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.
©2011 TJ Klune (P)2012 TJ Klune
I vaguely remember this title previously being given five-star reviews on some known review sites, but admit that such ratings never swayed me before. Truthfully, I bought this book entirely on merit of Sean Crisden being the narrator. He did not disappoint me! Neither did the novel itself. Admittedly, I'm a huge gay-for-you fan and as Sean Crisden is one of my top ten favorite audiobook narrators, I knew I would not regret this purchase.
Even at its angsty-est moments, this novel is a cut above the rest. Personally I found that the storyline reminded me quite a bit of the movie Shelter (2007) and as the previous reviewer mentions, there is an overdone ocean imagery that could have been reigned in. I'm also not the biggest fan of the main characters (incl. the supporting cast!) bursting into tears at any given emotional moment. But all this is forgiveable in light of a well-written, well-narrated story. And it is indeed a well-written novel! I never got bored, never had a moment when I was tempted to skip forward. The pace and the story arc was excellently done, balancing angst with humor very well. To his credit, Sean Crisden does what he does at his best, giving personality to the characters and diving into every scene with such enthusiasm and fearless animation that it was difficult to turn the audio off, and I never really wanted the book to end. With over 12 delicious hours to enjoy, I say forget listening to the sample. Just go ahead and buy this one!
Goodreads reviewer and blogger... also dentist and wife/mom when I get the time!
To be honest, I wasn't expecting greatness from "Bear, Otter, and the Kid" even though most of my GR friends adore this one. First of all, I try to not read books with kids in them. I can't deal with tragedy and little kids and, inevitably, tragedy befalls them in books where kids play a main role. Not my cup of tea. Also, the title threw me off. I wasn't feeling it. However, I couldn't ignore the amazing reviews so I decided to give this one a try. And, low and behold, I loved this one. Excuse me while I gush a little.
What really struck me was the chemistry between Bear and Otter. It was wonderful and rich and full of pure love. That is really the best way to describe it. They are so pure in the way that they love each other, and it is just magical to read. T.J. Klune manages to pull that off without it coming across as insincere or phoney, which is a very difficult feat.
I also loved the secondary characters. The Kid was so sweet, funny, and observant. He was the perfect innocent voice of reason, and I fell in love with him. I wanted to adopt him myself by the end of the book. Anna and Creed were also fab and really added to the plot.
My only issue with this one was that I don't do well with plot twists meant to drive readers nuts and for the last 20% of the book or so I was tearing my hair out!
Come on! Did you have to do that to me T.J.??
I have heard some controversy over this book and its similarities to the movie "Shelter". I haven't seen the movie, but honestly, I didn't care that it possibly borrowed ideas from the plot of the movie. It still took major skill to pull off writing such a wonderful work of fiction. T.J. Klune just earned himself auto-buy status for me!
As always, the narration from Sean Crisden was awesome. Nicely done.
I've always loved Sean Crisden as a narrator! He just makes the characters come to life...I will always be a fan of his...this story was so good I found myself becoming emotional...
I know when a story is good is when I shout at the characters!
The story is great and less predictable then most male/male romance books in many ways. it is funny, very few books can make me laugh out loud. The Kid quickly became a fav of mine funny smart and perceptive. The ocean metaphor got overdone for me. but that is a small thing. Bear is one of those people we are encouraged to like and I do for most part but some points you want to strangle him for missing what's staring him in the face.
The narrator is not the best is ok and i have noticed if like this type of book you're stuck with him
In short buy this book its cheap and fun and in today's world we all need some escapes
The perfect narrator for this story. Sean Crisden.
Bear, of course. Followed closely by Ty and Otter. Even the secondary characters were wonderful.
Sean narrated all but the first two in Abigail Roux's Cut & Run series. Loved them. All stellar performances.
Oh, you mean all the times when my heart was ripped out through my ribcage?
The story was heartwarming, gut-wrenching, sweet, hot, hilarious... a rollercoaster of emotions. Very well written and brilliantly narrated, especially Bear's internal dialogue. The secondary characters were nearly as well developed as the three main characters. A solid five-star story and performance.
YES! I already have. This was one of the sweetest most heart warming stories that I have heard in a long time. It was totally worth the purchase and I will be listening to it again and again!
There are so many...but I think my favorite part, with out giving too much away, was Bear and the kid sitting in the tub to be safe from the "Earthquakes"
No I haven't, but this was pretty good. He has a good voice and he really seemed to portray everything the way it should be. The only negative thing I have to say is that sometimes his voice got so low that the word he was saying seemed to be whispered and was kind of hard to hear.
The print version was better only because I liked the sound of Kid's voice in my head better than the narrator's attempt.
I like Bear the most because of the voices in his head that he argues with. I can relate.
