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“xRussel 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.”

This was another gift from my Secret Santa on Goodreads. They were so good to me ❤

So despite how I felt about the last book, I am a screaming fangirl over Brent Hartinger so I wanted this book. I was excited because Russel was a teenager when I was just starting high school and now that I am out on my own and 22, it was amazing to see how Russel has changed over the years now that he is 23. This book struck so many chords. Russel, I take back everything I said about you in the last review of your stories, you are perfection.

The plot is Russel is trying to figure out what he is doing in life while he works two jobs (lifeguard and baker at a novelty bread shop) in Seattle. Russel is starting to experience gay life in a city which is full of hook-ups, HIV danger, and a lot of low expectations (there is a reason I don’t go into S.F. alone). Then he runs into Kevin Land and he realizes he never got over the hunky boy that he met in a stinky gazebo.

Gunnar is dealing with an emotional issue by hunting big foot in a very obsessed way. Min is going to grad school. She is bisexual so of course there is a plot line where she dates a boy and a girl at the same time *gasp* stereotypes for bisexual people strike again. I am torn between being happy that  there is a poly relationship in a book I am reading that is seen as a non-issue and being pissed that of course it is a the bisexual character in it and it is female, female, male so there is no hint at male bisexuality.

I do like that Hartinger took on the issue of PrEP which is a hot button issue with the queer community, especially those in the higher risk areas such as S.F., NY, and Seattle. I am a little mixed at how the author portrayed Dan Savage, but that is because the author was 100% right. There is no easy view of him, though my view is 98% negative.

So without a great deal of spoilers, I will say that the ending was a bit cliched and pushed really fast in a wrap-up style. Despite that or maybe even because of that I love it. Outside of my issues about Dan Savage and poly representation this book was amazing and I am anxiously waiting for the next one.

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4.5 out of 5 stars. I would recommend this book.

You can buy this book here.