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.