My 3 stars isn’t fair to this book. The things that I didn’t love about this story are likely things other readers would enjoy.
Bear is a sensitive and kind young man who becomes responsible for his kid brother. Like a good parent Bear puts the Kid first. And, also like many good parents, he’s conflicted and overwhelmed by who he becomes when someone else takes priority.
Bear has become somewhat isolated as a 21-year-old pseudo parent. He’s also (reasonably) resentful of a life that sees him working on worrying when he should be at college – living solely for himself.
These things come to a head when a male friend comes back into Bear’s life. Bear has a girlfriend when the book starts. However, Bear has his head in the sand about a lot of things. So that’s what the book comes down – how Bear (doesn’t) handles his feelings on some of the really big important things in life.
TBH, this book felt realistic. Hard. The stuff Bear goes through isn’t the worst stuff ever, but that’s the point. It’s the things that so many of us go through every day. And it kinda chips away at you – especially if you’re Cleopatra (yeah, Bear is the absolute queen of DeNial).
This is the third book I’ve read by TJ Klune. The other 2 felt different (The Lightning-Struck Heart was hilarious and Wolfsong was one of the my books of 2016.) This one gave me all the feelings. Not a bad thing but not what I wanted right now. My respect for TJ Klune continues to grow. I’m enjoying all of his facets, and I look forward to seeing more.