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The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #1)

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  559 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
"I guess this was what they meant by a loss of innocence. Who knew?"

Russel Middlebrook is twenty-three 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
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ebook, 251 pages
Published December 15th 2014 by Brent Hartinger
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Michael Jensen
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Since I'm married to the author, I have to confess I might not be the most objective reviewer in the world. On the other hand, I have a pretty unique perspective since I've been Brent's first reader and have watched Russel's journey from a front row seat.

The thing that I think works so well about The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know is how much fun it is to see Russel in his early twenties and just how well I think it captures what it's like to be young and trying to figure out life. Sex, frien
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☆ Todd
Nov 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this latest Russel Middlebrook book, which was most definitely *no longer Young Adult* and why it wasn't listed as being # 5 in the previous series.

This new, more adult continuation series begins with Russel out of college, working two separate, unfulfilling, dead-end jobs and sadly single.

It also begins, literally from the very first sentence, as Russel is on his way to a "Sup / Wanna fuck? / Be there in 5..." type of hookup from Grindr (not mentioned by name, but it's 2014, rig
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Preston
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition


I am more interesting than Russel. You are more interesting than Russel. There is an attempt to make this book humorous. It didn't work for me. I kept waiting for something to happen but unless you count hunting Bigfoot as something happening it was devoid of significant action that would promote the telling of a story. No plot. No story. No reason to turn the page except I would never give a bad rating to a book I hadn't read completely. Contemplating panning this bunch of musings I was forced

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Vitor Martins
Russel Middlebrok é meu guilty pleasure favorito!
As capas desses livros são HORROROSAS, o plot sempre tem umas coisas meio DOIDAS, e você consegue prever o final depois de ler 3 capítulos. Mas ainda assim eu gosto tanto desses personagens!

Nessa nova trilogia o Russel está nos seus 20 e poucos anos, então tem bastante drama sobre a vida adulta, descobertas novas numa cidade nova e, claro, TRANSAS.

No começo foi meio estranho porque o Russel continua bem teen (e o narrador dos audiobooks é o mesmo
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Ulysses Dietz
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know

By Brent Hartinger

Five Stars

I think this may be the best thing Brent Hartinger has ever written.

I have loved all of the Russel Middlebrook books; but I confess that by the last one (Elephant of Surprise) I was finding myself yearning for something—but I wasn’t sure what. Maybe I just wanted Russel to grow up.

And that’s what Brent did.

In this wonderful new book, “The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know,” Russel is out of college and living with his best friend
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Peter Monn
Dec 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I felt so incredibly honored to have been able to read an advance copy of this book when Brent had recently finished it. Here's the story...a super fan of the Russel Middlebrook books reaches out to the author of said books to just say hi and that he's a fan of the books. That same super fan, me, becomes a writer, publishes a book in the same year and finds himself actually on the phone with the author of the most amazing LGBT series ever, Brent Hartinger, who is giving him writing advice AND ev ...more
Vfields Don't touch my happy!
Let me be perfectly clear. This was a well-written story, there was an interesting main character and I would suggest it to anyone who likes this kind of coming-of-age, waking up, finding yourself type story. My one complaint was for me the protagonist felt at least five years younger than he was for some reason. I have a hard time with first person stories but again it was not a bad book by any means and I think it could be enjoyed by many readers.
Didi
I’ve never read any Russel Middlebrook series before, in fact this is my first ever book by Brent Hartinger. The blurb was what intrigued me to this story and it didn’t disappoint.

Russel — spelling with one “l” — was a twenty three year old guy still looking for purpose in life, or as he liked to say, deciding between Unstoppable Carrier Drive and Passionate Aimlessness. He lived in a houseboat on Lake Union, Seattle, with his friends Gunnar and Min; had two jobs that he hated, and still pining
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Aerin
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc, m-m, dnf
I couldn't finish the book unfortunately. I made it half way through but the main character, Russel (the book is written from his pov) was annoying and immature. He is 23 years old but thinks like a 16 year old. Add to that a hunt for bigfoot and I had to throw in the towel because I'm not interested in reading anything like that.

