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

Note: This ARC was provided by Patchwork Press Cooperative via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Russel Middlebrook is twenty-four and finally knows what he wants to do with his life. He's in Hollywood (well, more of somewhere in Los Angeles where rent is cheap), he lives with the love of his life (who quit waffling and finally chose to be Russel again), and he's submitted his screenplays have been sent out into the world (where they appear to be still finding their way around town). Pursuing his dream of becoming a screenwriter shouldn't be too easy of a feat--because life just doesn't work that way--but when he receives an offer from a well-known but no longer heard from film producer to make one his screenplays into a movie, Russel can't believe his luck. Life is full of surprises, but if you're Russel, it tends to be a mixed bag.

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. ♥

Release Date: 14 August 2015

Date Read: 10 August 2015

Learn more about Brent Hartinger here.

Pre-order Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams on Amazon | B&N | Kobo.


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