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“There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I’d already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked.” Twenty-four year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets “There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I’d already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked.” Twenty-four year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets Isaac Brander, a once-famous film producer who is convinced he can turn Russel’s screenplay into a movie. Russel knows that success can't possibly come this easy. After all, most of Russel's Los Angeles friends are so desperate to make it that it's downright scary. His ex-boyfriend, Otto, is trying everything to become an actor, and Daniel, the sexy neighbor, doesn't even need a casting couch to get naked. So what’s the catch with Mr. Brander? Could it be that movies about Hollywood don’t tell the whole truth? But what does that mean for Russel’s soul? Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams, a companion book to Brent Hartinger’s The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know, is a fast-paced, funny story about the price of fame in Hollywood: the hilarious lengths people will go to achieve it, and the touching secret to survival when things don’t work out exactly as planned.


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“There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I’d already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked.” Twenty-four year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets “There was no way moving to Los Angeles was going to make me give up my soul. After all, I’d already seen all the movies about Hollywood. I knew how things worked.” Twenty-four year-old Russel Middebrook and his boyfriend have moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. Almost right away, in a forgotten old house off of Sunset Boulevard, Russel meets Isaac Brander, a once-famous film producer who is convinced he can turn Russel’s screenplay into a movie. Russel knows that success can't possibly come this easy. After all, most of Russel's Los Angeles friends are so desperate to make it that it's downright scary. His ex-boyfriend, Otto, is trying everything to become an actor, and Daniel, the sexy neighbor, doesn't even need a casting couch to get naked. So what’s the catch with Mr. Brander? Could it be that movies about Hollywood don’t tell the whole truth? But what does that mean for Russel’s soul? Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams, a companion book to Brent Hartinger’s The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know, is a fast-paced, funny story about the price of fame in Hollywood: the hilarious lengths people will go to achieve it, and the touching secret to survival when things don’t work out exactly as planned.

30 review for Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☆ Todd

    I tend to have a love/hate relationship with Russel Middlebrook. He's sort of funny, sort of whiny, he lives in his head way too much and can be a bit selfish, but I generally fall on the love side more than the hate. Except this time. I really didn't care for Russel this time at all. Maybe it was the LA setting, where he got sucked up in that town's inane, superficial bullshit. Or maybe it was the fact that (the truly awesome) Kevin gave up his job in Seattle to accompany Russel to LA to follow his I tend to have a love/hate relationship with Russel Middlebrook. He's sort of funny, sort of whiny, he lives in his head way too much and can be a bit selfish, but I generally fall on the love side more than the hate. Except this time. I really didn't care for Russel this time at all. Maybe it was the LA setting, where he got sucked up in that town's inane, superficial bullshit. Or maybe it was the fact that (the truly awesome) Kevin gave up his job in Seattle to accompany Russel to LA to follow his (fairly sudden) "lifelong" dream to become a scriptwriter, only to be mostly ignored by Russel in favor of his own dramatics. For all intents and purposes in this story, Kevin was the accessory-equivalent of a man purse. It's pretty and you leave it in the closet until you feel like taking it out and putting it on your arm for a spin around town, but for the most part, it's left to its own devices. Plus, Russel was so singly-focused on getting his movie produced that when Kevin said anything that he didn't want to hear, Russel's knee jerk reaction was to emotionally gut punch Kevin. Bad form, Russel. Not a fan of that thoughtless fuckery. Losing points rapidly here. This book felt different for me in that, while in most of the previous books, Kevin's attentions were (somewhat) focused on his connection to either Kevin or Otto, this book was much less romance and much more blind ambition. It may be that I live too close to LA and am not a fan of the town's superiority complex or the moral wasteland of the film industry, but the plot in general bored me. Badly. The only part of this story that really made me sit up straight in my seat were the parts with Daniel, their mysterious 18 y.o. cockily handsome neighbor. He obviously had something going on in his head that he was trying to figure out, gay baiting the two new "maricóns" (his word) who'd moved into his apartment building. However, he was only used as a piece of (semi-underage) eye candy, waved in the readers face for titillation in this story. Squirrel! SQUIRREL!!! But then when the reader was hooked and wanted to know more, Daniel was simply (view spoiler)[ written out of the story and tossed (off-page) into the grist mill of LA gay pornography, (hide spoiler)] which left me highly-annoyed. WHAT became of Daniel??? Inquiring minds and all that... Yes, Daniel's story I wanted, while Russel's story I wanted to be over. As in past fashion for the Russel books, any time that there could have been a sexy scene, it was mostly glossed over, which is a shame. In the new Futon reboot, Russel is an adult, as are most of his readers at this point, so a bit of *actual* sex on page would be a welcomed addition to his stories. And "feels". We mustn't forget those. Even though the book occasionally tried to make me feel the love between Russel and Kevin, those attempts felt like filler more than feels to me."Oh yeah, they're *supposed* to be in love, so let's try to work that in somewhere. But not here. Russel's career is on a roll." (Yawn.) Also, one thing that I found odd is that Russel's best friends, Gunnar and Minh weren't even *mentioned* in this book. Not even once. After Gunnar's great "bigfoot adventure" in the last book (insert eye roll here,) I didn't miss him at all, but I did miss Minh. I would have much rather Russel picked up the phone to piss and moan about his issues than snapping Kevin's head off. Just sayin'. So long story short, this book was well-written, per usual, but didn't hold my attention -- except for the more interesting potential of the Daniel sub-plot. I'm praying Russel and Kevin move back to Seattle and become 'real people' again in the next book. They could even rescue Daniel from himself on their way out of town. Feel free. ;- ) But if they stay in LA and the next book simply fucks with their happy ending, I see the '2 1/2 *GTFO-of-LA* stars' trend continuing for me. ------------------------------------------------------------- ** My copy of this ARC was provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Javi

