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About The Book

The author of the “sexy, insightful, and utterly charming” (BuzzFeed) Kiss Her Once for Me returns with a new queer rom-com following once childhood best friends forced together to drive their former teacher across the country.

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 wish: 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.


Chapter One: Vista Summit, Washington Vista Summit, Washington Chapter One

As she stands in the middle of an Applebee’s being dumped by a woman she didn’t realize she was dating, Logan Maletis has a realization: this is all Death’s fault.

The way that hunchbacked skeleton holding a sickle and crunching its way over carnage had stared up at her from the tarot card with accusation in its eyes…

She should’ve known better than to let a sixteen-year-old with a septum piercing read her future.

But it was the last week of school, and most of her sophomores were done with their end-of-year projects and were now signing yearbooks or staring blankly at TikTok. After working a sixty-hour week, grading 150 final essays, and dragging at least a dozen seniors, kicking and screaming, across the finish line so they could graduate on time, Logan was too exhausted to consider why it might be a bad idea.

And Ariella Soto was so proud of her hand-painted tarot cards, so eager to show her English teacher her newfound skills of divination, and Logan couldn’t say no to that kind of earnestness.

So, Logan sat in a too-small desk across from her student and put her fate in those intensely manicured hands.

“Tarot doesn’t predict your future, Maletis,” Ariella had explained in her best woo-woo voice. “It’s best used as a tool for introspection and self-reflection.”

That seemed so much worse.

“Ask the cards a question.”

She’d overheard Ariella reading her classmates’ fortunes, sophomores who asked questions like, Where should I apply for college? and What should I do with my life? Those same students had gathered around to watch Maletis’s reading, and she couldn’t exactly ask a real question, like Will I ever move out of my dad’s house? or What should I do with my life? Instead, she closed her eyes and leaned into the theatrics. That’s her role at Vista Summit High School. She’s the fun teacher. The cool teacher. The teacher who doesn’t take anything too seriously. “Am I going to have an awesome summer?”

Ariella tutted disapprovingly and the rest of the class snickered. “You’re supposed to ask an open-ended question, like you make us do in seminar.”

Logan made a show of considering thoughtfully. “What awesome things should I do this summer?”

More adolescent laughter.

Ariella rolled her eyes at the rephrased question but flipped the first card anyway, and there was that skeletal bastard smirking up at Logan over a bloodred background. The death card. Logan’s first thought was Joe, and she tensed uncomfortably in the tiny desk.

“It doesn’t mean literal death, Maletis. Don’t look so freaked,” Ariella reassured her. “It’s a metaphorical death, usually. An ending.”

Again, she thought of Joe, but she kept her smile broad for her students. “Like… the end of a school year…?”

“Or perhaps the end of an important phase in your life,” Ariella said in the same mystical tone. “The end of your adolescence, perhaps?”

“I’m thirty-two.”

Her students laughed, but Ariella stared at her as though her heavy eyeliner allowed her to see directly into Logan’s soul.

Ariella continued, “Or, it’s possible it’s referring to the end of a relationship….”

At this, Logan relaxed a little. The boys made low oooo noises, and Waverly Hsu singsonged, “Maletis has a girlfriend,” over and over again.

Maletis and Schaffer sitting in a tree,” Darius Lincoln added. “K-i-s-s-i-n-g.”

That was what she loved about working with sixteen-year-olds; at turns, they watched both Euphoria and SpongeBob, tried to snort aspirin in the back of your classroom, and sang ridiculous nursery rhymes like innocent children at recess. They were goofy and weird, which meant she could be goofy and weird, too.

“Something in your life will come to an end, Maletis,” Ariella decreed, bringing the room back under her spell, and filling Logan with unexpected dread, “prompting a period of newfound self-awareness.”

Didn’t predict the future, her ass.

Because here she is, three days later and two hours into summer vacation, facing the end of a relationship she didn’t know existed, while she tries to enjoy her Tipsy Leprechaun. And it’s definitely Death’s fault.

“This just isn’t working,” the tiny white woman holding a Captain Bahama Mama tells her.

This… meaning… us?”

“I’m sorry to do it like this,” Schaffer shouts over the sound of two dozen teachers celebrating their freedom with watered-down cocktails and half-priced apps.

“But it seems best to have a clean break before summer,” Schaffer continues at a loud volume, alerting the gossipy counseling department that something dramatic is happening within earshot. Several of her colleagues turn to watch the scene unfold.

Teaching high school is often an exercise in humiliation, but this is a bit much, even for her.

It isn’t the dumping itself she takes issue with. She’s been dumped many times. In fact, she’s been dumped in this exact Applebee’s at least twice.

