Book Review – Who We Are by TJ Klune

by Maryse on May 29, 2012 · 10 comments

in My Book Reviews

Who We Are —> Quick Note: If you haven’t read book #1 yet, I suggest you skip this review. Slight spoilers at least in regards to the first book. Here is my review for book #1 (Book Review – Bear, Otter, and the Kid by TJ Klune)

My love affair with two gorgeous, beautiful, hilarious (and one slightly erratic) gay men continues. And no, I’m not the third in their love affair (this isn’t one of those books ;) ). Nope. Because like I said in book review #1, I connect so well to “Bear” (the main character) that I feel as if I am him. And book #2 has not changed a thing in this aspect. Plus there is just nothing better (apart form the intense, amazing intimacy between these two) than going on one of Bear’s internal musings of randomness.

Jackie: Hey did you finish??

Maryse: Yep!! Loved it. And OMG that whole *spoiler* to OTTER about *spoiler*… I have never laughed so hard. He just spouts EVERYTHING that runs through his head. Nothing matches what he just said previously it’s all just a jumble of crazy thoughts. Otter is there FUMING, getting worse and worse and Bear keeps going. No mouth filter. No putting it delicately. I’m telling u. Me ‘n Bear are related.

Jackie: but I do get that – I understand his logic. Bear and ‘putting it delicately’ just doesn’t go together.

Maryse: I like that the author took us to an edge. Both Otter and Bear with *spoiler*. Eeeeeep I was nervous. I was on that edge but I loved that whole bar scene. The whole thing.

Jackie: I like Anna and thats rare. At Bear’s back despite everything.

Maryse: And… after allllll those years of Otter being so in love with Bear, he FINALLY gets him. IMAGINE that feeling? Those years of pining for him and loving him from a distance, and those years of escaping him and still missing him to death and FINALLY Bear loves him back. OMG that is an amazing thing to read.

I loved it just as much as #1, maybe even a little more. Mind you, there’s not as much of that internal turmoil and angst over accepting one’s true heart vs. what one *thinks* he should do (that is in book #1 and as heartbreaking as it was at times, it hooked me big time!). But this one has that good old fashioned jealousy, front row and center, adjusting to new love, luxuriating in all of it’s intensity, and yet experiencing the insecurities too.

I don’t know why I expected Ty’s new teacher to be some older guy. It bugs me, for some reason.

But then it’s made worse when the teacher smiles over at us, first to the Kid, then myself, and then it hits Otter and the grin gets wider and becomes knowing, almost intimate. I wonder at this for a moment until I look back at Otter and find him starting back, his eyes wide, that crooked grin in full display. Oh man, does it hit then.

And again, I apologize for basking in the fun of that kind of angst, but you know me. If it hurts, I’m in! Er? Ummm… you know. Emotionally. And only for books. Tee hee!!

… and all I want for him is to be smote (smited? smoted? One of those things that means fiery death of pain) for staring at my boyfriend.


But I digress. While the relationship part is big in this one, this story runs deeper than that. Because while Bear and Otter explore their love for each other, they are raising and trying to get full custody of “Kid”. ‘Cause remember in book #1, that wretched excuse for a mother comes back into the picture with her holier-than-thou attitude, threatening to take Kid away if “Bear” doesn’t change his tune? *hrmph*

Bear and Otter are a force to be reckoned with, and smart enough to get their ducks in a row, and QUICK.

Kid goes back to school with the potential to skip a grade or (two?), court hearings and custody battles are in full swing, Kid makes a new best friend (and his friend has his own heartbreaking past to contend with). Bear goes back to college, and a sexy male student sets his sights on him, while Otter runs into an old (also gorgeous) flame, who ends up being Kid’s new teacher. And that’s pretty much the plan right from the beginning of the book.

Living life with these men is nothing short of exciting, heartwarming, endearing and, exasperating. All in equal amounts, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But these books can also be very serious, and this one proves to be even more agonizing than the first one at a certain point. Laughing ceases, but your emotions will still be in full effect.

This is us, okay? For better or worse, this is us. For all of our wrongs and for all our rights, this is us.

This is who we are.

*gulp* *sniff sniff* I miss them so much.

Okay one more thing. Just ’cause I have pretty much highlighted everything Bear thinks and/or says (I swear I’m cackling as I go over my favorite Bear parts… Er. *blush* You know). He is just unbelievably funny, so I MUST, even if it makes no sense in the grand scheme of this review, choose one and quote it for you, here.

