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A Hilarious Sapphic Road Trip Romance About Death and English Teachers

Alison Cochrun’s latest romance novel, Here We Go Again, opens with an ending. Well, a few endings. It’s the last day of classes for both Logan Maletis and Rosemary Hale, fellow English teachers (and childhood best friends turned sworn nemeses) at Vista Summit High School. Logan is fresh off of pulling the Death card from a student’s Tarot deck when she’s broken up with in an Applebees by a woman 1. whose name she doesn’t know and 2. who she didn’t realize she was dating. Rosemary is getting similarly bad news in this very same Applebees! The school is “temporarily letting her go” (laying her off!), citing budget cuts.

In the midst of all of this, Joe Delgado, their beloved former high school English teacher (yes, they are all English teachers!) and stand-in father figure, is losing his fight with pancreatic cancer. He has metastases and wants to spend his last days in his cottage in Maine. And he’s decided that, despite their long-standing enmity, both Logan and Rosemary will drive him cross-country to get there. And because they love him, they do exactly that. They set off in a van emblazoned with “The Queer Cuddler” on its side and with Joe’s almost-service dog, Odysseus, in tow. Rosemary has a plan and a binder, but both of these things are quickly abandoned and the journey is far better for it.

Cochrun is a veritable romance expert, and Here We Go Again is perhaps her best yet. She’s crafted a love story with so much yearning, so much heart and care, with sticky-sweet summer and childhood innocence strewn throughout the pages. She captures so perfectly the feeling of being in love with your childhood best friend before you have the language to explain it! And Cochrun does all of this with the specter of death looming throughout the pages. Every state line that the trio crosses brings them closer to another ending. In fact, this is just as much a novel about love as it is about death.

Despite the abounding death, I never thought Here We Go Again was heavy. It’s emotional, for sure, but Cochrun seamlessly weaves humor throughout the novel. From the way the characters exclaim “Eleanor fucking Roosevelt” to express their surprise, to the description of the mayor of Vista Summit (a former rodeo clown and flat earther whose platform was bringing Chick-Fil-A to the town). Or my personal favorite, the way that Logan and Rosemary react to finding an analog nude (read: painting) of Joe Delgado in Santa Fe. I found myself chuckling throughout the novel.

With Here We Go Again, we get to witness the road trip of a lifetime. Joe sets his terms for his departure, making sure he takes it all in (and gets some action) one last time. And Logan and Rosemary hero-journey their way through the contiguous United States, finding church drag shows and gas station shrimp and magical sunsets and somewhere along the way, the long-untouched love they once shared as tweens. And Odysseus… well, he’s there for it all.

Here We Go Again by Alison Cochrun is out now.

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Ashni is a writer, comedian, and farmer's market enthusiast. When they're not writing, they can be found soaking up the sun, trying to make a container garden happen, or reading queer YA.

ashni has written 48 articles for us.

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