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 have to admit that I was a little skeptical about reviewing this book since it's part of series with like four books already released, but Hartinger assured me in his pitch that it could be read as a stand-alone, so I gave it a shot. I am so unbelievably glad that I did.
I don't want to focus on the fact that this book is LGBT because although it's a big part of it there are so many different aspects of this story that all make it something much bigger. This book isn't really emotional territory, nor is it trying to make any type of statement, this book is witty and poignant in the right places, and even though there are never any really heartbreaking moments and I'd only just met the characters I honestly started to love them and feel for them.
This book was also educating. I loved reading about Wade and the other freegans and their way of life, and I think that Hartinger did a fantastic job in not portraying them all as radicals despite some of the things that happen in the book. min and Gunnar were also fantastic characters to meet, I instantly grew to love Gunnar - he was so crazy and witty that he made me smile whenever he popped up. Min took me a while to like, but she's such a great friend to Russel that I grew to love her. Though Russel did come across as a little weedy at points, I think he was such an engaging character to read about and follow and I can't wait to read the rest of this series.
Despite having not followed Russel and Kevin's romantic storyline from the first book, it was pretty easy to see that Kevin still cared so i was totally rooting for this couple. I did like Wade, but it was pretty obvious that he was only going to be a temporary character. I also wasn't too shocked at the ending, but I was still cheering because it was what I wanted.
Overall, Brent Hartinger has managed to engage me into this series halfway through. Despite being thrown into the middle of the ongoing storylines, I had no problem fitting into the book and taking on the characters. A great book, I would absolutely love to read the rest of this series!
Overall Rating: A-
Book released 30th March 2013 by Buddha Kitty Books
Book received from the author in exchange for an honest review.