    I read this book more out of curiosity than anything else- having read the previous ones in the series I wanted to see how Russel and Kevin fared in LA, and to be honest, I could have given it a pass and all would be well with the world. I simply couldn't relate to the whiny *adult* that Russel has become, it's simply unbearable. The story about him wanting to make it big as a screenwriter and moving to LA? Ridiculous. How can someone find their true passion in life in about two pages? And the w I read this book more out of curiosity than anything else- having read the previous ones in the series I wanted to see how Russel and Kevin fared in LA, and to be honest, I could have given it a pass and all would be well with the world. I simply couldn't relate to the whiny *adult* that Russel has become, it's simply unbearable. The story about him wanting to make it big as a screenwriter and moving to LA? Ridiculous. How can someone find their true passion in life in about two pages? And the way he treated Kevin? Unforgivable. My favorite book of the series remains " The order of the poison oak". Had I known what was in store after that amazing story, I simply wouldn't have bothered with the rest of the books. Don't bother with this one- it will annoy the hell out of you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Veronica of V's Reads

    This is the second book in the Futon Years series, and follows a longer YA series surrounding Russel Middlebrook. It is probably best enjoyed reading this series in order, but it is not essential. 4.5 stars. Russel is 24 and dating his high school flame, Kevin, seriously. They have moved to LA so that Russel can get into the screenwriting business. He has one contact, Otto, a former summer camp boyfriend, who is an actor--struggling to get work because he has a burn scar on his otherwise beautifu This is the second book in the Futon Years series, and follows a longer YA series surrounding Russel Middlebrook. It is probably best enjoyed reading this series in order, but it is not essential. 4.5 stars. Russel is 24 and dating his high school flame, Kevin, seriously. They have moved to LA so that Russel can get into the screenwriting business. He has one contact, Otto, a former summer camp boyfriend, who is an actor--struggling to get work because he has a burn scar on his otherwise beautiful face. Russel is not prepared for the culture shock that is the LA scene. Otto schools him a bit, but Russel is dumbfounded often by his naïveté. He is offered a contract on his screenplay, Cup of Joe, and really becomes blind to a lot of issues that crop up around the pre-production meetings, and he especially takes Kevin for granted. Kevin had a stable job which he gave up for a lesser paying gig in LA, land of traffic. Their one bedroom apartment is worn and awful, and inhabited by only a few friendly neighbors and perhaps the ghost of a dead screenwriter. Russel reaches out to Regina, a fellow screenwriter, whose girlfriend Gina is a struggling comedienne. They are good sounding boards, and become good friends, though not without problems. And Daniel, the barely 18, clearly questioning Latino boy who has no issues trying to con Russel, or Kevin, or both into some compromising situations is an interesting barometer for the heat between Kevin and Russel. Thing is, this book moves rather quickly through several months and several large changes for Russel. He has this movie deal, or does he? He has Kevin, or does he? Otto is his friend, but does he want more? I loved the voice here, and Russel is a comfortable head case to try on now and again. He is snarky, but honest. He steps into big messes and doesn't know how to fix them--because he is young and naïve and trying hard to figure life out without sharing to anyone how inexperienced he truly is. I was honestly taken by surprise at the end. Russel doesn't spend a lot of time talking about his feelings for Kevin. He's a rather self-involved man, but not in a mean way. He's mostly oblivious, which is where he got into trouble with the screenplay. He wants, so much, to be doing the right thing that he doesn't always see how all the wrong things are happening. He doesn't see Otto coming on to him. He doesn't see Daniel playing him for a fool. Because he wants to trust that his worldview is shared by the few people he lets into his confidence, even when it isn't. And, he does so much better in the end that I really liked him that much more. His taking responsibility and stepping into a more adult role, both as a partner and a professional, was enjoyable--I only wished to have had more of that. I received an advanced copy of this book via NetGalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    BWT (Belen)

    2.75 Stars Having just listened to The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know I was up to date on what's been happening in Russel's life. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams picks up a few months after the first story leaves off, with twenty-four year old Russel Middlebrook and his boyfriend, Kevin Land, having moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. I wanted to like the story, I really did, but in truth I didn't connect with it. Again told completely from Russel's PO 2.75 Stars Having just listened to The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know I was up to date on what's been happening in Russel's life. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams picks up a few months after the first story leaves off, with twenty-four year old Russel Middlebrook and his boyfriend, Kevin Land, having moved to Los Angeles so Russel can try to make it as a screenwriter. I wanted to like the story, I really did, but in truth I didn't connect with it. Again told completely from Russel's POV, I felt like he was a lot more self-centered in this story than the last. I liked some things, but didn't like others. I liked Kevin and seeing them together, but didn't like the way Russel treated Kevin for most of the story. I liked Otto and was happy to see him succeed. I didn't like or see the point of Daniel's storyline. I felt like Russel's ambition in this eclipsed his relationship at times, and I'm sorry to admit the whole storyline of his screenplay and broken dreams just bored me. Also, I didn't understand what happened to Russel's friends Gunnar and Minh. No phone calls or even a single mention? What happened to them? Once again though, I really enjoyed the narration. Josh Hurley really does an excellent job with the different character voices, and he tackles the different emotions of the story well. I'm looking forward to more of Josh Hurley's narration and spending time with the whole gang in the third (and final?) story in the series, The Road to Amazing (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #3), which will feature Russel and Kevin's wedding weekend in Washington. Audio copy of Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams provided by Author in exchange of an honest review. This review has been cross-posted at Gay Book Reviews.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ulysses Dietz