The woman (Vernie) that Russel saved while working his lifeguard job was....weird. And she became creepy the evening Russel went to her house to have dinner along with
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D. River
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay-fiction
The awkward, snarky boy who charmed me in Geography Club has grown, but maybe it's not accurate to say he's "grown up" because he's hit the dread age of twenty-three. That's the year most everyone loses their mind as they wonder if they're on the right track, if they know what they're doing and why they haven't already changed the world.

Mr. Hartinger effortlessly brings that struggle to the page with this book. Russel has grown comfortable with who he is as a person, but he's completely lost as
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C.L. King
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Once I picked this book up I couldn't put it down. Sadly I had to in order to work. But when I had down time I read. I feel asleep holding my kindle two nights in a row it was that good.

The continuation of Russel's story is perfect. We all have those books that we read when the main characters are teenagers and always wonder what happened when they grew up and were in college or fresh out of college. Brent did an amazing job bringing Russel to life as an adult.

I loved seeing that Min and Gunner
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Gervan
Oct 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, owned-books
I read the first Russel Middlebrook books back in December 2013 and I had seen rumors of there being a fifth book with Russel in college. I would have loved that, but this was so much better.

I really loved seeing the old characters Min, Gunnar and Keving and the new characters -- especially Vernie. I needed this book a little earlier in the year to help give me piece of mind on some things that were happening in my school life but better late than never.

Very excited for the sequel Barefoot in th
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Sean Kennedy
The Geography Club kids have moved from Young Adult to New Adult - probably along with a lot of their readers - but for me Russel still sounds a lot like his sixteen year old self. Which makes the sudden inclusion of one night stands and sex descriptions feel a little bit disconcerting. It doesn't seem to have affected many other readers in the same way, so it's probably just me, and I'm not going to stop reading the series as I love the characters too much. I just hope Russel 'sounds' a little ...more
Aso
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 / 5 stars
Peter
Aug 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finishing this book I can definitely say that Russel and Brent Hartinger have definitely graduated from YA to slightly more adult fiction. Not quite adult adult but getting there.

In this book Russel is now 23, living in Seattle with Min and Gunnar, and living a sort of aimless life. He works two jobs, one as an employee of a kitschy retail bread store and one as a lifeguard. It's the latter that starts to change his life as he saves the life of Vernie, sort of eclectic and hilarious in he
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Clare O'Beara
I enjoyed the earlier book about Russel and his pals called The Elephant of Surprise. I imagine it's hard to move up to New Adult with the same characters as in Young Adult, but this author managed it in a way that we can find believable.

Gunnar made money from an app which did nothing sensible, and he now lives in a houseboat off Seattle and studies Bigfoot sightings. I actually would have expected him to be in the heart of the new tech centre in town. He'd find people like himself there.

Min i
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Carlos Mock
Sep 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The Thing I Didn't Know I Didn't Know by Brent Hartinger

Russel (one "l") Middlebrook is our 23 y/o protagonist who lives in a houseboat in Seattle with his roommates Min - a physics grad student - and Gunar - who made tons of money creating the App "Singing Dog" - and is the owner of the boat.

Russel is lost - thinks he has no purpose in life - and splits his time between lifeguarding at Green Lake and helping Jake and Amanda run their store, Bake - a place where you select ingredients and someon
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David
Nov 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Having a job totally interferes with my ability to finish books. This book shouldn't take three weeks for a normal person to finish. I just stare at those start and finish dates and think "you're totally going to miss your target books read number"

I'm giving that thing I didn't know I didn't know or whatever the title is four advocacy stars which suggests that this is a targeted recommendation because I suspect that if guys having sex with guys is something you can't get over, you will not need
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Jon O
Dec 28, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gay, romance
This was one book I was looking forward to - I have known Russel since the first book, hence his return was welcome.

