The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #1) By Brent Hartinger (5 Stars)

I’m hooked on this author’s writing. I’m so glad he decided to move into “adult” books, or I never would have had the pleasure of enjoying his storytelling capabilities.

Russel Middlebrook is an extremely engaging character, and I positively adored him. Although his life seems to be going nowhere, his outlook and humor kept me smiling. Russel thinks he should have already figured out his life’s goals. At a minimum, he should have at least decided between Passionate Aimlessness or having an Unstoppable Career Drive. He’s working two jobs that he doesn’t really like. He lives with two of his best friends, Min and Gunnar, and they were definitely an entertaining group. Gunnar’s quest for Big Foot held a deeper meaning and led to an interesting excursion for the two of them. I also enjoyed the details we learned about Seattle. For as little as Russel seems to think is going on in his life, he certainly kept me captivated with his story.

I wouldn’t really classify this as a romance. Although we do see Russel have sex with multiple partners, he spends most of his time pining for Kevin. Kevin was the first and only love of his life from high school. There is a happy ending, but it’s really just a set up for the next story in the series. Needless to say, I can’t wait until that one comes out!


Originally reviewed for Swept Away By Romance. Complimentary copy provided by author/publisher for an honest review.


“I guess this was what they meant by a loss of innocence. Who knew?”

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 anymore.

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 Russel 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.

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