    BAREFOOT IN THE CITY OF BROKEN DREAMS by Brent Hartinger Five stars Russel Middlebrook has grown up. And, I confess, I like him even more than I did when he was a teenager, struggling with his identity. This, to me, is the best book Brent Hartinger has written. Russel and his new-old boyfriend Kevin have finally settled down as a serious couple and moved to Los Angeles. Russel, at 23, is taking a leap and trying to peddle a script he wrote in the city of broken dreams. Kevin has uprooted himself an BAREFOOT IN THE CITY OF BROKEN DREAMS by Brent Hartinger Five stars Russel Middlebrook has grown up. And, I confess, I like him even more than I did when he was a teenager, struggling with his identity. This, to me, is the best book Brent Hartinger has written. Russel and his new-old boyfriend Kevin have finally settled down as a serious couple and moved to Los Angeles. Russel, at 23, is taking a leap and trying to peddle a script he wrote in the city of broken dreams. Kevin has uprooted himself and is pursuing a career in a new place in order to be there for Russel. The title nails it on the head: LA is a place that has crushed a lot of dreams, and the image evokes a sense of innocence overturned. Hartinger weaves a plot that deals with both the real issues of maintaining a relationship (and dealing with old loves) as well as the even more real issues of trying to build a career in the phoniest city in the world. LA has its attractions, but it is a city whose core industry is based on lies and hypocrisy, especially when it comes to anything remotely gay. Russel will have to learn this the way everybody learns it—the hard way. Russel’s voice is honest, smart, and emotionally true. As he gets caught up in a too-good-to-be-true project, both the reader and Russel are blinkered by the hope that things are going to work out. Brent paints for us a world where bad things are done with the best of intentions; where cruelty comes from kind hearts, and one generation’s disappointments get passed on to a new crop of idealistic wannabes. There are very clear echoes in this story of Brent’s own adventure in Hollywood getting “The Geography Club” made into a film. I’m so glad he mined that experience and offered it to Russel and Kevin. This is a story that could only be set in Los Angeles, but it embodies universal truths for young gay folk everywhere.

  6. 4 out of 5

    ricardo

    Finally! A book where there aren't any love triangles (or squares or pentagram, basically no relationship orgies).This is probably the first book that I read (in the Russel Middlebrooke series) that I REALLY enjoyed. I don't know what it is about it. Kevin is so much more enjoyable in the Futon Years than he was in his High School years but Russel is so much more annoying. He's better in this book than he was in the last one but he still finds a way to annoy me. I love it because it grasps the w Finally! A book where there aren't any love triangles (or squares or pentagram, basically no relationship orgies).This is probably the first book that I read (in the Russel Middlebrooke series) that I REALLY enjoyed. I don't know what it is about it. Kevin is so much more enjoyable in the Futon Years than he was in his High School years but Russel is so much more annoying. He's better in this book than he was in the last one but he still finds a way to annoy me. I love it because it grasps the whole idea of relationships well and the characters aren't that stupid to know they're wrong. I REALLY NEED TO READ THE NEXT BOOK.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    The first book in the Futon years series was fine not having read the original series. But now I feel like I should have some investment in Russel and Kyle's relationship when I know NOTHING about Kyle. I'm guessing I need the original years for that? I hope so, anyway! The first book in the Futon years series was fine not having read the original series. But now I feel like I should have some investment in Russel and Kyle's relationship when I know NOTHING about Kyle. I'm guessing I need the original years for that? I hope so, anyway!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Didi

    3.5 stars We met again with Russel Middlebrook, a straightforward, quirky, funny young man with very active and vivid imagination. In this book, Russel - finally reunited with on/off boyfriend since high school, Kevin - moved to Los Angeles to pursue Russel's dream of becoming a successful screenwriter. So, no Gunnar and Min here. While I enjoyed this story, I didn't like it as much as I did The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know. Yes, Russel was as entertaining as ever with his overactive imaginat 3.5 stars We met again with Russel Middlebrook, a straightforward, quirky, funny young man with very active and vivid imagination. In this book, Russel - finally reunited with on/off boyfriend since high school, Kevin - moved to Los Angeles to pursue Russel's dream of becoming a successful screenwriter. So, no Gunnar and Min here. While I enjoyed this story, I didn't like it as much as I did The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know. Yes, Russel was as entertaining as ever with his overactive imagination. His inner convos and scenarios, as well as his assumption were some of the chuckling-induce the story had. But I didn't see much of his connection with Kevin here. To leave Seattle and good career and accompany Russel to go to LA were a big upheaval for Kevin too. Thus, that Russel didn't fully realize Kevin's struggle and being very "me-centered" had me thought of him being an ass for a while. In short, I felt the duo's adjustment as a couple to live in new city together still leave much to be explored. The book didn't mention anything about Russel's old friends, either (which was a bit weird to me considering how close he was with them). But we met Otto, Russel's ex boyfriend, and a bunch of new friends and acquaintances with each of their quirkiness. And here's what I loved about Mr. Hartinger's character. Russel might not get all he wished for, the mysteries in his life might not get an answer and the people he knew might be sucked; but he's not a quitter and in the end he could bring the best out of the situations. As a follow up to Russel's previous story this book was still fun to read. I would also looking forward to his next adventures in life. Note: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    No dreams were harmed... BAREFOOT IN THE CITY OF BROKEN DREAMS is essential Hartinger. Which is to say, marvelous. I love the setting, the novelty of it, the real-ness we experience as readers. The voice is all Brent's: his signature humor, the character's insecurity that's never overdone, and the way Hartinger gets readers to understand when something is serious without sounding all gloom and doom. Russel is engaging, believable, melodramatic in all the right ways. So often in a three-book serie No dreams were harmed... BAREFOOT IN THE CITY OF BROKEN DREAMS is essential Hartinger. Which is to say, marvelous. I love the setting, the novelty of it, the real-ness we experience as readers. The voice is all Brent's: his signature humor, the character's insecurity that's never overdone, and the way Hartinger gets readers to understand when something is serious without sounding all gloom and doom. Russel is engaging, believable, melodramatic in all the right ways. So often in a three-book series, the first book is terrific, the third book is mostly terrific, and the middle book is — well, a middle book, serving more as an interstice than as substance. Not so with BAREFOOT! There's the ghost, there's the near-ghost of a faded has-been, there's the manipulative teenage neighbor, and above all there's the feeling that you're actually with Russel in Hollywood (of all places!). All this conspires to make this book a stand-out in its own right and a promising lead-in to the next part of what is already an exciting story. And in that third book, I'm hoping we get to know Kevin better. I'm a little in love with him, myself!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    Now in his twenties, Russel moves to LA to realise his dream of being a scriptwriter - he hopes. With his handsome boyfriend beside him and Hollywood at his feet, what could go wrong? If you have not read these books, you could start with the YA books to get a grip on the characters, or with the Seattle-set prior New Adult book, or just dive in to see what Hollywood has in store for our hero. As always we find Russel is over-eager, trusting and insecure all at once. The character voice comes thr Now in his twenties, Russel moves to LA to realise his dream of being a scriptwriter - he hopes. With his handsome boyfriend beside him and Hollywood at his feet, what could go wrong? If you have not read these books, you could start with the YA books to get a grip on the characters, or with the Seattle-set prior New Adult book, or just dive in to see what Hollywood has in store for our hero. As always we find Russel is over-eager, trusting and insecure all at once. The character voice comes through well helping to bridge the divide between the earlier stories and these NA ones, also showing that just because we have a few more years under our belts we don't know everything. An interesting issue explored is how Hollywood treats actors with visible scars or infirmities, casting them only as zombies. Another issue is the sheer number of people trying to get funding, get approval, get a start. Desperation follows in many cases. As one character laconically tells us, nobody heads to Hollywood hoping to realise his dream of being a key grip. I found this a fun read, and there is plenty to be learned.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pim Bijlsma

