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The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know

Written by: Brent Hartinger
Narrated by: Josh Hurley
Length: 6 hrs and 43 mins
Categories: LGBT
4.5 out of 5 stars (2 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"I guess this was what they meant by a loss of innocence. Who knew?"

Russel Middlebrook is 23 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.

©2014 Brent Hartinger (P)2015 Audible, Inc.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Keith G
  • 2018-01-16

Good, but sliding toward meh

Dear lord. Why do so many YA/NA authors sacrifice narrative punch for the chance to moralize?

There is a good narrative here with some cool writing - rounded characters and a strong sense of place. Unfortunately, several times in the flow of the story things come to a stop so the author can tell us what he thinks about the topic at hand (PrEP, monogamy, bisexuality, proper remorse after casual sex, etc.). It's as if one is watching a cool movie, but the interesting action stops so that a character can spout half a page of exposition.

Come on, Brent. If you are going to present lessons to gay young adults, use smaller bites incorporated within the action.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ben
  • 2015-08-14

Impressive

With as much expertise as Hartinger used in transitioning Russel's story from one for young adults to new adults, so too has Hurley brought Russel to life. The text is different. It's less vague, and there are explicit references to the world around the characters. No more guessing. You know exactly where the characters are. The text is more advanced insofar that it is written for adults, providing slightly coarser language and depiction of scenes, though never distaste fully. Russel continues to embody the same thoughts and feelings as all of us, and he struggles and acknowledged his flaws, just as we must. Never have I read a book (or listened to one) in which the character feels so human—so real. You can't help but find yourself in Russel. And he's oh so charming :)

Josh Hurley continues to narrate smoothly, capturing all of the raw emotion going through Russel's head. His voice lends itself perfectly to such a likable character. He has also managed to age with Russel out of Russel's teen years. His pacing is perfection.

The new characters are good, too. Especially Vernie. And the ending. Oh the ending. I was smiling broadly the entire last chapter!

Highly recommended, especially if you've read the YA series first. I love that I can keep listening, growing, and enjoying Russel without feeling like it isn't age appropriate.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • CK
  • 2018-04-28

About finding yourself, very little romance

Any additional comments?

I didn't read any books from the previous Russel Middlebrook series - and didn't feel lost at all jumping in at Russel's post-college years, but maybe that would have warmed me up to like this book beforehand. That being said, although I like a good YA book, I can't say I feel compelled to go and read the previous books.

While "The Thing I Didn't Know ..." had a charming and memorable quality that kept me listening, it never fully sucked me in on an emotional level. I admit I was expecting more romance (since it's in the Romance package), but got a coming-of-age/friendship story instead - which is okay, but it still didn't capture my heart. It was an episodic, days/weeks/months-in-the-life style of storytelling with a unique flair that kept me curious to know what would unfold next and how it would all resolve. I was satisfied after finishing - enough to move on to the next book in the series (although I admit I'm not tearing my way through that one, either).

Having previously lived in the Seattle area, I did love the setting, local flavors/background, and references to the locations visited - but it's probably not a big deal for those unfamiliar with the area (notwithstanding the South Lake Union Trolley acronym faux pas!).

The narration is well done and the narrator's voice really matches the age and tone of the characters and story.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Norman
  • 2016-01-14

love this book

I love this book and the series. it is so romantic and can't wait until I read the others. I also hope that Kevin and Russel get married and have kids of their own.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • HaloLove
  • 2015-06-06

This was a fun listen!

Any additional comments?

What an interesting and somewhat fun journey to self discovery you get to go on with Russell. And his best friends weren't obnoxious or annoying. Their side stories added to the overall enjoyment of this entire story.

There were some preachy parts I became really bored with but once you get past those, the story really does make you laugh and leaves you feeling really good by the end.

I wasn't too keen on who Russell ended up with, only because you really do not get to have any quality time getting to know the person.

Had there been an adventure the two went on together without drama, that may have helped the perception and opened me up to liking them together. I felt they were kind of thrown together at the end because a HEA was needed and expected.

And that HEA was rushed and felt awkward, especially with how wonderful the rest of the story was. That's why this ended up being a 4 star instead of a 5 star for me.

💞 Josh Harley 💞 Amazing as usual! 😍

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-08-29

As always

Beautifully written. Beautifully narrated. Beautifully experienced. Binged all the books thus far in less than 2 weeks.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-24

Excellent Story

This story has some excellent character development with an interesting plot without a real antagonist. It is exceptionally well placed in Seattle,

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  • FORMER Kindle Customer
  • 2019-03-30

How do you know what you need to know?

This book provides the eye and brain opening steps of one young man and his friends discovering each other and the realities of the world around them.

it does not answer all the questions, such as "why am I different?" or "what am I supposed to do with my life?" But it does give great insight into human misbehavior, emotions, and where to hunt for love and Sasquatch.

None of these are easy to find in real life, but all have many fake substitutes. Hint: Objects in the mirror are closer than you think.

The internet can be helpful, but it never has all of the information, and never is fully correct. It is like the world you parents want you to see as you grow up, not the world they try to protect you from. You still have to figure it out, mostly on you own or with those you trust.

Eventually it will be figured out or you die and it no longer matters.

But the search for "what you did not know you did not know" blends with "what you know but did not know you knew" and "how to interpret the real meaning of knowing or not knowing".

So keep an open mind and throttle your emotions. Trust your friends. Love your family. Live, Love, Laugh. Enjoy life!

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  • B
  • 2018-11-28

sweet story

this was a sweet story, I'd describe it as a coming of age story. I enjoyed it, although struggled a little with some of it that o just didn't find funny. but then I'm older than 30

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  • Kim
  • 2018-10-29

not a fan of cheating

LOVED this unique fun story until the cheating. then, DNF. why go there?!?! ugh. sad.