No, she takes issue with the fact that they’re surrounded by their hetero coworkers on all sides. The social studies teachers-slash-football coaches who were distracted by a Mariners’ game playing on the flat-screens are now attuned to this conversation. Sanderson and her crew of mean girls with their Pinterest-perfect classrooms are now ignoring their shared nachos to leer at the scene. Even her principal is doing a bad job feigning disinterest as he goes to town on a chicken wing.

Not that she really cares what her coworkers think of her. Most of them made up their minds about her when she started this job eight years ago.

Hell, at least half of them made up their minds about her when she started at Vista Summit High School as a ninth grader eighteen years ago.

But as the only openly queer teachers in their conservative small town, it would be nice if people weren’t staring at them like they’re a couple on The Ultimatum.

“Doesn’t a clean break seem best?” Hannah Schaffer asks in response to Logan’s blank stare. At least, Logan is pretty sure her first name is Hannah.

Like, 90 percent certain.

It’s definitely Hannah, and not Anna or Heather or Hayley.


It’s not Logan’s fault she’s fuzzy on the first name of her current casual-workplace-acquaintance-with-benefits. Most teachers at Vista Summit go exclusively by their last names as a byproduct of working at a school run by dude bros who once played Vista sports and then became teacher-coaches so they could revel in those glory days forever. At work, she’s never Logan. She’s Maletis. And the tiny blond with the pink drink is only ever referred to as Schaffer. Except in Logan’s phone, where her contact still reads “New Science Teacher” followed by a winky face emoji.

And you can’t get dumped by a woman whose contact is still a generic descriptor. Logan has dozens of ambiguous contacts in her phone—Cute Coffee Shop Girl and Emily Hinge and Hot Butch from Tinder—and none of those fleeting hookups ended with a breakup. They ended the respectable way: with a mutual fizzling out and absolutely no need for a serious conversation.

She doesn’t really do serious.

But Probably-Hannah Definitely-Schaffer seems hell-bent on having a serious conversation in this Applebee’s. “It can’t come as a surprise that I’m ending things.”

“It really can,” she grumbles into her drink. And is Sanderson… holding up her phone? Is she recording this atrocity? Logan fights to keep her stance casual and her face impassive. You can’t be hurt over the end of a relationship you didn’t know you were in.

“I mean, we can’t keep pretending we don’t have problems,” Schaffer continues. “Things haven’t been good between us for a while now.”

A while now? Logan scans her romantic history with this science teacher and tries to find any evidence that might justify the use of a while. From that first drunken makeout after a staff happy hour, Logan had made it clear they were keeping it casual. Late night U up? texts and never sleeping over. It wasn’t exactly the stuff that Nora Ephron films were made of. And it started… what? A month ago? Two months, tops.

So, yeah, Logan is surprised. And confused. And quite frankly, a little nauseous from this green drink.

“Look, you’re a fun time,” Probably-Hannah says. “But I think we should end things before either of us gets hurt.”

As if she would ever let herself care enough to get hurt. “You’re probably right,” she agrees in an attempt to expedite this postmortem on a fake relationship and get back to celebrating the start of summer. “Thanks for the talk. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to—”

Her evasive maneuvering is swiftly ignored. “I just think we’re in different places in our lives. You still live with your dad and you’re in your thirties.”

She says thirties like it’s a terminal diagnosis. Logan should’ve known better than to hook up with a zillenial who thought Mary-Kate and Ashley were three people. Like most of the young teachers at Vista Summit High School, Schaffer lives in Portland, a forty-minute drive across the river. And she’s very self-righteous about it. “It’s tragic the way your quality of life starts to decline at the ripe old age of thirty-two,” Logan snarks.

“You’re literally always complaining about your back, and you get sick every time you eat cheese,” she points out.

Fair point, Schaffer.

Hannah looks her up and down with an expression of barely concealed revulsion, and Logan wonders if Sanderson captured that on her phone, too. “What’s your plan, Logan?”

She considers this in the same way she considered what question to ask the tarot cards. “Well, I was probably going to order some mozzarella sticks, maybe switch to beer—”

“What is your plan for your life?” Schaffer interrupts. “Are you going to live with your dad in this disgusting town forever?”

She feels that question wedge itself deep into her chest. The end of your adolescence, perhaps?

“Vista Summit isn’t disgusting,” Logan says reflexively. Sure, the historically red voting trends in Vista Summit are abominable.

And the lack of openly queer people is less than ideal for a single lesbian.

And there’s the smell. From the paper mill up the river. So, in the literal sense, Vista Summit is technically disgusting, at least in odor.

And okay fine. Their current mayor is a former rodeo clown and current flat-earther who ran on a platform of bringing Chick-fil-A to town (a promise he still hasn’t made good on after seven years in office). And yes, she’s known most of these people her whole life, and they’re all a bunch of busybodies who’ve kept receipts on every mistake she’s made since she was in OshKosh B’gosh.

