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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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  • Overall
    3 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

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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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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

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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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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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inane

this is a long drawn out mental musings of the main character. for a while it was interesting then it became pedantic. I kept thinking"grow up and do something with your life" which he did after hours and hours of unfruitful listening. no plot or action just meandering internal thought processes.

1 person found this helpful

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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 🤣

1 person found this helpful

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Silly spin of stereotypes

This book has its moments, but plays into several tired, shallow stereotypes and doesn’t even handle them originally or artfully. In one example, the bigoted dismissal of a gay character who doesn’t fall in line with the “gay political majority” turned tired into ugly. There’s too much of this unintelligent ugliness, playing to the basest in us, in the real world…. I don’t need a book that attempts to brainwash me into “correct” thinking, in the guise of “good gay dogma,” while actually discouraging true diversity of thought. I was hoping for an uplifting, intelligent story. Big disappointment.

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I give it an A-

The storyline was great. I almost stopped reading when it became a political attack. Please write more great stories, but leave the partisan politics out!

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You are going to be lectured

I enjoyed the narration but wow the author hit the nail on the head for gay stereotypes. The protagonist is quick to judge others on their beliefs without even trying to understand where the other character is coming from. The protagonist acts holier-than-thou.

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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.

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 04-22-22

You’ll enjoy spending time with Russel!

At 23, Russel Middlebrook feels clueless. His Seattle house(boat)mates have achieved things or at least have goals to achieve. He hates his two part time jobs, his one-night stands aren’t fulfilling, and he regrets past choices. Then a few things happen: he saves someone from drowning and he spots his ex-boyfriend in a crowd. Maybe his life is about to change … I thoroughly enjoyed this. It has that YA feel of someone figuring out their life with false starts, insecurities, and gentle humour. It’s gay fiction, rather than m/m romance although there is a romantic subplot. But don’t expect a neat red bow - Russel is on a LONG journey. Although this is the start of a new series, it’s actually the fifth Russel Middlebrook novel. Although I hadn’t read the earlier books, I didn’t feel at sea starting here but it does necessarily contain spoilers about the earlier books. That won’t stop me from going back and reading the original series - I liked Russel immensely as a character and I love the audio narrator, Josh Hurley, he’s absolutely fabulous.