Rating: 4 stars out of 5
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.
What makes me so very sad about this book is that it finishes up the At First Sight series and I will miss it so much. One of my all time favorite books is Tell Me It’s Real and Paul Auster is the character I would love to be. That book is a re-read and re-listen often, I’d give it ten stars if I could. Sandy’s story, The Queen and the Homo Jock King, is a solid 5. Until You, Vince and Paul’s wedding story, another solid 5. I was eagerly awaiting Kori/Corey’s story. I have to put it out there that I never read Bear/Otter stories so I was not introduced to Kori/Coery until this series.
Kori/Corey is a social work student living with Sandy who is a little more serious than the others, making this story a little more serious but not overly so. Kori/Corey is interning at Phoenix House, a center for LGBTQ kids and when the book begins is desperately missing Sandy and Darren, who are in Vegas and Paul and Vince, on their honeymoon. What I love most about this series is these people, from Nana to Charlie to Matty and Larry to the guys themselves (Paul, Vince, Darren, Sandy and Kori/Corey) are hardcore there for each other. They fold Jeremy and his dad, Robert, into the mess with little fanfare. They are sarcastic as hell, biting at times, sappy and smoopy rarely but they love shines through. “Hi, Kori, Vince said happily, squeezing me so tightly my back cracked. We came back from our honeymoon early! Sandy said you were sad, and I know how much you like it when I hug you, so here I am.” Vince…I forget how much I adore him.
I was definitely laughing here and often. Jeremy’s love of Coldplay and forcing others to realize they are listening to Coldplay in his sorority whore’s yellow Jeep gave me the best visual ever. Nana, who isn’t anything like my gramma but is definitely what I want to be when I grow up, taking Kori/Corey for a their first massage, “Enya was shrieking through the speakers overhead. The lit candles smelled like lemon-flavored ass” was a highlight. “There was a piano player. And candles on the table. Oh my god, old people on romantic dates was my new kink.”
Jeremy is the son of Charlie’s beau, Robert. He is also the former professor of Kori/Corey and subject of her/his mad crush. It doesn’t help that Jeremy is now the boss at Phoenix House and is also Hot Jogger Guy, which I found hysterical that Sandy recognizes no face when the bits are bouncing. And finding out Jeremy is the year’s Mr. Leatherman? “I needed to articulate exactly how I was feeling. “Blargh,” I said. “Urgh. Marf.” Perfect. That about summed it up.”
But more than anything, the book is about being true to who you are and what it takes sometimes to get there. Jeremy and Robert are lonely and being enfolded into this family is miraculous. Being accepted for yourself is miraculous. Being suited up in leather to spy on Mr. Leatherman? Glorious. There is a heavier feel to this book than the others and the message isn’t lost amongst the humor. The fight for acceptance got harder in 2016, the book is set, with the inauguration of a truly horrific president and this is made clear here.
But the overlying message is hope and love. Having friends, loving people and making sure the ones you love know it and are cared for.
Oh and the flash mob? Perfection.
The cover art by Reese Dante, Kori/Corey in some sexy heels, is absolutely perfect.
Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 350 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleWhy We Fight
Series At First Sight #4
Characters Corey/Kori Ellis, Paul Auster, Vince Taylor, Sanford “Sandy” Stewart, Darren Mayne, Jeremy Olsen
At First Sight Series: