Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger

Posted August 25, 2015 by shooting in Uncategorized / 14 Comments

Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger

Review by Lauren

Source: copy from Netgalley; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: 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?

Review: Many of you might have heard about the book called Geography Club. That was the first in a YA series of books about Russel Middlebrook. Now Russel is in his twenties and the author has decided to write a series of NA books about the character. If you liked the YA series, you’re sure to love a slightly older Russel. Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is the second NA book, coming after The Thing I Didn’t Know I Didn’t Know. As with most NA or adult titles, there is some more mature moments and language, but nothing outrageous. It’s just a slightly more mature YA, if you will.

Now, as to the actual book, it was interesting to get a look into the struggles of people hoping to make it big in Los Angeles. Russel is hoping to be a screenwriter and when a really old producer, who made some big movies back in the day, wants to make Russel’s movie, it really does seem too good to be true. Russel’s boyfriend, Kevin, tries to be supportive but it’s obvious he’s worried about this Mr. Brander and doesn’t want Russel to get his hopes up too high.

Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams is about chasing dreams, but also learning to let them go. It’s about learning how to be a couple with the stress of real life surrounding you. There are a lot of secondary characters that really add to the overall story, like Russel’s ex-boyfriend, Otto. He’s desperate to be an actor, but with burn scars on his face, people aren’t willing to take a chance on him when they are trying so hard to make their dreams come true. It certainly makes sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s any easier for Otto or for the reader, who is rooting for all these men and women to reach their dreams.

This is, once again, an exciting look into the life of Russel and I can’t wait for the third novel coming out next year!

Music Choice:

If you’d like to know what music I feel fits this book, please visit Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance!

14 responses to “Barefoot in the City of Broken Dreams by Brent Hartinger

  1. I remember The Geography Club from years ago – I never read it, but always saw it at the bookstore! I'm in mystery mode at the moment, so this one wouldn't appeal to me. :/


  2. It sounds like this book really goes through a journey with the main character as we see him struggle and find his way in life. I think it's pretty cool that the character was in a YA series, and now he's portrayed a bit older in an NA series. Nice review!

    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books

  3. I love to see characters have to work hard for success, rather than have it handed to them. It just makes for one of those books were you cheer on the underdog. I haven't heard of The Geography Club before, will have to check those out. Wonderful review Lauren, I love picking up titles that I wouldn't normally discover on my own <3

  4. This definitely sounds so incredibly complex! And maybe somehow like Sweet Valley, where the books show their adventures from childhood to married life 😉 But in any case, I am totally sympathizing with the characters here, and I haven't even read the book yet! It's so hard to make a name for yourself, to find your purpose in life, especially in such a big city. I'd love to know how this couple was able to to cope with the pressures and issues surrounding them 😀

    Faye at The Social Potato

  5. Always glad to hear of books that have other than the usual boy-girl relationships to be found in most novels. Great review, thanks for featuring this author and his books.

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