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was totally amazing! I love how Brent Hartinger writes these books and I love the fact that I get to witness Russels life. The story, the writing, the characters it's all amazing! The end of this book made me so happy! It really is something that came out of the blue for me but I love it! I'm really looking forward to the Kussel (Kevin & Russel) wedding! This book was totally amazing! I love how Brent Hartinger writes these books and I love the fact that I get to witness Russels life. The story, the writing, the characters it's all amazing! The end of this book made me so happy! It really is something that came out of the blue for me but I love it! I'm really looking forward to the Kussel (Kevin & Russel) wedding!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Aso

    2.5 / 5 stars

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey G

    This is the best of the three books in the "Futon" Russel Middlebrook series. It has the same strengths and weaknesses as the other books in the series. Strengths are that it is short, easy to read, sometimes sexy, and occasionally funny (this one is funnier than the others). Weaknesses are that it meanders (reads like something dictated on the fly to a secretary), it's full of long & repetitive internal monologues (skimmed most of those), and it is very light on action, focusing mostly on words This is the best of the three books in the "Futon" Russel Middlebrook series. It has the same strengths and weaknesses as the other books in the series. Strengths are that it is short, easy to read, sometimes sexy, and occasionally funny (this one is funnier than the others). Weaknesses are that it meanders (reads like something dictated on the fly to a secretary), it's full of long & repetitive internal monologues (skimmed most of those), and it is very light on action, focusing mostly on words. It does not have political harangues like the other books in the series, although it does have long dissertations on screenwriting and Hollywood that seem to be the author's opinions inserted into Russel's mouth. I'll mention that there is a weird subplot here about a 17-year-old boy who acts out sexually and has a somewhat tragic story arc. Russel has a chance to help this boy and he doesn't help him, and the whole story line is strange and discordant with the usual material in these books. In a way, I wish the entire book had followed this character. Although it is completely out of step with the light comedy of the rest of the series, it is far more interesting and provocative than anything else here. I feel like Hartinger was pretty bold in the way he wrote this part of the book until it came to the end of the subplot. At that point, it felt like he lost his nerve a bit and the major plot points as Daniel's story was wrapped up rang false. I welcome the return of Otto here, but at the same time I can't help but notice that Otto talks and thinks almost exactly like Russel. There are truly not differentiated characters in the book, not really. Everyone gives these little mini-lectures. And their thought processes tend to be very rationally laid out, like in outline form. The character of Russel underwent a major overhaul for this series and the character bears little resemblance to the Russel of the first series of books. In the first book of this series, we were told that Russel suffers frequent nosebleeds. That was surprising information since he has never had that problem before. Needless to say, he does not get any nosebleeds in this book, so that was definitely bullshit. In all the books up until this one, Russel has always been a horny slut who had many one-night stands and thought mostly with his dick. In this book, he suddenly acts like one half of an old married couple and it removes one of the most endearing qualities of the character. Russel's sexual escapades were the highlight of the previous book, and that is gone now. In closing, I will mention that I have always hated Kevin and I wish Russel had fucked Otto. I don't recommend any of these three books. The only books in the entire Russel Middlebrook series worth reading are the first two. The first one is a classic coming out story that everyone should read. I feel like everything I have read by Hartinger since has been fairly uninspired. It's not terrible or anything, but after a while you start to accept that nothing in any of these books is going to move you or engage you on any level except the most superficial diversion.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Peter

    To the other longtime readers of Brent Hartinger's Russel Middlebrook series: after reading this book you're going to be wondering the same thing that I was. WHEN THE HELL DID KEVIN LAND BECOME THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND!? Okay. On with my review. Continuing on with Russel and his journey through adulthood we now find that he and Kevin have moved to L.A. in order to make Russel's dream of becoming a famous screenwriter come true. Sidenote, Kevin has also sacrificed a career in Seattle to move with Rus To the other longtime readers of Brent Hartinger's Russel Middlebrook series: after reading this book you're going to be wondering the same thing that I was. WHEN THE HELL DID KEVIN LAND BECOME THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND!? Okay. On with my review. Continuing on with Russel and his journey through adulthood we now find that he and Kevin have moved to L.A. in order to make Russel's dream of becoming a famous screenwriter come true. Sidenote, Kevin has also sacrificed a career in Seattle to move with Russel in order to support his dream. See? Perfect boyfriend. Anyways, the predominant theme of this book is desperation. Anyone who knows anything about Los Angeles and the show business industry knows or will find out in this book that EVERYONE in this city and this industry is desperate. They move to Hollywood in hopes of someday making it big and famous. It's a desperation to fulfill their dreams. Along the way Russel realizes his dream through an attractive offer to produce his movie from a formerly famous and prolific movie producer and slowly but surely succumbs to the desperation the rest of the city suffers from and without knowing it. He meets the other denizens of his apartment building who share the same dreams as well as some other interesting characters. There's a bit of spirituality thrown in the mix, a sexy but desperate neighbor, movie trivia and last but certainly not least the return of much beloved (at least by me) ex-boyfriend and friend Otto Digmore. Otto's also living in L.A. and desperate to make it big in the city of broken dreams (significance to come later). Russel continues to amuse me with his bit of innocence, humor, but also with a fair bit of exasperating mixed in. The steady loving presence of Kevin is just what we all wanted ever since the days of the Geography Club and the return of Otto is also another link to Russel's past that we didn't know we wanted. I conclude this with a reiteration of my earlier question. WHEN THE HELL DID KEVIN LAND BECOME THE PERFECT BOYFRIEND. The ending will make you smile.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Everton

