Monday, March 27, 2017

The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger


The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger

Review by Lauren

source: copy from author; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: “Road trip!” Otto Digmore is a 26-year-old gay guy with dreams of being a successful actor, and he’s finally getting some attention as a result of his supporting role on a struggling sitcom. But he’s also a burn survivor with scars on half his face, and all indications are that he’s just too different to ever find real Hollywood success. Now he’s up for an amazing new role that could change everything. Problem is, he and his best friend Russel Middlebrook have to drive all the way across the country in order to get to the audition on time. It’s hard to say which is worse: the fact that so many things go wrong, or that Russel, an aspiring screenwriter, keeps comparing their experiences to some kind of road trip movie. There’s also the fact that Otto and Russel were once boyfriends, and Otto is starting to realize that he still might have romantic feelings for his best friend. Just how far will Otto go to get the role, and maybe the guy, of his dreams?

Review: I read all of the YA Russel Middlebrook series - which began with Geography Club - and I was equally thrilled when the author brought Russel into his twenties in the more new adult trilogy. Now, Brent Hartinger is back with a series of books following Otto Digmore, one of Russel's high school boyfriends and current best friend. To ease the transition between Russel and Otto, The Otto Digmore Difference actually features a lot of both. For those that never read about Otto before, be assured that it's fine to just start here. You get enough background information on Otto and Russel to understand their relationship. For the sake of this review, though, I'll mention that Otto was a burn victim at the age of seven and has severe burns on half of his face as well as elsewhere on his body. Him and Russel met as camp counselors during high school and started a relationship, which ended up being long-distance when camp ended. The two drifted apart for awhile until they both landed in California - Russel for screenwriting and Otto for acting.

The two became fast friends once again, except when The Otto Digmore Difference starts, Russel has just recently married his husband Kevin. Now, on to the book! Otto has had fairly quick success on a TV show called Hammered but bad news suddenly feels like all Otto is getting. People are harassing him online about his looks, the person he was seeing ghosted him (just stopped talking to him), and now his best friend Russel is happily married without realizing that Otto still harbors feelings for him. Now before you worry - there is no cheating whatsoever in this book. Neither character would do that. That doesn't mean that Otto isn't jealous of Russel's happiness or feeling a bit hurt because he wasn't the guy that Russel - or anyone else - chooses.

The main narrative of this book is Otto and Russel going on a road trip together so that Otto can meet the director of a film that he really wants to star in. He's read the script, he auditioned for other people on the film, and they all agree he would be great. Unfortunately, the director had a family emergency and so Otto decides to go to him - with the director's permission of course - to see if he could land this dream role and use his scars for something other than a Freddy Krueger remake. The book is full of road trip cliches, and I say this lovingly, because it's something that Russel constantly brings up and thinks is wonderful. He's a screenwriter, after all. While not all the cliches are great - they do allow the two friends to get to know each other at these new stages in their lives. They aren't high school kids anymore, after all. I liked all that Russel and Otto experienced because while the road trip metaphor is one of adventure and self-discovery, that's exactly what I hope to find in most contemporary novels!

Otto is a great character. It's easy to feel bad for the things he has to deal with in his life, but at the same time, it's made known that Otto isn't always perfect. He can mess up too and has to be called out on it. The Otto Digmore Difference is a quick, fun read, and I really can't wait to read more about Otto in the next book!

I was given a copy of this book to read/review by the author, but all opinions are my own. I am working with the author on getting reviews for this novel so if you're interested, we'd love to hear from you! E-books only, I'm afraid, but you don't have to be a strict book blogger to ask for a copy! We just ask that you review it on your blog at the very least, and Goodreads and Amazon if you cross-post.

Want your own copy? I'm an affiliate for amazon, so if you use my links, I get a small percent. Check the paperback copy here and the e-book copy here.

5 comments:

RO said...

I like to hear about stories that focus on real people and what can happen. Life is never perfect, so a book that focuses on that is important. The thought of going through life with burns, and to parlay that into an acting career just seems so phenomenal to me. Hugs...

Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity said...

I'm really excited to read this book! I'm glad that having read the YA books about the same characters isn't a necessity, though. Although, I will probably end up reading them if I fall in love with this book.

I'm glad you said there's no cheating in the book because that trope is one that I can never really get on board with.

The storyline sounds like something I haven't really come across before, which is always nice!

Can't wait to read and share my thoughts. :)

Lovely review, Lauren!

Lisa Mandina said...

I haven't read this author, but I know he is pretty popular, and his stories sound like they are very good. Thanks for bringing this one to my attention.

Verushka Byrow said...

My review is going up Friday, and I gleefully admit in it to being anxious regarding Otto and Russel lol I like that Otto is flawed, determined and he's the kind of guy you want all the good things for int he entire world, because he's just that kind of guy. Am very curious as to where this series is going given Otto's scars and his talent for an industry that thrives on looks.

Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight said...

Aww this sounds like a kind of heartwarming book, what with the road trip and self discovery and the imperfect but sympathetic character. Great review!