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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.

What listeners say about The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 Stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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! 😍

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not too impressed

Very heavy handed/on the nose. There was a pretty lengthy review by someone else that was very accurate. Not very well written, characters that you don’t know well enough to care about and the main character is just barely like-able. Mediocre, unfortunately. I was hoping for a love story with a deep connection… didn’t get that but I did get a whimsical Sasquatch hunt, which I enjoyed more than I did a lot of the rest of the story 🤣

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Rough start, but found it’s groove

Great narration, Josh is amazing. The story? I nearly stopped listening a couple of times. I am reading out of order and started with The Otto Digmore Difference and loved it. I felt like this was a different author at first. All the attempts to be current with things like the Prep talk and Dan Savage seemed forced. But once it really got down to the characters, well, one in particular, the book grew on me. By the end I recognized the style I so enjoyed in Otto. Willing to continue with the next title.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Bigfoot?

This story was really all over the place, it branched off in so many different directions as is the writer couldn’t really decide what he wanted the story to be about. I’m giving 2 stars overall because there were a few parts that made me laugh out loud.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Week young man. Sad most of the way

This was not a great story, the performance was outstanding, with a different reader I would have turned it off in chapter 3. The main character wanted to be accepted, but had a real difficulty accepting others that did not think like himself. I don’t like gay men that are hard core liberals, but their acceptance of others is not anywhere present. The overall received a 3 only because of the reader. Week young man

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    5 out of 5 stars

Cute, sweet, great characters…couldn’t put it down

Narrator was excellent, the writing was superb and absolutely held my interest from the opening line until the “fade to black” closer.

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  • Caz in Maspalomas
  • 11-10-16

boring

It was a bit like a straight guy painting his nails then watching the paint dry over several days.
Realy found this boring and slow. Sorry author.