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I don't know what happened. I loved the Russel Middlebrook Series. And even though I took a long time to finish The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, when I finished I rated 5 stars because I just got into a slump, and after I came out of it, I liked the book again. But this book, I took a long time reading, and got in so many slumps, but after getting out of them, I just forced myself through some chapters until I finished it. I just couldn't stand Russel, he was annoying in every single chapt I don't know what happened. I loved the Russel Middlebrook Series. And even though I took a long time to finish The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know, when I finished I rated 5 stars because I just got into a slump, and after I came out of it, I liked the book again. But this book, I took a long time reading, and got in so many slumps, but after getting out of them, I just forced myself through some chapters until I finished it. I just couldn't stand Russel, he was annoying in every single chapter, I just wanted to punch him so badly. After being such an asshole to Kevin the entire book, and even for a few moments thinking about cheating on him, I felt Russel needed some kind of redeeming gesture, that he didn't deliver, because by the end of the book, Kevin is the better man. I'm just going to mention that I felt DISGUSTED about Russel and Kevin lusting after 17-year-old boy... That being said, I liked that Otto came back and ended this book in a promising path. Can't wait to read his books. I feel like I need to re-read Geography Club to fall in love with Russel again before I read the last book in this series...

  16. 4 out of 5

    Isaiah

    So I received this book free for reviewing the last book. If I review this book by 3/15 I also get the next book in the series free. This however does not need to be a perfectly glowing or positive review to get the rewards. That alone impresses me about the author. I have been reading this series since I was in middle school. I am now out of college and working as a professional, yet I am still drawn to the story of Russel. I said this in my review of the previous book, but I will say it again: So I received this book free for reviewing the last book. If I review this book by 3/15 I also get the next book in the series free. This however does not need to be a perfectly glowing or positive review to get the rewards. That alone impresses me about the author. I have been reading this series since I was in middle school. I am now out of college and working as a professional, yet I am still drawn to the story of Russel. I said this in my review of the previous book, but I will say it again: the fact that Russel has aged with me has made this series more enjoyable. He is now 24, same as me. He is handling the same issues I am, he is not still in high school battling coming out anymore. Now onto the new stuff: this book was not bad, I actually quite enjoyed reading it. It wasn't as exciting as the last book. The twists and turns were much more mild. There was more of an adult feel to the plot and the writing, which makes sense now that Russel is being more of an adult. He is no longer surviving because his best friend is paying for him to live on a houseboat. Instead Russel is thrown into a new city, far from pretty much anyone he knows, in a place known to crush people. My main problem with this is, somehow Kevin and Russel are able to survive in LA on a single salary. This is highly unlikely. I lived in Berkeley, not to far from San Francisco, and I was having issues making $35K a year supporting two people in a one bedroom without running water. So that premise annoyed me. Unless they literally lived in the ghetto and were getting government subsidies there is a big chance they were not surviving the way the book implied. They would not have been able to eat out every other chapter for example. It is never mentioned how much Kevin is making, but I am assuming that it isn't a great deal more than I was considering it was mentioned that he took a considerable pay cut. Also, I was let down with how flat Kevin felt. He had less personality than he did in the first part of the series where his character was literally closeted jock who wouldn't come out. Now he is a supportive background character that Russel "knows" is doing or thinking something. There was pretty much no point to Kevin existing. The book would have gone perfectly fine if Kevin were not a part of it, which makes me sad. I have been cheering for Kevin and Russel from "Geography Club", yet in this book I couldn't have cared less. I am looking forward to the next book because that is supposed to focus more on their relationship than on Russel's new random desire to be a screenwriter. Having Otto living in LA was exciting. The fact that his scar has come back up and became an issue of social justice and how Russel handled it when they first met back up was exciting. That whole plot arch was so good. I wanted to hear more. I also wanted Otto to have a boyfriend and be happy. Instead there was a weird scene in the bedroom between Russel and Otto that was just awkward and, again, Russel "knew" what the other person was thinking and could articulate it for pages at a time. I didn't like that trait about Russel in this book. It is new and off-putting. There was an awkward plot line with the neighbor boy that at first I was very upset about because it was really awkward and meaningless, but the way it ended. That is the type of plot I needed in the book so I could take it seriously. One of the few things I know about LA from the queer community is how many of them are sex workers just trying to make it by. The ending to the plot arch, was one of the few genuine feeling plot points in the book. Like that could actually happen if I moved to LA today. So a spoiler, but not a huge one considering the plot for the next book was already released: Kevin and Russel get engaged. I was so excited for that scene, but it was very anti-climatic. Russel brought Kevin to the Hollywood sign and proposed. That was a pretty selfish and self-centered place for Russel to propose since Kevin wasn't into the touristy aspects of LA. He was clearly bored with it and did it just to make Russel happy. I wanted to think better of Russel, but he was a self-centered character throughout this entire book. I hope that was him dealing with moving to LA and he relaxes in the next book. I have been a big fan of Russel, but this book did not flatter him. I like that he is growing, but I don't like what he is growing into. I am impressed that the author was able to make the characters age and grow up. There are still hints of Russel from the first book, but he is clearly older and clearly the same character, though I think his selfish character was exaggerated in this book. I am hoping the next book really focuses on Kevin. I want to see how he has aged. Last note: I am so happy there was mentions of sex in this book. They were not overly graphic. I wanted them to be more graphic. I, however, don't believe that Russel is the top most of the time or the butch one. Kevin has always been the hunky, caring top in my fantasies. I will need a graphic descriptive sex scene for me to believe this. Despite all the complaining I just did, I am a huge fan. I love this series and I will continue to recommend it to my friends. This is by far not the worst book in the series and is a great read. I will be reading it again. I like the feel and I like how it forces Russel to grow up. I highly suggest it.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Will Steinmetz