Okay this is from the absolutely side-splitting dinner with Otter’s family, where they come out as a couple to them (since Otter’s parents think they are just all friends). But beforehand, Bear is beyond nervous, guzzling glasses of wine, trying to eat the “tofu” dinner, and FREAKING out internally… and then he let’s it all out for ‘em:

“Jerry and Alice,” I say quickly, a slight slur to my words that come out fast. “Otter and I live together, and the Kid lives with us too, and we have a house that Otter bought for me because he realized he was in love with me a long time ago, but it was too much for him to take because he thought I was straight. I pushed him away and that’s why he ran off to San Diego but then he came back for me, even though he said he didn’t, and then Anna and I broke up – sorry Mr. and Mrs. Grant – because she knew how I felt about Otter even before I did, but somehow I figured it out. Then Otter and me did it, oh sh%t, that’s not what I meant to say, sorry, sorry, but I love him and he loves me and my mom came back and threatened to take the Kid away from me if I didn’t break up with Otter. I still don’t get why she did that or how she knew about me and him, and it broke my heart, but I did it anyways, and then I got an attorney, and for some reason Otter took me back. Now we all live together in the Green Monstrosity, but we’re trying to fix it up, and its starting to be a home for us, and I don’t think the best name for the tofu meatloaf is tofeatloaf because it reminds me of feet and I think that’s gross, but I’ll still eat it because you made it. You are like a mom to me and that’s really cool, and I think I’ll love your son forever because I always have and I always will, so please don’t freak out, in Jesus’s name, cans I get an amen!” I gasp in air. I let go of Otter’s hand and suck down the wine, emptying the glass for the third time.

Now everyone is staring at me.

“That… that was so awesome,” the Kid breathes “My Lord, it’s like we could hear what he thinks like.”

Bwahahahahahahahahahah!!!! Oh! Oh that was good! There is tons more like it, and an even better “Bear rambling” a little later on… but that one would be spoilerish, so I’m sticking to the one above. At least we already knew that story. ;) It’s just so much funnier coming out of Bear’s mouth.

Dear TJ Klune. I would happily read a third installment. Or even perhaps a sort of… spinoff? *hint hint* ——–> 4.5 stars!

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Lauren May 29, 2012 at 9:56 AM

These books have been on my TBR list for awhile and I have held off, honestly due to the covers being a bit cheesy (i know, Iknow don’t judge a book by its cover, I couldn’t help it). But I am so happy you recommended them and therefore I read them. I loved them and think they have made my list of all time favorites. I am now sharing how great they are with everyone I work with so they can enjoy in the fun and angst.

Maryse May 29, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Honestly Lauren, the covers had me a bit reluctant too, (and sheeesh, I should know better, considering some of my favorite books have had very generic covers). At least these are cute.

I can say though, after reading and loving these as much as I did, the covers have grown on me. ;)

Jackie May 29, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I knew you’d love ‘my boys’ Maryse. This is such turnaround – for the last two years I have been reading all that you told me to – ‘Jack , you’ll love this one .’ and I’d download it without a second thought. Finally I get to recommend a couple to you ~ and you love them . Feels good!

I was giggling as I read the ‘dinner table scene’, I just love how Bears mind works. So much of this book is highlighted as ‘best bits’, not just one line quotes, but page after page. Love it ! Both of these books are definitely in my ‘best ever top 10′

TJ – I can’t wait for no. 3

Maryse May 29, 2012 at 3:02 PM

Thank you thank you thank you Jackie for insisting. I lived a wonderful bunch of days as I read these. I truly do miss them, and like you said, it’s a sea of yellow highlights.

I laughed and giggled, and cuddled the darn Ipad to my chest!!

Now on to more on your list!! YAY ME!!

Jodi May 30, 2012 at 2:12 AM

I just finished BOATK! OMG!!! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as long and as hard while reading a book as I did during that scene where the kid and Bear are planning the beach rendezvous for Otter! The whole MSNBC/BDSM thing was hysterical!!! My husband actually came upstairs to check on me. He thought I was on the phone. I must thank you for the recommendation and curse you at the same time Bc its midnight and I just know I’m going to start Who We Are now and thus be a zombie at work!!!

Jodi May 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM

OK! I AM OFFICIALLY A ZOMBIE!!!! I stayed up ALL NIGHT LONG! I literally could not put Who We Are down! I had to go downstairs so my husband could sleep eventually. I think this one was actually funnier than the first if that can be believed! And it was so sweet and sad and angry and jealous and wholy moley….when did Otter get so bossy and ALPHA???? Wow!!!! I haven’t been this excited about a book since Fifty and Cat and Bones and BDR and Sookie….ok, well, you know what I mean! ;)

Maryse May 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM


I HEART Otter. heheheheh

TJ Klune May 31, 2012 at 9:18 AM

Again, what a lovely review! I really appreciate you all reading my novels. It’s so awesome to be able to hear your thoughts on my first books. It’s hard to believe its only been nine months since I was first published!

Thanks again,


DebLI June 3, 2012 at 9:15 PM

Loved these books so much! I notice on TJ Klunes blog there will be a 3rd book. There is also a great little holiday post with The Kid’s epic reworking of Night Before Christmas. Very funny!

Jessica November 18, 2013 at 10:19 PM

OMG I’m a zombie from BOATK. I am trying not to read past the sample of Who we are because I’m tired, Wah not enough hours in a day. I laughed OUT loud this morning, like full on laughed and just writing about it is making me laugh “Puppies the OTHER white meat.” TJ Klune I <3 you! And you too Maryse!! Without your voice I would of never read these gems. Thank you!

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