I have waffled back and forth on this, because I've not seen the movie, but the blurb is just too close for MY comfort, so I'm keeping the 3 stars I originally gave it along with this caveat.
So... Bear, Otter and the Kid. One of the most popular books of the past year. Everyone loved it. Well, I kinda wish we had the ability to award half stars, because this at times was a 3 1/2 star book for me. Young love, gay for you, love conquers all - it was all here.
Of the title characters, I loved Otter and I loved the Kid - Bear, not so much. I wanted to smack him far too many times for me to love him. Good Lord, talk about getting in your own way! Sheesh! I think he was just a little TOO ... whatever he was supposed to be - neurotic, damaged, paranoid. And a lot of it was the same stuff over and over. Not a great student, our Bear. :) In retrospect, maybe giving a couple of Bear's flaws to Otter might have been a good thing. I found myself wishing that Bear would pick one metaphor for his inner feelings and stick with it - be it the ocean or the earthquakes. (I really liked the whole bathtub for safety thing.) I also wished he'd stop hitting us over the head with them so often. Introspection is good, but too much of it just makes the character seem selfish, self-absorbed and not sympathetic at all - at least to me.
That being said, I did enjoy the actual scenes between the characters. Bear and Otter were sweetly sexy and hot. Bear and Tyson were adorable and made me laugh out loud more than once. Creed, Anna, Mrs. Paquin - I enjoyed their appearances as well. I think that was the strongest part of the book for me - the characters interacting.
The huge stumbling block that was thrown in for the last quarter of the book seemed unnecessary to me. I think the conflict between the characters could have carried us through to the end and the 'twist' felt a little like 'deus ex machina' to me. I still don't get the motivation behind that one character's actions.
I did enjoy the choice to write the book using the 1st person POV and present tense. It was different and refreshing for the most part and the author did it quite well. :) If I'm honest, Bear, Otter and the Kid felt like to me as if the author was trying to write their own story in Amy Lane's Promises series and for me, it doesn't quite measure up. Would I recommend it? Yes, I would. Would I read something else by T.J. Klune? Yes, I would.
**review edited after discussion about the plagiarism issue**