The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know by Brent Hartinger

Posted December 15, 2014 by shooting in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know by Brent Hartinger

Review by Lauren

source: copy from Netgalley/author; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Russel Middlebrook is twenty-three years old, gay, and living in trendy
Seattle, but life isn’t keeping up with the hype. Most of his friends have a
direction in life—either ruthlessly pursuing their careers or passionately
embracing their own aimlessness. But Russel is stuck in place. All he knows is
that crappy jobs, horrible dates, and pointless hook-ups just aren’t cutting it

What’s the secret? What does everyone else know that he doesn’t?

Enter Kevin, Russel’s perfect high school boyfriend. Could rekindling an old
flame be the thing Russel needs to get his life back on track? Or maybe the
answer lies in a new friend, an eccentric screenwriter named Vernie Rose, who
seems plenty wise. Or what the hell? Maybe Russell will find some answers by
joining his best friend Gunnar’s crazy search for the legendary Bigfoot!

One way or another, Russel is determined to learn the all-important secret
to life, even if it’s a thing he doesn’t even know he doesn’t know.

Review: You might remember the Russel Middlebrook books, starting with Geography Club, which I reviewed in the past. This is the same guy, but now he’s 23 and this new series of books reads more like NA than YA, and I loved it! This is what I wanted when people started talking about NA. Similar stories about growing up and making your way through life, like YA and Adult books cover, but focused on the twenty-something crowd. Nothing too angsty or books all about sex. Something realistic, at least in terms of contemporary YA.

As for this particular book, Russel is living on a houseboat in Seattle with his long-time best friends, Min and Gunnar. Min is in graduate school and making new friends. Gunnar earned a lot of money with a successful app, which paid for the houseboat and allows him to aimlessly research new interests, like Bigfoot. As for Russel, he’s working two jobs and hooking up with random guys because he let his high school boyfriend “walk” away. Now that boyfriend, Kevin, is in town and Russel isn’t sure if dating him again would make things better or not. Russel has also met an older lady named Vernie Rose, who has been through a lot in her life and is happy to pass along her wisdom and knowledge.

I really appreciated this book, being in my twenties at the moment, because sometimes it does feel like other people have their lives figured out and you’re just wandering. I definitely have goals and a path that I’m moving toward, but there are plenty of things I don’t know or haven’t done yet. It’s all a part of life, and it’s great to follow Russel on that journey.

Since this is NA, there are some sexual scenes. Nothing too overly graphic, but just something I like to point out! I’m definitely excited for the second book in this new series, coming out in 2015.

14 responses to “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know by Brent Hartinger

  1. It's interesting to see a series evolve like that from YA to NA but in fact it's what makes it more realistic I think. I like the idea as the characters grow up. Thanks for the review!

  2. THIS. I want that desperately too Lauren. Realistic NA that isn't sexually based, but being in your 20's and struggling like most of us did or still are. It's been a while, but I can't remember spending my early 20's swinging from chandeliers like a porn star.

    This sounds brilliant. Even being straight, I love reading LGB books. Contemporaries always seem gentler and the characters are always far more complex too. It's the authors, they tend to put more effort into the realism. I'm definitely grabbing a copy. Thanks for sharing Lauren and brilliant review! <3

  3. I'm really glad that you've got to see the NA aspect of their story. I so wish that some YA stories contained as NA. But well. Also I'm glad that this one wasn't only about the sex. Great review 🙂

  4. I remember the previous books and it's cool he wrote one for later on down the road. I really want to read this but I want to read the others first. One of these days!

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