    This is supposed to be Russel when he's an adult. The problem is that he still is written like an angsty teenager getting into angsty teenager shenanigans. It also still reads like a YA novel instead of the supposed more adult theme it's supposed to be. The only reason to read it is if you've read all of the other novels in the original series and the first in this one and want to continue the story. Otherwise, it's not worth your time. This is supposed to be Russel when he's an adult. The problem is that he still is written like an angsty teenager getting into angsty teenager shenanigans. It also still reads like a YA novel instead of the supposed more adult theme it's supposed to be. The only reason to read it is if you've read all of the other novels in the original series and the first in this one and want to continue the story. Otherwise, it's not worth your time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Daniel/Todd

    Could not put down!!!! Really nice read. Love the series and how the story arch has progressed. Definite must read for anyone who loves YA fiction

  19. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    3.5 stars--3 for story; 4 for narration

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ivan

    Almost a 5💜🔅

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dee

    Another enjoyable follow-up. Starting book 3 now.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Robert Helms

    Great book one in a fantastic series of books. My recommendation is to start at the first book Geography Club and follow the whole Russel Middlebrook series in order. All the series are expertly written. I love all 7 books.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lena Grey

    “Broken dreams are not the end of the road. They are the beginning of new dreams and a new direction in life.” ~ Unknown Following the advice of a friend, Russel, of 'Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams’ by Brent Hartinger, moves to Los Angeles—“the place to be” in the screenwriter profession. Kevin, his boyfriend, goes lovingly but reluctantly along with him, and takes a job which is less than desirable, particularly after leaving a successful position behind, while Russel stays at home and wr “Broken dreams are not the end of the road. They are the beginning of new dreams and a new direction in life.” ~ Unknown Following the advice of a friend, Russel, of 'Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams’ by Brent Hartinger, moves to Los Angeles—“the place to be” in the screenwriter profession. Kevin, his boyfriend, goes lovingly but reluctantly along with him, and takes a job which is less than desirable, particularly after leaving a successful position behind, while Russel stays at home and writes. When Russel appears to have landed a movie making deal, Kevin tries to warn him with the old adage, “if something seems too good be true, it usually is”, but Russel isn't listening. Russel is thrilled when he's approached by a formerly famous movie producer and upset when everyone, particularly Kevin, is not as encouraging as Russel wishes they would be. At first, Russel tries to fit in, getting advice from Otto, an actor and ex-boyfriend about everything from how to act to which type of shoes to wear. Otto hasn't found his acting niche yet, but Russel tries to encourage him saying it will come. It seems everyone around him is struggling in their efforts to be successful in fulfilling their dream. Unfortunately, it's a tough job in what turns out to be a cut-throat, ruthless environment. No matter how hard you try, making it big is nearly impossible. Russel tells himself that maybe, just maybe, he's going to be one of the lucky ones who actually do. He refuses to believe what everyone keeps trying to tell him; everybody lies in this town. When Russel first comes to Los Angeles, he is determined to keep his integrity and not become one of those sad people who will do or say anything to get what they desire. Unfortunately, the longer Russel is there, the more he tries to emulate those around him. Russel gets lost in the prospect of having to do this to get ahead and with the carrot of a movie deal tantalizing him. Russell feels that everyone, instead of encouraging him, is raining on his parade. Russel agonizes over whether what he's doing is right and the importance of it all, oblivious to the collateral damage around him. When the reality of the situation comes to a head, he has a choice to make: is it important to have what he wants at all costs, or should he face the fact that what he has now is maybe more valuable in the long run. This book has its amusing moments, but the theme is definitely more serious than the first story in the series. I empathized with the characters' heavy, sometimes heart-breaking discouragement. I felt myself feeling discouraged as well. When Russel is in danger of being sucked into the “vacuum of failure”, I wanted to scream at him to come down to reality and stop living in a dream that is more like a poisonous cloud, worse than the smog or horrendous traffic. But, as with all young people, Russel has to come to his own conclusions before he can take a step, ideally, toward maturity and set things right. If you like stories with a message which is prevalent but not overbearing, quirky, eccentric characters, humor, and a happy ending, then you may enjoy this book. Thanks, Brent, for giving us another glimpse into Russel's life and a promise of more to come. NOTE: This book was provided by the author for the purpose of a review on Rainbow Book Reviews.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Read the full review on Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous. Note: This ARC was provided by Patchwork Press Cooperative in exchange for an honest review. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is the second book in the Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years from author Brent Hartinger and takes place a few months after the events in the first book, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know. Russel Middlebrook and his boyfriend Kevin Land have moved to California so that Russel can pursue his being a screenwriter Read the full review on Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous. Note: This ARC was provided by Patchwork Press Cooperative in exchange for an honest review. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is the second book in the Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years from author Brent Hartinger and takes place a few months after the events in the first book, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know. Russel Middlebrook and his boyfriend Kevin Land have moved to California so that Russel can pursue his being a screenwriter. While there, Russel's dreams appear to be coming true, but not all dreams appear to be what they are, and when reality hits him, it affects his own relationship with Kevin. There's still a lot that Russel needs to learn about himself and the world he lives in, but Kevin's by his side, supporting him while trying to keep things as real as possible, whether Russel likes it or not. This sequel still has the humor that made its predecessor an enjoyable read, and there's certainly a lot more of Russel and Kevin as a couple than before. The two really do work well together and while they're very sexual creatures (that joint fantasy thing was unexpected but it served its purpose for both guys), there's also the romance that you want to see in a relationship of this sort. I like that Russel is the dreamer that he is, because dreams are what make us want more and to be more, but I love that Kevin is the one that keeps Russel grounded. Yes, he's more understated that Russel is, but I think that's part of what makes him a realist but definitely not someone who bursts the bubble of the people he cares about most. The author could have gone a completely different route with the story but I'm glad that he didn't because this is the kind of thing that speaks to book's target audience. Speaking of target audience, as was the case with the first book, I think this book is something that people of any adult age can appreciate and I hope will be enjoyed as much as I did. This had a Hollywood ending that had me grinning from ear to ear and now has me looking forward to the third book in the series, which I hope will see the return of Russel's one-of-a-kind set of friends from book one plus his new ones from here. With heart and humor, Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is a worthwhile read and one that I'd recommend. I'm giving this 4.5 stars, rounded off to five stars. ♥