But… the town is right along the gorgeous Columbia River, and on clear days there is a staggering view of Mount Hood and the Gorge. There are ungoverned trees and open spaces, boundless green and hiking trails in every direction, so many ways to escape into nature where there are no walls and no rules and no one to judge her. Of course, she’d dreamed of escaping for real as a kid—of fleeing this suffocating small town for a life of adventure, a list of places she wanted to see written on notebook paper, carried around in her childhood best friend’s pocket.

But childhood dreams, like childhood best friends, aren’t meant to last. So, she stayed. And she’s fine staying.

“I’m not sure my life plans are any of your business,” she snaps at Schaffer. “Like, we were just hanging out, and if you’re done hanging out, that’s cool, but I don’t think we need to make it a whole thing.”

Just hanging out?” Probably-Hannah repeats slowly. “For four months, we’ve just been hanging out?”

Logan’s indifference falters for a minute. Four months?

No. It hasn’t been that long.

Has it?

“Four months?” she repeats. Had she really let it go on for that long? She usually knows better than that. Leave before you get left, because everyone leaves eventually. Logan isn’t the kind of woman people stick around for.

“Yes, four months. Did you forget to take your meds again this morning or something?”

And against all odds, Schaffer does manage to hurt her. Logan blinks back any signs of real emotion and juts out her jaw. “Look, I made it clear that this was casual from the beginning,” she says, “and it’s not my fault if you fell tit-over-clit in love with me.”

Probably-Hannah screws her fists to her hips and glares up at her. “Tell me something, Maletis. What’s my name?”

The entire Applebee’s has gone suspiciously quiet, and she gets the impression even the servers are watching this public flogging unfold. Sanderson is still holding up her phone. “Schaffer,” Logan answers with unearned confidence.

“My first name.”

Kristen fucking Stewart. Logan’s eyes dart around Applebee’s searching for a hint or an escape hatch or a deus ex fucking machina, but everyone in this room seems firmly poised against her, mocking her the same way the Death card had. She swallows. “It’s… Hannah.”

Hopefully-Hannah stares at her in stunned silence. And then she throws her Captain Bahama Mama directly into Logan’s face.

Logan closes her eyes and feels the pink sugar drink splash across her face, up into her hair. It drips down onto her favorite button-up shirt, the one with pineapples on it.

“I should’ve listened when everyone told me not to waste my time on an apathetic asshole who doesn’t care about anyone or anything,” Definitely-Not-Hannah seethes.

And Logan pretends that doesn’t hurt at all.

Not for the first time in her life, Logan flees the Vista Summit Applebee’s in disgrace.

It’s starting to rain as she storms through the parking lot, but it hardly matters since she already has Malibu and Captain Morgan all over her. Her bra is filled with sticky liquid that drips down her torso with each step.

She throws herself into her rust-orange Volkswagen Passat and searches for something to clean herself off with. But her car only contains empty Red Bull cans and Starbucks breakfast sandwich wrappers and paperbacks with dog-eared pages. She’s not shoving Roxane Gay down her shirt.

An apathetic asshole who doesn’t care about anyone or anything.

She wonders how long it will take for the entire town to hear the story of her Applebee’s humiliation. Perhaps Sanderson will upload the video to the town website to make it easier. Logan finds a single dirty hiking sock under the passenger seat and wedges that between her boobs to soak up the drink.

Something hot and frantic and terrifyingly tear-like builds up in her chest. There is no use crying over spilled garbage alcohol, and there is definitely no use crying over Not-Hannah.

It takes one… two… three tries for the car to start, and she fumbles for the tangled cord of her tape deck aux and plugs in her phone, pressing shuffle on her Summer Jams playlist. “Our Last Summer” from the Mamma Mia soundtrack starts playing at an unholy decibel.

I can still recall, our last summer…

She begins to back out of her parking spot as Colin Firth’s tragic bleating is cut off by the robotic voice of a Siri notification. “New message from JoJo DelGoGo rainbow emoji,” the default male Siri voice informs her, changing tone slightly as it reads the text from Joe: “Happy last day of school,” the message begins. “I don’t want to spoil this most sacred of days, but it would seem I’ve had a bit of a fall. I’ve tried to reassure my nurses that I’m fine, but they’ve insisted on bringing me back to Evergreen Pines because I might have, perhaps, broken my foot? You know how I feel about this godforsaken place. Could you please come by this evening?”

A bit of a fall.

Back to Evergreen Pines.

Broken my foot.


