Book Reviews

Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles 2) by TJ Klune at BOATK Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 07-November-2019

Book Blurb

Bear, Otter, and the Kid survived last summer with their hearts and souls intact. They’ve moved into the Green Monstrosity, and Bear is finally able to admit his love for the man who saved him from himself.

But that's not the end of their story. How could it be?

The boys find that life doesn’t stop just because they got their happily ever after. There’s still the custody battle for the Kid. The return of Otter’s parents. A first trip to a gay bar. The Kid goes to therapy, and Mrs. Paquinn decides that Bigfoot is real. Anna and Creed do… well, whatever it is Anna and Creed do. There are newfound jealousies, the return of old enemies, bad poetry, and misanthropic seagulls. And through it all, Bear struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment of him and his brother, only to delve deeper into their shared past. What he finds there will alter their lives forever and help him realize what it'll take to become who they're supposed to be.

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, April 2012.


Book Review

Even though I just recently reread 'Bear, Otter, and the Kid', and 'Who We Are' is a reread for me, also, I can't believe how much I missed the Kid. Just a few pages in and he's wrapped himself so completely around my heart that everything that was wrong with this day doesn't seem to matter anymore, because the Kid is poking fun at Papa Bear and Otter is laughing hysterically. All is right again, in my world. I can't thank TJ Klune nearly enough for bringing me this world which centers me and where I feel at peace, even through the drama, the tears, the laughter, the grief, the anger, and the love. Bear, Otter, and the Kid are home for me and where I feel most comfortable and alive.

After the events of the previous summer, Bear, Otter, and the Kid have happily moved into a Green Monstrosity, the house that Otter bought for them all. Apparently it is painted the most horrific shade of green imaginable. The Kid is on his way to skipping fourth grade and heading right into the fifth, which Bear is more comfortable with now that all their lives have settled down some. The custody proceedings are moving forward and everything looks great in their favor. Then Otter's parents come home and they go to dinner at the house where they find Creed has flown home from college to attend, and Anna, Mrs. Paquinn, and Anna's parents are there, too. None of the parental units are aware of what happened that summer, i.e., Bear and Anna breaking up, Bear and Otter falling in love, Creed and Anna dating, Bear and the Kid's mom coming back and threatening Bear, etc. Of course Bear, with a few glasses of wine in him, reveals all during the blessing before the "tofeatloaf". Don't ask, please. Needless to say, it's one of the best scenes as there's a whole lot of air that gets cleared, at least between Bear and Creed. *grins*

So it would seem that all is right in their world and everything is going to be happy, happy, joy, joy, right? Wrong. The Kid's new best friend, a fifteen-year-old who lives a few doors down from them, Dominic, at the age of nine witnessed his father beat his mother to death and in defense, Dominic stabbed his father to death. Even though Bear and Otter feel horribly for Dominic it adds a level of fear to the Kid hanging out with him. And there's this strange new beginning of Bear noticing other guys as attractive. What? Plus, because of the relative newness of Bear and Otter, and the fact that Bear can overthink everything to death and extrapolate the worst scenarios imaginable, there's some doubt, and fear, and tension between the two.

"I don't know why he chose me, for the life of me, for all the trouble I've caused. How can he think this is worth it? I tell him I love him, I tell him how much he means to me, but does he know how much I need him? That without him I would be nothing?"

Now, before you start worrying…no, this entire book isn't drama, drama, drama. Bear's in it, so of course there's laughter mingled with the drama. Like when Otter takes Bear to a gay bar to meet up with some friends. "Tyson rolled his eyes. 'The only things you need to complete the outfit is a little soul patch on your chin and a diamond stud in one ear. I'm sure the women over on Miracle Mile would run in the opposite direction because they're afraid you're going to bitch-slap them and demand they give you the money they owe you.'" Otter, of course, thinks Bear looks smoking hot. Until he has to fight off all the guys looking at Bear, that is.

There is drama, though, always hovering in the background. Serious medical emergencies impacting their loved ones, and a marriage proposal wrapped in love and sorrow, at the same time. There's healing and love, guardianship for a judge to declare, and unexpected bundle of joy for Creed and Anna. This second installment in TJ Klune's series is very appropriately named as it is literally the story of 'Who We Are' in all of their neuroses, their hang-ups, their fears, but most importantly, their enormous gift in loving each other and their family. An incredible book that I loved very much.





DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 373 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 31-October-2019
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link