  25. 5 out of 5

    Curtis

    [Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] After reuniting with his high school boyfriend, Kevin, in Seattle, Russel Middlebrook is ready to make his life complete by pursuing his dreams. Together, he and Kevin pick up and move to Los Angeles so Russel can begin his career as a screenwriter. He doesn't have any contracts when he arrives, but it's only a matter of time, right? And much to Russel's delight, it's not long after he arr [Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] After reuniting with his high school boyfriend, Kevin, in Seattle, Russel Middlebrook is ready to make his life complete by pursuing his dreams. Together, he and Kevin pick up and move to Los Angeles so Russel can begin his career as a screenwriter. He doesn't have any contracts when he arrives, but it's only a matter of time, right? And much to Russel's delight, it's not long after he arrives that one of his scripts--one based loosely on his own life--is optioned by a producer who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business. But it's not all easy. Kevin gave up a job he enjoyed to move to California, and Russel quickly learns there is much more to the business of filmmaking than he ever could have imagined. Will Russel get his break he's been hoping for? Will the challenges of their new environment test Russel and Kevin's relationship past the breaking point? Or will they be able to live in the "City of Broken Dreams" whilst keeping their own intact? I've been a fan of this series since I first read Geography Club, where we meet Russel Middlebrook for the first time. There's just something about the way Brent Hartinger captures this character's voice that speaks to me in a way I don't know I can fully explain. There is an ease in reading these books for me, but they also tell stories that describe real challenges and personal and relationship dynamics. It's been interesting to see Russel go from high school student to college graduate, seeing the ways in which he's changed while still so clearly knowing it's the same character I'm hearing from in these books. In this installment, there's a lot going on. Russel and Kevin have made a big move, and on somewhat of a whim. That's obviously challenging for them both and the cast of characters they find themselves thrown into when they get to L.A. serves up more challenges and issues for them to sort through. There are a few twists and turns thrown in that aren't exactly expected, and readers can expect a fun, and dynamic read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Peter Wright

    I've been following Russel's adventures since The Geography Club. I was apprehensive about following him into the Futon Years because I'd enjoyed the high school years so much, but characters need to grow up, right? I mean, after awhile, it's just odd when they're still the same age *cough* The Simpsons *cough* It turns out, I needn't fear because I ended up enjoying Russel's first post-college tale. I enjoyed this one much more. I can't help but wonder if some of the inspiration for this story c I've been following Russel's adventures since The Geography Club. I was apprehensive about following him into the Futon Years because I'd enjoyed the high school years so much, but characters need to grow up, right? I mean, after awhile, it's just odd when they're still the same age *cough* The Simpsons *cough* It turns out, I needn't fear because I ended up enjoying Russel's first post-college tale. I enjoyed this one much more. I can't help but wonder if some of the inspiration for this story came from Brent Hartinger's experiences with the recent film release of The Geography Club - that was my thought as I read the book, at least. Any dreams a would-be screenwriter may have about Hollywood will be hit over the head with a dose of reality in this, Russel's second post-college tale - or will they...? With only Otto (his ex-boyfriend from Order of the Poison Oak) as his only guide in the frenzy of Hollywood, Russel moves to Los Angeles with his boyfriend Kevin to realize his dream of being a screenwriter. Despite all of Otto's warnings about how difficult this dream may be to achieve, Russel find's his dream very quickly realized when a director from the classic age of cinema takes interest in a screenplay he's written. At first, this seems too good to be true, but the fit seems right between the director and Russel's script, and when he begins to meet the team responsible for making his dream a reality, things start to take off! Of course, there has to be conflict - like perhaps a ghost and a rough-around-the-edges teenager who is more trouble than anything for Russel and Kevin. But to say any more would be to spoil the fun. Brent has transitioned his characters from young adult to slightly older young adult very well. I can't help but think that his depictions of Hollywood come from his knowledge of having worked there recently. It adds some nice authenticity to the story. Otto continues to be that character I love and long to see more from, and this story doesn't disappoint! If you're a fan of Russel, his friends and his adventures, reading this is really a no-brainer!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Liam Youngblood

