Book Reviews

Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles 1) by TJ Klune at BOATK Books

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 07-November-2019

Book Blurb

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.



First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, August 2011.


Book Review

This is only the second time recently that I've finished a book and been completely speechless. Bear, Otter and The Kid has incredible characters, dialogue out of this world, a very intelligent and precocious child, laughter, tears (a lot of those) and a message that really grips you.

I'm so grateful to Tj Klune for bringing this story into being since as a reader I know that I have now read an exquisite work of art and a true masterpiece.


I wrote the above after I finished 'Bear, Otter, and the Kid' the first time back in December 2012. Recently, upon realizing that the third book in this incredible series was going to be released, I decided that this book and the second one deserved a reread and the very best reviews I could write. I only hope I have the ability to give this book, and the author, the praise and honest appreciation it so deserves.


How to describe Derrick, aka Bear? He's an insanely responsible guy, but after reading the letter his mom wrote him when she took off for Las Vegas with her boyfriend the day before Bear turned eighteen, it's no surprise that Bear has been the adult in that household for a very long time. Yeah, can you imagine? Mom leaves, not just Bear, but her other son, Tyson, aka the Kid. So, here's Bear, just turned eighteen and graduating from high school, and he's given sole responsibility and power of attorney over his little brother who is six. Three years later, they're doing okay, although Bear still has no idea how he ended up with the Kid as a little brother, since the Kid is, hands down, the smartest child on the planet. Bear thinks too much and he worries too much. He doesn't like to listen to his conscience and he's very much afraid that if he embraces who he really is, then all the people he loves in his life will leave him. He's also stubborn and has a really bad habit of running away from his emotions and his family when life gets too intense.


Oliver, aka Otter, is Bear's best friend’s older brother and Bear has known him since he was eight years old. The same way that the Kid inadvertently gave Bear his nickname, so, too, did Bear accidentally give Otter his. Creed is Bear's best friend since they were eight years old and met in second grade. Creed and his family have helped to see Bear through some tough times and their home is a refuge for both Bear and the Kid. Anna is Bear's sometime girlfriend, and other best friend, having met her in second grade, too. Anna and Bear are way too much alike to really be in a long-term romantic relationship, but Bear does love her, and she's been there for him for all these years. And, finally, there's Mrs. Paquinn, their elderly next-door neighbor, who will drop anything and babysit the Kid if needed and she loves both him and Bear.


“The fight for you was all I've ever known, he said to me. This is a dream. This is a dream.

I bring my other hand up and cup his face in my hands. He closes his eyes.

Can you do this? the voice asks. Can you handle all of this?

“Otter,” I say gently. “Look at me.

He does.

I kiss him.

God help me.


How can I possibly explain, and do justice, to the love story that is Bear and Otter? Otter first started noticing Bear as "not a little brother" when Bear was sixteen and Otter was twenty-four. Obviously, Otter tamped all that down and never addressed it thinking Bear was straight. Now, Bear is a confused guy, in some ways, and he doesn't even understand why he kisses Otter first. The kiss which ultimately ends up sending Otter to San Diego for three years until he can’t stay away any longer. The dance these men do is fraught with tension, hope, fear, love, desire, need, anxiety, and safety. It's one of the most powerful love stories I've ever read, and I've read a lot of them.


One of the most noticeable things about 'Bear, Otter, and the Kid', is the two main themes that intertwine throughout. The strongest theme is love and then family, and in this regard, it's the family Bear and the Kid made for themselves, not the one they were born into. Otter, Creed, Anna, and Mrs. Paquinn are the people who've never let Bear and the Kid down. Ever. Otter might've bent the strings a time or two, but this family is strong and connected with a love that made me cry several times throughout the book. These are the people who are there when Bear and the Kid's mom leaves them, and they are there when she comes back.


As I re-read what I've written I realize I haven't even come close to what I wanted to express in this review. So, I'm going to end it with this ~ 'Bear, Otter, and the Kid' is a book for the ages as its timeless story of love, friendship, and family will never grow old. There isn't a single moment of this book that I didn't love and I can't begin to thank TJ Klune for sharing it with me. Don't wait a minute more. Read it. You'll never regret it.






DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been purchased by the reviewer.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 375 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 01-November-2019
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link