NetGalley Review: “To Get to the Other Side” by Kelly Ohlert

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Steam: 🔥🔥 (fade to black)

Release Date: December 6th, 2022

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CW: toxic family dynamics, toxic masculinity, childhood bullying

Trixie isn’t exactly sure what she was thinking when she stopped her car in the middle of downtown Chicago, scooped up a chicken struggling to cross the road, and drove off… but she does know that she has to find a new home for herself and her new feathered friend. The landlord at her apartment doesn’t allow pets and has caught Trixie in one too many pet-smuggling attempts in the past.

Bear likes his quiet life with his close-knit family, who own a flower business, but he’s in for a rude awakening when his meddlesome sisters post an ad to rent the spare room in his simple home, without asking his permission. Still, when Trixie responds to the ad, he agrees to let her move in, despite immediate worries about keeping things platonic.

Determined to keep her new room, befriend Bear, and give her rescue chicken the care she deserves, Trixie fights to keep her walls up and resist her romantic feelings for Bear. However, it’s not long before the pair’s proximity and chicken parenting ignite flames that have Trixie and Bear testing the boundaries of their platonic ground rules. They have to figure out how to save a family business, pay for mounting vet bills, and navigate their own emotional baggage if they want to find the love that they all deserve.

 

Seeing the cover and reading the blurb when I requested the ARC on NetGalley, I was expecting something else. But I have to say that I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. It was fun, lighthearted for the most part, it had a fun meet-cute and great family dynamics (if you ignore both her parents and his biological dad). There’s also a pet chicken involved and while I loved the scenes with Chick-Chick, I feel like she took over a lot of the story. And that’s where I had my biggest issue. I’m all for people adopting odd pets and giving them their everything, but it felt a little too much at times. Which meant that the relationship between Trixie and Bear didn’t have a lot of time to evolve and grow. 

Whenever they are meddling family members involved in a romance plot, you know there are going to be wild shenanigans and Bear’s sisters are a riot. Sometimes it felt a little over the top, but for the most part, it was so entertaining. I love how desperately they want their brother to find happiness and all of the things they’d do to make that happen—including putting an ad in the paper that he’s looking for a roommate when he’s really not. Trixie and Bear’s slow burn was great. I liked that it took them time to get used to each other. Even though they’re pretty much instantly attracted to each other, both of them know that it takes a lot more than that to make any other decisions or take other steps.

Both of them have some trauma and pain in the past, which stops them from opening to other people. Bear’s dealt with bullying and a toxic father while Trixie’s had terrible parents and a friend who betrayed her—so trusting each other is hard. I liked how that was handled, because it really showed their growth and level of comfort with each other as well.

All in all, this was a fun read and I’m curious to see what else Kelly Ohlert has in store for us!

Thanks to Alcove Press and NetGalley for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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