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“In this latest book, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise – the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he’s drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology obsession.

But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?”

I am a total fan of the Russel Middlebrook series, but there is only so much Russel a guy can take. I got this book as part of a gift exchange on Goodreads and I am still happy I got it (THANK YOU SO MUCH, SECRET SANTA). My issue is Russel kept saying the title of the book, like I wouldn’t have been able to get the point that the “elephant of surprise” always comes along in *gasp* a surprising way.

​Don’t get me wrong, I love the series. This was just my least favorite book in it. It seemed out of character for Min to do what she did about her girlfriend. That was over the top and a bit ridiculous. So was the basis for the plot for Russel. This book didn’t feel like a coming of age tale anymore, but instead it was a tale of things that teenagers shouldn’t be doing (Min) and a tale of Freeganism (which if you have spent much time around Freegans you will realize that the author presented a very romanticized view of the community. I really wish this was how Freegans really are, but sadly I have yet to see someone as awesome as the main Freegan in the book).

If you are a fan of this series, then by all means read this one too. It really gives you that closure about the whole Kevin plot line that never seems to end (nor do I ever want it to), but if you are not that into the characters or the books for some strange reason then this is a good one to skip. It isn’t awful, but I just don’t love Russel in this one like I did in all of the other books.

I am excited beyond belief that there is an older audience book (December 15th). I WANT IT SO BAD. I started this series when I was in middle school, now I am 22. Russel is now 23. Can this be as awesome as I see it? I will find out!

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3 out of 5 stars. I would tentatively recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.

~Isaiah

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