THE ROAD TO AMAZING Discussion Guide

Warning: Contains Plot Spoilers!

The Road to Amazing
By Brent Hartinger


Twenty-five year-old Russel Middlebrook is finally marrying his boyfriend. But when the two of them gather their close friends together in a big house on a remote island the weekend before the ceremony, everything seems to go wrong.


(1) People are complicated and ever-changing.


(2) Weddings and friendships involve exactly the same thing: authentic connections between individuals.

(3) The most satisfying mystery in life is the exploration of other people.

(4) Life is an adventure only if you choose to see it that way and decide to make it one.

Listen to the author discuss this book


(1) Every book in the Futon Years trilogy is set in a different place: The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know in Seattle, Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams in Los Angeles, and The Road to Amazing on Vashon Island. Did you like this? What role does Vashon Island play in this story?

(2) In the first Russel Middlebrook book, Russel is sixteen years old. In The Road to Amazing, he’s twenty-five. How has he changed over the years? How is he still the same?

(3) How have Russel’s friends changed over the years? How are they still the same?

(4) Russel says at the beginning of the book that he and Kevin aren’t having second thoughts about the wedding, he isn’t being neurotic, and his weekend wedding doesn’t include any great angst or drama. How is he telling the truth? How is he lying? In the end, is Russel a reliable narrator?

(5) Is Min right that Russel is afraid to grow up? Should he be? Is Vernie right when she says that people have a choice in whether or not they turn boring?

(6) What did you think about the fact that Otto is being harassed online? Do you think that’s realistic? Later, he and Russel decide there might be more evil than good in the world, but that good is more powerful. Do you think they’re right?

(7) What do you think of the sex scene between Russel and Kevin in the town of Amazing? What role does it play in the story?

(8) What do you think about Russel’s explanation for what happened to the people of Amazing? Does what “really” happened to them matter?

(9) How is a friend different from a spouse? How are they the same? Who is Russel’s best friend? Who is your favorite of his friends?

(10) What do you think about Russel and Kevin’s thoughts on weddings? Do you agree? What is the purpose of a wedding?

(11) What do you think the road to Amazing represents? What does Russel mean when he says the place he’s going to is the place where he already is?

(12) Do you think Russel and Kevin will have a good marriage? Do you think Russel will have an amazing life? Why or why not?

Brent Hartinger