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Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun (book review)

GENRE: Adult Romance
LENGTH: 353 pages

PLOT
English teachers Logan Maletis and Rosemary Hale are former childhood best friends turned enemies. Their old teacher/father figure Joe Delgado is dying and his final request is to have them take him on a cross country road trip to his cabin in Maine. Can the two put aside their differences for their love of their shared mentor?
CHARACTERS Logan and Rosemary are very much opposite characters in terms of their personalities though both struggle with their mental health - Logan has ADHD and Rosemary has an anxiety disorder. Logan is impulsive and has a tendency to run away from emotions and relationships because of her mother's abandonment. Rosemary is very rigid and organized in an attempt to maintain control and thus manage her anxiety. While I related more to Rosemary's struggles it was Logan's journey that compelled me the most. While Rosemary learns to let go, Logan learns to hold on. Them being so different is what helps solidify their relationship as they challenge and complete each other.
Joe reminds me a little bit of a teacher I had back in high school. He's warm and fosters this nurturing environment for his students. He really becomes more of a parent to Logan and Rosemary than a mentor though he has very open relationships with them. While I liked Joe and his relationship with the girls I was more invested in Logan and Rosemary's relationship than Joe.

WRITING
The novel is told from the third person perspectives of Logan and Rosemary. The novel is a mash up of the friends to lovers and enemies to lovers romance tropes. The book thematically deals with the topics of grief, mental health, and personal growth. The novel also touches on homophobia.
All of Cochrun's books feature main characters with mental illnesses - and oftentimes one of them has an anxiety disorder. As someone with clinical depression and an anxiety/panic disorder these books mean the world to me. They have such positive representation and I have never felt as seen as I do reading Cochrun's books. The representation is positive in that not only does it feel accurate, but it is pro-therapy and demonstrates the characters' struggles with their mental health while not having that be their entire character.
Joe's character teaches his pupils that life has both beauty and pain. This message is reflected flawlessly in the writing as it balances moments of humor with more series scenes depicting Joe's physical decline. The humor isn't to my personal taste as it was, in my opinion, juvenile, but that is of course subjective.
I had two minor complaints with the material of this book. The first is that while I believe Joe had good intentions, he asks Logan a leading question which causes Rosemary to come out to Logan when I'm not entirely sure she was ready. The second is that Logan surprise gifts Joe with a dog. This is another case of her heart being in the right place but I don't condone getting pets as surprise gifts and don't want readers to feel encouraged by this.

FINAL THOUGHTS Kiss Her Once for Me remains my favorite of Cochrun's three novels to date but this was a very solid addition to her body of work. It's her most emotional book to date and though the humor wasn't my personal style I loved how Cochrun balanced the lighter moments with the much heavier ones. It made it a much easier read, though by the end I was still choking back tears.
FINAL RATING: 4.25⭐️
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