    Once again, Brent Hartinger has written a captivating book! I started reading Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams at around 9 PM, and while I tried to put it down several times to give myself the chance to read it over a longer period of time, I found myself picking it up again and again until I finished the novel at around 2 AM that same night. There were plenty of aspects to the story (not to mention some tension!) that kept me captivated the entire way through. Overall, it's been amazing to Once again, Brent Hartinger has written a captivating book! I started reading Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams at around 9 PM, and while I tried to put it down several times to give myself the chance to read it over a longer period of time, I found myself picking it up again and again until I finished the novel at around 2 AM that same night. There were plenty of aspects to the story (not to mention some tension!) that kept me captivated the entire way through. Overall, it's been amazing to watch Russel grow from a sophomore in high school trying to solidify his identity to a 24-year-old man following his dreams. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams provides an inspiring story for those who do not know what they want out of life or those who have come across a rough patch in chasing their dreams, and teaches the valuable lesson that while the journey may not be exactly what you expect, everything will turn out as it needs to in the end so long as you have perseverance. More specifically, seeing Russel catch up with an old friend and work on a project with him has motivated me to reach out to some old friends whom I haven't seen in a while and gave me confidence to know that friends who I'm having a rough patch with might be well worth reaching out to in the future. In many ways, the Russel Middlebrook series has given me the inspiration I need to work things out in life, and Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is no exception to the rule. Like the other book in this trilogy, anybody with no prior experience with the series can pick the book up and enjoy it; however, it is best for readers to start from the beginning of the series (or at least the trilogy) to get the full experience of watching Russel, Kevin, and all his friends grow and develop over time. Speaking of Kevin and Russel's other friends, I was very pleased with the ending of this book! All the loose knots were tied up, and I'm excited for the next book in the series, to say the least! I would highly recommend Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams to just about any reader, as the message it sends is ultimately pretty universal to the human experience.

  28. 4 out of 5

    I'd So Rather Be Reading {Nat}

    I read and loved the first installment in Russel Middlebrook the Futon Years, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know (read my review here), and so I knew I was in for a treat with Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams. I love Hartinger's writing: it's simultaneously light-hearted and introspective and his characters are so easy to relate to. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams was my favorite Russel Middlebrook book to date. Like Hartinger's other books, this story was fast-paced, yet it never I read and loved the first installment in Russel Middlebrook the Futon Years, The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know (read my review here), and so I knew I was in for a treat with Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams. I love Hartinger's writing: it's simultaneously light-hearted and introspective and his characters are so easy to relate to. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams was my favorite Russel Middlebrook book to date. Like Hartinger's other books, this story was fast-paced, yet it never felt rushed. I read the book in two sittings because the story was so good I didn't want to put it down. Russel's narrative voice is probably my favorite thing about his books. He is honest and sweetly optimistic, without being too naive. I truly like Russel as a character, and I can't always say that about main characters. Russel and Kevin's relationship is a favorite of mine. I loved watching their relationship strengthen and develop over time. Like all love stories, there were some bumps in the road for Kevin and Russel, but the way they worked past them was what I really admired. Both characters grew in this book, and I enjoyed that aspect of the story, particularly Russel's growth. I liked that even though Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams spanned a long period of time. It's not a particularly long book, yet it covers months of Russel's life. And that led to even more growth opportunities for Russel. I feel so invested in these characters; even the minor characters like Zoe, Lewis and Otto. I love that Hartinger puts so much development and depth into each character, no matter how big or small a part they play in the plot. I just love this series and I really can't wait for the next Russel Middlebrook book!

  29. 5 out of 5

    R.J. Seeley

    I first have to say that here Brent has successfully wrote a book that didn't make me roll my eyes once. I was of course wary at the start, he'd gotten such a good deal, it'd all happened so quickly, I worried for the obvious cliché to follow and yet somehow you managed to avoid that cliché like the plague. I enjoyed the prospect of the story and enjoyed the new take this series has taken, I however was quite surprised at the lack of mention of Min and Gunnar - but it could just be that I am an I first have to say that here Brent has successfully wrote a book that didn't make me roll my eyes once. I was of course wary at the start, he'd gotten such a good deal, it'd all happened so quickly, I worried for the obvious cliché to follow and yet somehow you managed to avoid that cliché like the plague. I enjoyed the prospect of the story and enjoyed the new take this series has taken, I however was quite surprised at the lack of mention of Min and Gunnar - but it could just be that I am an avid fan of the Russel Middlebrook Series but of course understand how this book is also a standalone so can sort of see were he was coming from - I do have to add though that I fully enjoyed the return of Otto (and kind of shipped Otto and Russel - again). I found Russel to be believable and related immensely with him, I even understood all the ghost stuff, if that tells you anything! But I thought overall with the relatable main character and the strong non-cliché storyline this book is a brilliant read that has managed to keep me intrigued and turning the pages. I wouldn't say there were any bad points to the book, I'd feel it'd be wrong to say there were bad bits, although admittedly there were bits where I couldn't completely see where things were going - for example early bits with Daniel, I found the character odd and struggled to see his direction but of course as the story progressed I saw what kind of direction it was supposed to take.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Travis Hay

    I was having a conversation with a friend about the Russel Middlebrook series the other day, and he described Russel as 'frustrating' , and he is. As a character, he's predictable, childish, short sighted, selfish, and exceptionally naive, which are frustrating to read. When I read Barefoot In The City Of Broken Dreams, I found myself saying "no, you idiot, don't do that" even more than I have in the past. But I think the most frustrating character aspect of Russel Middlebrook is that he's so ex I was having a conversation with a friend about the Russel Middlebrook series the other day, and he described Russel as 'frustrating' , and he is. As a character, he's predictable, childish, short sighted, selfish, and exceptionally naive, which are frustrating to read. When I read Barefoot In The City Of Broken Dreams, I found myself saying "no, you idiot, don't do that" even more than I have in the past. But I think the most frustrating character aspect of Russel Middlebrook is that he's so exceptionally realistic. That's what makes Brent Hartinger such a strong story teller. Sure his motif of the 'I'm going to die' fantastical scenes, or the recurring 'ghost' motif in this specific novel, just highlight Brent's ability to set a scene, but his characters all are relatable. In the 'major' drama of this book, you can appreciate Kevin's point of view as much as you can Russel's. You can appreciate Gina and Regina at the same time, or both Zoe and Daniel. I'm not going to reference any plot details (but I will say I wish Daniel's story was much further expanded, or even if we got a spin off to see how that truly developed.) but I will implore you to read this story. Outside of nostalgia for the series, or love for Brent Hartinger's writing, I can honestly say this story stands as an extremely strong one. It's worth the read, and appreciation it deserves. Even if Russel and Kevin piss you off.

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