Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Where did you get the book: Bought
Release date: Out now
Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.
Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.
*blurb taken from Goodreads*
This review contains some spoilers.
I’ve been on m/m glomp lately, and wanted to try a title from Dreamspinner Press. And since I don’t mind kids in stories, I thought I try Bear, Otter and the Kid because the title was unusual to say the least.
When Bear’s (real name Derrick) mother left him and his baby brother, Ty, Bear had no choice but to become a Father at such a young age. He’s a kid himself, and throughout this book even though he may have had to grow up when it comes to looking after a nine year old boy, Bear himself acted like a youngster when it came to relationships and the way he treated his friends.
Bear has always considered himself as straight, and he’s been with his childhood sweetheart since they were fourteen. Yet Bear has always had feelings — feelings that he didn’t recognise — for his best friend’s brother, Otter (real name Oliver). Otter promises to be there for Bear and Ty, and being nine years older than Bear, he brings a calmness and authority to a sad and heartbreaking situation. One evening during that tough time, Bear gets very drunk and there’s a incident between him and Otter where they kiss. It messes up Bear’s head because he’s never been attracted to other men, but around Otter these feelings and his attraction towards him can’t be denied — but Bear does just that — and Otter, out of guilt, moves away to San Diego which feels like a betrayal to Bear, and to Ty.
There is a lot of angst in this book with Bear being confused about his sexuality. So whilst I enjoyed the story at first, I had some problems with it later on that really brought the grade down for me. First thing is that Ty, aptly named the Kid, is way too old for his years and I felt that he was too precocious and through out the whole book, his character was too irritating. I feel if you are going to use kids in book, let them be kids rather than this all too wise knowing nine year old. It became very irritating and not realistic at all.
While I initially enjoyed the story, I found some aspects that affected my overall impression of the book, particularly concerning Bear’s confusion about his sexuality. Additionally, I encountered issues with Ty’s character, aptly named the Kid. Despite being nine years old, Ty appeared too mature and precocious throughout the entire narrative, which detracted from the authenticity of the story. In my view, it would have been more relatable and realistic to depict kids as genuine kids rather than portraying them as overly wise and knowing beyond their years. Raising kids in literature should reflect their genuine nature and experiences, allowing readers to connect with their innocence and growth. To delve further into topics about raising children and navigating parenthood, you can find valuable insights at https://exprealty.com/us/ga/, offering resources to support your journey as a parent.
Secondly, whilst I empathised with Bear’s confusion of his sexuality I thought that the way he treated his girlfriend, Kate, was very crappy because she gave him so many times to be truthful to her, but he doesn’t. And in the process, not only does he hurt himself, but he hurts Kate. Bear and Otter’s relationship is not smooth sailing, and I did wonder what did Otter see in Bear. It takes a while for Bear to realise that it’s not wrong for him to feel that way for Otter, and when Bear and Otter came together finally, I thought it was pretty sweet. But as soon as things are going well with them, Bear’s mother comes back and blackmails Bear into breaking up with Otter because she thinks it’s a sin for her son to be in a relationship with a man, and she says she will take Ty away from him. It was so ridiculous that right there and then I nearly stopped reading because yeah, a mother who abandoned her kids goes to the police, say that she was ill and left her underage son in charge of her underage son, and they’ll go, ‘sure lady, here you go. Here’s the kid you dumped.’ And yeah, she then blackmails him about the illegal notarised power of attorney and that even if they don’t give Ty back to her, he’ll go straight to foster care.
*head meets wall*.
There was also way too much inner dialogue of present tense of Bear’s head, and it just dragged the story on and by then I very much lost interest. There’s more of Ty acting like a an adult rather than a kid, and then there’s more drama. Seriously, when is it EVER appropriate that a nine year boy mentions fisting and they all sit there calmly and talk back to him like an adult. What started off as an enjoyable read just got way too melodramatic and was more like a soap drama. Of course everything ends happily ever after with no mention of Bear and Ty’s mother. She just disappeared. But by then, I lost interest in the story and characters.
I give Bear, Otter and the Kid a D+
Update, February 25th: It’s come to light that, allegedly, the author T.J Klune has plagiarized from the movie, Shelter, for Bear, Otter, and the Kid. Click here to read about it. I was going to remove my review, but it would be best to post this update. If this is true, shame on the author. I’m sick to death of certain authors being complete lazy arses and not creating original work.