? Come on! But funnily enough, this also stopped annoying me very quickly.
I really enjoyed the authors style of writing and I loved the way the flash backs, memories and inner voice was used (although some times I worried that the other characters would just leave, because Bear would monologue for several pages in the middle of a conversation!)
There were however several things that I could not get over. And which bugged me so much, that I dropped the book one / one and a half star. Now the following may contain spoilerish things, you have been warned!
The GFY (and only you) trope! I hate that. I love GFY! It’s one of my very favorite tropes. I mean, isn’t that the most amazing fantasy! That you love someone so much that their gender is no longer important? *sigh* But GFY and ONLY for you. No! I cannot believe it. It seems completely unrealistic. If you enjoy sex with another man, there would automatically be some kind of transference, surely? So that when you see another man with a hot ass, you would think YUM! Or if you saw gay porn, you would think: “uuuh, I’d try that!” something, surely?
The age difference. Now 8 years is nothing. If both characters are grown ups. But Otter admits, that he “knew” when Bear was 16. I find that kind of creepy. What is a 24 yr old seeing in a 16 yr old? I could understand (maybe) if it was lust. But love?
If you combine that with the obsessive love Otter has held for Bear (whom he believe to be straight) for all these years, it really starts to freak me out. It feels kind of stalkerish? And I find the obsession Otter describes, very hard to consolidate with the “as long as I can be in your life, whatever you are able to give me, I will be happy”… nuh uh! The two things clashes horribly!
Last but not least, I ended up finding the “cute know it all” Kid – kind of tiresome. He was great at the beginning. Fact spewing and asking freaky questions. But when we reach the point of him giving (very grown up) emotional advice, I kind of lost it for him…
All in all though, a very enjoyable read, which will make you laugh and maybe also cry.