Review by Gabrielle

“Rosemary liked Logan so much, sometimes she thought her body couldn’t contain their friendship, like it wasn’t big enough for all the feelings she had for this other girl.”

Alison has done it again with another stellar read in Here We Go Again.

A long time ago, Logan Maletis and Rosemary Hale used to be friends. They spent their childhood summers running through the woods, rebelling against their conservative small town, and dreaming of escaping. But then an incident the summer before high school turned them into bitter rivals. After graduation, they went ten years without speaking.

Now in their thirties, Logan and Rosemary find they aren’t quite living the lives of adventure they imagined for themselves. Still in their small town and working as teachers at their alma mater, they’re both stuck in old patterns. Uptight Rosemary chooses security and stability over all else, working constantly, and her most stable relationship is with her label maker. Chaotic and impulsive Logan has a long list of misguided ex-lovers and an apathetic shrug she uses to protect herself from anything real. And as hard as they try to avoid each other—and their complicated past—they keep crashing into each other. Including with their cars.

But when their beloved former English teacher and lifelong mentor tells them he has only a few months to live, they’re forced together once and for all to fulfill his last a cross-country road trip. Stuffed into the gayest van west of the Mississippi, the three embark on a life-changing summer trip—from Washington state to the Grand Canyon, from the Gulf Coast to coastal Maine—that will chart a new future and perhaps lead them back to one another.

If Alison Cochrun were a musician, I’d say, “The hits just keep coming.” This book is definitely a chart topper. If books were albums, this is the kind of book you’d put on repeat in the car and belt out the lyrics to. It’s that good. While this is only her third book, I can say with confidence that Alison has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

Once again, we have terrific characters. It is so well-developed, complicated, and still somehow likable and relatable. While both ladies here are teachers, they couldn’t be more different. Rosemary is a buttoned-up perfectionist. She plans everything down to the last detail with colour-coded charts and can’t live without her laminator. On the other hand, Logan is a bit chaotic, more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type. And the two ladies don’t like each other much. They were best friends as kids but now can’t stand each other. They have one thing in common: their friend and mentor, Joe. Joe is another wonderful character. Larger than life and gayer than Elton John, he is so unapologetically himself. You can’t help but love him and immediately understand why he is so important to both Rosemary and Logan. So when he tells them he is dying, doesn’t have long to live and needs them to drive him across the country, you can understand why the ladies are conflicted. They both want to be there for Joe but don’t want to be trapped in a vehicle with each other. Ultimately, Joe convinces them, and the trio heads off on an epic road trip.

One of the things I love about Alison’s books is that she explores health issues through the eyes of her characters. In this book, we’re looking at neurodiversity, specifically ADHD. Both Logan and Rosemary have it but experience it very differently. I loved this detail as it highlighted the diversity that exists within that one diagnosis. I actually learned a lot about ADHD, especially through Rosemary’s character. I had no idea ADHD could even look like that. 

Just in case the book jacket description isn’t clear enough, this book has some sad parts. Everyone has to deal with the fact that Joe is dying and death is discussed at length. I felt Alison dealt with this masterfully.

The love story between Rosemary and Logan is done in a really unique way. This isn’t a typical enemies to lovers, although fans of the trope will find elements of it. We get some of the banter and the teasing you might expect but mostly these two tiptoe around each other. Their relationship develops in a way that feels like a gentle unfolding rather than a slamming realisation. It feels realistic and I loved every moment.

Here We Go Again proves Alison is a master of her craft; definitely not a one-hit wonder. It is a very worthwhile read.

Thank you, Atria Books for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.