The problem with a book that skipped a few years of Russel's years was that it felt incomplete to begin with. What actually happened between Russel and Kevin? The narration was supposed to help but it felt more like a quick glance on the issues between them. Fans of Russel and Kevin were expected to accept the current situations they were in, without much detail.

I was expecting to
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Ricky
Jan 12, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dead-on-arrival
Nothing of import happens in this book. Nothing feels worth investing in. Nothing is at stake.

I read Geography Club. It was worth reading. This book... it snuffs out anything exciting about Russel's future and I found myself constantly asking "why am I interested in this book again?" through the last 2/3.

I finished out of misplaced obligation but for me what I didn't know I didn't know is that I didn't need to spend any money on this book. If I picked it up on vacation or at a friend's house to
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Don
Jan 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is Hartinger's best book in my opinion. Russel (with one L) is now a young man, finding his way in the adult world with it's heartaches, disappointments and frustrations. What he feels are pretty universal feelings...that we don't know what to do with our life, that everyone around us has their act together, that we'll never find love. He learns what life, love and friendship is about and Harbingers doesn't make it cliche.
Annika
When I read a book I want to be wow’ed. I want something to happen. What I don’t want is to read about everyday life, where the same thing happens over and over again. That’s not why I read, I want to get away from the sometimes boring RL. This book was severely lacking in the plot department and I found myself bored to tears at parts.
Erik Hanberg
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I've only read Geography Club, so this was my first Russel Middlebrook novel since then. While I was glad to have some background, it wasn't essential to enjoying it.

It's very Seattle, and very contemporary.

I have a cold and still stayed up late reading it. So you know that's a good sign!
Alejandro Deepdarkmidnight
Satisfying, that's how I describe this book in one word. Everything suits just great. I love this series, but this has been my favourite book by far.

I can't wait for Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams. Thank you Brent Hartinger! You put a big smile on my face with this book.
Gaby
Jan 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5
Gah, I love this series and the characters and everything is so perfect!
John
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am one of Hartinger's older (40-something) fans. I may be older than the official target audience age, but I value the occasional YA book because they can help give me a view of what it's like to be young today, and it can help remind me of what it was like when I was that age.

At least...when the book is well written. A lot aren't...but I guess that's true of books in general.

I think Hartinger throughout his career has done a good job of getting it right. There is something that resonates as T
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Saskia
2.5 stars

I should have stopped after The Elephant of Surprise. I don't know what happened, but while I always thought Russel was a little flighty, self-righteous and self-absorbed, yet still somehow likeable, he is downright unbearable in this series. I actually can't stand him. And unfortunately it didn't get any better in the sequels...
Mike
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review to come !!!
Jeffrey
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was fun to follow up with Russel.
Veronica of V's Reads
Russel is a 23 y/o out gay man living in Seattle. His aspirations are nil and he struggles to work two menial jobs--one as a lifeguard and one at a gimmick bakery. He lives on his BFF Gunnar's houseboat with Gunnar and their mutual friend Min. Russel is anxious to figure out what the heck he's supposed to do with his life, and if anyone has a clue, he's interested to listen.

While life guarding one day he saves an old woman, Vernie, from drowning. Vernie is a retired screenwriter who has many reg
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605 followers
I am Brent Hartinger, and I live to write.

For the last twenty years, I have made my living writing just about everything that involves words.

My latest project is a trilogy of "new adult" novels called Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years. They're about a gay guy in his twenties, Russel Middlebrook, trying to make sense out of love and life.

The books in Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years are:

* The
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More about Brent Hartinger

Other books in the series

Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years (3 books)
  • Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams (Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years #2)
  • The Road to Amazing

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“(Who is hotter, Jensen Ackles or Jared Padalecki? The age-old debate continues!)” 1 likes
“Nobody really knows what life is about. We're all just trying to make sense of something that doesn't make much sense.” 0 likes
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