"I think gay guys like weddings more than anyone. And it's not because we want to destroy marriage, like some people say. It's because we really, really want to get married!"
Russel Middlebrook is gettin' hitched! The wedding is taking place in a remote lodge on an island in Puget Sound. Russel and his husband-to-be have invited all their close friends to spend the whole weekend together beforehand. And for the first time in his life, Russel is determined to not be neurotic, and not over-think things.
But that's before things start going wrong. Who expected a dead killer whale to wash up on the beach below the inn? And what's this about a windstorm approaching? Then there's the problem of Russel's anxious fiancé, who is increasingly convinced the whole thing is going to be a disaster.
Meanwhile, the wedding is taking place near the ruins of a small town, Amazing, where, a hundred years earlier, the people supposedly all disappeared overnight. Why does it feel like the secret at the end of the road to Amazing has something to do with Russel's own future? Can Russel's friends Min, Gunnar, Vernie, and Otto somehow help him make it all make sense?
The Road to Amazing, the final book in the Russel Middlebrook Futon Years trilogy, is a story about endings and beginnings, and also about growing up and growing older. But mostly it's a story about love and friendship - about how it's not the destination that makes a life amazing, but the people you meet along the way.
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So happy my favorite characters are back!
I basically binge listened to first The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know then Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams. While I liked the first, I didn’t particularly connect with the second, so I started The Road to Amazing with a bit of trepidation worried I might not like it.
I needn’t have worried. Hartinger brings back all the characters I’ve loved and sets a really sweet tone amidst the chaos of a wedding weekend where so much goes wrong. Dead Orca on the beach below your wedding venue? Check. Huge storms knocking out power? Check. Wedding guests not being able to get to the island the wedding is happening on? Check.
However, through it all Russel keeps his cool (with a lot of help from his friends) and calms nervous groom Kevin (with a lot of help from their friends).
For me, it’s truly the supporting cast that makes this series fun, but what makes it really enjoyable is narrator Josh Hurley. I’ll say it again, Josh Hurley really does an excellent job with the different character voices. I also love how he portrays the myriad of expressed character emotions.
And can I just give a shout out to my boy Gunnar? You may not be easily understood, but you are definitely one of my favorite characters! Love you, boo!
I’ve enjoyed my time with Russel, Kevin and the gang. My wish for the future? I hope, if there are more installments, that Hartinger will open up the points of view to include Kevin and Minh, Gunnar and/or Otto.
The best series I have read in two years!