Book Reviews

Why We Fight (At First Sight 4) by TJ Klune at BOATK Books

Genre Gay / Bisexual / Genderfluid / Contemporary / Students/Teachers/Professors / Romance
Reviewed by Christy Duke on 06-November-2019

Book Blurb

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 nothing more than hero worship. And that's the way it should stay. 

 

Except bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House for the summer, a LGBTQI youth center. A center that recently hired an interim director until someone can be found to fill the position permanently. 

 

Because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now turned 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.

 

First edition published by Dreamspinner Press, May 2019.

 

Book Review

There was a touch of bittersweetness during my reading of this final book in the ‘At First Sight’ series. I discovered m/m romance in 2012 and this author is one I gravitated towards very early due mainly to loving his ‘Bear, Otter, and the Kid’ series. When he finished that series with the final book in 2017, I felt very much the same as I do right now – sad, a little melancholy, but deeply grateful for having known the characters and experiencing their journeys with them. I know, I know. I haven’t lost Paul, Vince, Sandy, Darren, Corey/Kori, Charlie, Robert, Mattie, Larry, Nana, Wheels, and Johnny Depp. There will always be rereads. Always. But the exhilaration and joy of reading these books for the first time will be gone. ‘Why We Fight’ was a learning experience for me – a cisgender, white, heterosexual woman – and it was also absolutely everything I wanted for Corey/Kori.

Corey is the very first bigender character I have ever known, so to speak, and everything about him interested me, but not because of his gender identity. He’s a person of color, he’s only twenty-three, he’s far more mature than most people his age, and unlike so many people, Corey has reached a point in his life where he’s happy with who he is. He’s worked so hard getting scholarships to attend Dartmouth for his four-year degree and he’s currently in the graduate program at the University of Arizona. I’m not saying that these things are remarkable because he’s a person of color; no, I’m saying it’s astonishing because he grew up in the foster care system with essentially apathetic caretakers, so his ambition to make his life what he has and what he will is incredible. I adored him from the first moment I met him when he befriended Tyson in New Hampshire.

Corey may be just as snarky and badass as most of the other characters in this series but he struggles with his loneliness. He’s happy for his friends, his family really, that they’ve found the loves of their life, although he could do with some more brain bleach from having to watch Paul and Vince make googly eyes at each other, and accidentally walking in on Sandy and Darren having sex on the living room floor. (Gross.) His shyness and awkwardness around Jeremy are absolutely fabulous to watch, and his insecurities gave me all of the feels. Watching him and Jeremy fall in love was just about the best thing ever and Jeremy was as wonderful as I had anticipated.

From the moment TJ Klune announced the title of this book, I found myself wondering what it could mean. ‘Why We Fight’. Once I was reading and realized that it’s set in the summer of 2016, I knew why this is the only possible title for Corey’s book. It’s less about Corey’s fight than it is about the GLBTQIA fight to be heard, to be seen, to be recognized as the people they are in the tumultuous year the American people elected a bigoted, racist, homophobic, xenophobic, sexist, misogynistic a**hole to the highest position in our land. It’s the summer when every single step forward, every win that had occurred in the previous eight years was in a position of being renounced, and that struck fear in the hearts of so many.

Once again, I find myself at the end of a review that feels so inadequate. I loved the slow-burn romance between Jeremy and Corey. I loved the sexual tension that runs rampant throughout the story. I loved the Phoenix House where Corey and Jeremy worked with GLBTQIA teenagers for the summer. I loved seeing all the people that make this series so amazing. I plain loved ‘Why We Fight’. Period. End of story.

“We march because we have to in order to be heard.
We celebrate because it’s our goddamn right.
We have pride because we have had to fight for recognition, and we deserve to acknowledge our accomplishments.”

 

 

 

 

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, 464 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 30-October-2019
Price $5.99 ebook
Buy Link https://www.amazon.com/Why-Fight-First-Sight-Book-ebook/dp/B07ZTSS596