I didn't really care for Ty or Otters voices. I liked Creed and Bear. He portrays emotion really well
The fight for him is all he's ever known...
I Would like to hear the next book.
It's a comfortable read, the emotions are real you're easily drawn into the lives of Bear and the kid.
The story is peppered with emotional extremes, the good kind. The story takes you into the thick of it; it's like your watching the funny bits play out, like the heartbreaking bits are happening to you, but most of all, you know it's all going to be okay in the end.
Sean Crisden is one of my preferred narrators. Well done
All the time.
This audiobook was 200 pages too long. I came in really excited because of the kid angle and I got a book of 5 matyrs.
17 year old Derek "Bear" as his baby brother Tyson couldn't pronounce Derek came home one day to find a note for his mother. She was leaving with her latest loser boyfriend for parts unknown. Since the loser didn't want her kids, she was leaving Tyson "Ty" in Bear's care. She had the presence of mind to print ouf a power of attorney form from the internet, and signed it (though it was incorrectly executed). Then she so graciously left him $137.50...but drained Bear's bank account because she and loser needed start up money.
Luckily Bear was turning 18 in a couple of weeks, and had been planning to go away to college. Now he was stuck with an 8 year old boy and he was petrified. Thus began Bear's journey as "Brother-parent" as well as finding himself as a man. Luckily, he had some friends who stood by him and pitched in where they could. Bear's best friend Creed, Creed's older brother Otter, Anna--Bear's girlfriend, Mrs. Paquin, Bear's neighbor all became an adopted family that rallied around Bear and Ty. In the process Otter became more than a best friend's older brother too.
I don't know if there was much that I really enjoyed except Otter's longsuffering and patience. He was awesome. I actually liked the kid too. I mean seriously, how many 8 year olds religious watch Anderson Cooper and are vegetarians based solely on his own research into animal cruelty. He was wise beyond his age.
What I didn't like: Everyone was a matyr..well except for his deadbeat mother. Also, there was a lot of flashback, going from first person narrative to third person and a lot of monologue. This story could have been told in 150-200 pages. It was way too long. It wasn't angsty at all. It was just meh for me. I wouldn't be reading book 2.
I have to say - before anything else - that the narrator, Sean Crisden, absolutely nailed this one. Every character has a voice, and those voices built upon the characterization that T.J. Klune gave them, and brought them even more to life.
Not that they needed any help. Bear, the Kid, and the cast of characters that surround them (especially Anna and Otter, of course) are so richly designed that they live and breathe for the reader (or, in my case, listener.)
Without giving anything away, the situation is this: At eighteen, Bear is left with guardianship of his younger brother because his mother takes off with her boyfriend. His entire life narrows down to the realization that he needs to take care of his brother - the wonderfully written Kid from the title, who is barely six or so at the time. That his best friend, his best friend's bother (Otter) and his girlfriend Anna are there to help - not that Bear feels he can trust anyone ever again.
This is the crux of the story, that Bear can't open himself up to accept help without mallet to the head, and that trust for him does not come easily.
Also - there's the way he feels about his best friend's older brother - Otter - not that he wants to think about that at all.
T.J. Klune spins a wonderful story here - it's engaging, it's enraging (seriously, Bear is so incredibly infuriating at times, but in a way that makes you keep going), it's sexy, it's emotionally disarming (the Kid is freaking adorable), and - frankly - it's completely engrossing. I was absolutely hooked on this story from step one.
I'm definitely finding more T.J. Klune.
This is one of the best books I've read/listened to in a long time in any genre. The story is compelling not only clever and funny, touching too without being trite or too cliched. All the characters except for the mother [who was a bit evil villianish], are well rounded with their own foibles and idiosyncrasies, yet are grounded in a sense of reality.This was only improved by the genius that is Sean Cisden reading it.
"A Wonderful Narrator for a Wonderful story...."
Funny, Sad, Fabulous.
Otter...I'm an Otter girl through and through. ;) It's just the thought of his sadness at Bear never being able to return his love...or so he thought.
I loved his ability to give each character a different voice.
Both, there were lots of giggles and an equal number of tears too. TJ is an amazing writer, one of my absolute favourites!!
Great book and well read, enjoyed it start to finish and immediately purchased the rest of the series.
"Favourite book ever"
Haven't read the print version, but I'd consider buying it as well just to support this author.
You can't really separate any individual parts of this roller coaster ride. You need the lows for the highs to be meaningful. What I can say is that few books have made me feel as much of a range of raw emotion as this one.
I finished the book feeling like I knew Bear, Otter and Tyson personally, and I miss them like absent friends, so I guess they made quite an impact.
"Absolute pleasure "
I have yet to find a book by TJ Klune that I don't love. This is a totally absorbing book and makes you smile and cry. Brilliantly read by Sean Crisden.
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