TJ Klune | Fiction, 2011
The plot is delightful! On his 18th Birthday, Bear (aka Derrick), finds himself completely responsible for his eight-year-old brother the Kid (aka Tyson), when their mother leaves them a letter with $135.50, and takes off with her boyfriend, never to return. Three days later, Bear graduates from high school, along with his two best friends since second grade, Creed and Anna. His plans for college disappear and his life is in disarray ... he will never abandon the Kid, whom he loves very deeply. Anna (now Bear's girlfriend), Creed, Creed's older brother Otter (aka Oliver), and next-door neighbor Mrs. Pacquin all commit to fully support Bear and the Kid, with love, babysitting, school pick-ups, money (Bear won't take any of that) and whatever else is necessary for the care and feeding of his young brother, a brilliant vegetarian ecoterrorist-in-training who refuses to watch cartoons and instead watches documentaries on cruelty to animals, PETA, environmental change, and radical ecoterrorism.
The plot is pure delight! Such love and support all around!
That is the plot, but the interwoven story is about Bear and Otter, and Bear, with considerable difficulty, coming to terms with being gay. I am a romantic, and I love reading about love, sex, romance, joy, and anguish. However, I am giving this book three hearts because I want you to go into this novel with your eyes wide open. There is A LOT of love, sex, romance, joy, and anguish between Bear and Otter!! If that works for you, you will find this novel enjoyable.
Bear, our main character, is expertly written in first person, and his inner thoughts are included in italics. His inner thoughts are a riot! There is much in this book to smile, giggle, and laugh at. I guffawed loudly near the end a few times! Plus, of course, there is the pure sentimentality of a family (created) that we all perhaps deeply desire. Heartwarming and funny, this is another TJ Klune success. It is a tough call if this book or House on the Cerulean Sea is now my favorite Klune!