Book Review: Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams (Russel Middlebrook The Futon Years #2) by Brent Hartinger


“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.


Release Date: August 14, 2015
Age Group: New Adult
Source: Review copy from NetGalley
Reviewed By: Kelli


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!  



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