Friday, May 3, 2019

ARC Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune

Why We Fight (At First Sight #4)
Do you believe in love at first sight? 

Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s just hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay. 

Except that this summer, bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House, a LGBTQI youth center that recently hired an interim director. And because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now current boss. 

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart, for help. 

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own. 

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

Todd's rating:

Wow, what a journey.
This life… it wasn’t one I expected to have. It wasn’t one that I’d gone looking for. It’d found me in a thrift store when I’d least expected it. And while there had been ups and downs, those peaks and valleys that felt almost manic, I wouldn’t change it for anything.
While this story was slightly less campy and over-the-top than the previous books in the series, I felt like it did a good job of wrapping things up in a nice, neat bow in this series finale.

The book definitely had its OTT moments, like the egg-citing vibrating egg debacle, but overall Corey/Kori was a more serious character than say Paul, Vince, or Sandy, and since this was his/her book, that slightly-more-subdued tone bled through.

From the very beginning of the series, Corey/Kori always felt much more like a secondary character for me, so I do have to admit that my "OMG, OMG, OMG, O.M.M.F.G!!!" excitement level was a bit lower when starting this book.

I would've liked quite a few more details or stories about what Corey/Kori went thru prior to meeting Sandy at age 17, just to have a more in-depth history of where he/she was coming from. Instead, we mostly got a repeated line of "people didn't know what to do with me," which left me wanting more.

The UST and longing between Jeremy and Corey/Kori felt pretty standard, especially after all of the hyperactive hijinks between Paul and Vince, and then Sandy and Darren. It was nice to read, but not quite as wowing as those previous exceptional pairings.

My two favorite aspects of this story were, first, when the entire gang got together and hilarity ensued. Nothing quite compared to Paul and Vince needing to be hosed down to avoid a horrifying rutting episode while Nana or Charlie were in the same room.
You’re so funny,” Vince told him with stars in his eyes. “I’m happy I married you.”

Paul said, a nasty curl to his lips. “How happy?”

“Why don’t I show you?”
Vince said.

They were both startled when Charlie squirted them with a spray bottle. “No. Stop it.” He squirted them again. “Stop it right now.”
And second, how the entire group pulled both Jeremy and his dad, Robert, into their midst, making them family, too. Chicken soup for the soul, folks, that was. Our guys recognized their loneliness for what it was, then banished the shit out of it, and it was awesome. Honorary Austers for the win!

I know this was the end of the series, but I'm still hoping against hope that we'll get a story for Diego (and Kai, maybe?)

Sorry, not sorry, but the imagery of a 21 y.o. Diego dancing on top of the bar in only a jock strap, well, it kinda did it for me. Hated it! ;- )

I'd rate this story at 4 stars and recommend it, while setting the expectation that the previous craziness had been dialed down to about a 7, from the previous books' 12.

My ARC copy of the book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.

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