Her hands clench around the steering wheel. Smirking skeletons and carnage and a blood-red background. She wishes she could be more apathetic about this, but her entire body feels like it has turned to stone. She’s thinking about Joe and the Death card and endings, and not about the fact that she’s still backing out of her parking spot when there’s a screech of metal on metal as she whips toward the steering wheel. She slams on the brakes, but it’s too late.

She hit something.

Specifically, she hit another car.

More specifically—she looks in her rearview mirror—she hit a gray Toyota Corolla.

Shit on a fucking biscuit. Logan watches in horror as the driver of the Toyota flies out of the car like a bat out of Ann Taylor Loft. In the name of Shay Mitchell’s Instagram, no. Not her. Anyone but her.

Three-inch heels and black nylons, a gray pencil skirt and a cardigan with polka dots buttoned all the way up to her throat, all of it drenched in the brown liquid of an iced latte.

Who the hell teaches in three-inch heels?

Rosemary Hale, that’s who.

Of all the people she could’ve rear-ended, it had to be Hale. No one in this town keeps receipts better than her.

In the rearview mirror, Hale touches her pale pink fingernails to the wet splotch on her stomach like a soldier in a movie groping at a fatal bullet hole. Hale hasn’t updated her hairstyle since the sixth grade, so her pale blond hair is scraped back in its usual severe French braid, which swings like a pendulum as she shakes her head in horror. Her pasty-white skin has gone a splotchy red and purple. “You hit my car!” Hale shrieks.

And Ruby fucking Rose. She had. She’d been publicly ridiculed and dumped, Joe was injured, and she’d rear-ended the shit out of her childhood best friend turned nemesis’s car.

Colin Firth still warbles from the speakers. Our last summer.

Logan glances at Hale in the rearview mirror again, and for a moment, she sees a flash of the young girl she once cared about more than anything. That earnest, imaginative, brave girl. Then Hale stamps her foot, and all Logan sees is the woman that girl became and the destruction she herself has created.

This is probably Death’s fault, too.

About The Author

Hayley Downing-Fairless

Alison Cochrun is a former high school English teacher and a current writer of queer love stories, including The Charm Offensive and Kiss Her Once for Me. She lives outside of Portland, Oregon, with two giant dogs, her small wife, and too many books. You can find her online at or on Instagram as @AlisonCochrun.

Why We Love It

“Alison Cochrun has quickly risen to become one of the most acclaimed queer rom-com writers working today, and it’s easy to see why. Alison writes with such compassion for her characters—sensitively writing about mental health, coming out, and grief—and with a genuine, delightful sense of humor. So, when she told me she wanted to write a novel second chance, friends-turned-enemies to lovers driving their teacher across the country, I jumped at the opportunity to publish it. Alison writes about darker subject matter—in this case a loved one’s terminal illness—with depth and care, and she balances light and dark beautifully. This novel also gives us the chance to travel across the country, taking in amazing sights across America alongside Rosemary, Logan, and Joe. Buckle up!”

—Kaitlin O., Senior Editor, on Here We Go Again

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (July 3, 2024)
  • Length: 368 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668021194

Raves and Reviews

“Cochrun effortlessly toggles back and forth between moments of snortworthy comedy and heartbreaking emotional angst in this unforgettable queer love story that beautifully celebrates the powerful impact the right teacher can have on a student’s life and the absolute joy of finding someone who sees and loves you for the person you are.”
Booklist (starred review)

“Cochrun (Kiss Her Once for Me) maps out the road trip of a lifetime in this funny, poignant, and frequently tear-jerking queer rom-com… Cochrun conjures the feeling of infinite possibility that comes from summer on the open road while exploring the intricacies of love and the grief of an unfulfilled life. Complete with a beautiful romantic reunion, this unforgettable, heart-tugging romance is Cochrun’s best yet.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“It’ll make you laugh and it’ll make you cry, but above all else, it’ll make you miss that teacher who impacted your life when you were a kid. This book shows the things we’ll do for those we love, and that you can find humor in the sad times.”
—Hannah Grace, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Icebreaker

"Funny, tender, heart-wrenching, and hopeful. Here We Go Again is a love letter to educators and queer mentors, and opening up your heart even when it hurts. Alison Cochrun knocks it out of the park again."
—Rosie Danan, USA Today bestselling author of Do You Worst

“Funny and wise, sexy and smart and tender, this story has it all. A dazzling romance about letting go, second chances, and embracing the unexpected."
—Ashley Herring Blake, author of Delilah Green Doesn't Care

"Alison Cochrun's ability to hit me with a sentence that makes me laugh out loud, then a sentence that gets me hot, then a sentence that gives me chills is truly unparalleled. Reading an Alison Cochrun book is a full-body experience. There was so much in Here We Go Again about showing up for other people and showing up for yourself, and I was here for all of it."
—Alicia Thompson, USA Today bestselling author of With Love, from Cold World

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