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What: The Otto Digmore Difference (Otto Digmore Series #1) by Brent Hartinger

Who: BK Books

When: February 21st 2017

How: A copy of this novel was provided by the author for review.

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?

3cats2Once I realised that the author of The Otto Digmore Difference also wrote Three Truths and a Lie (a YA mystery/thriller that I really enjoyed) I was instantly keen on reading it. I was a little worried about the fact that the character of Otto had already appeared in previous books and series – would I know him enough? Would his past be glossed over because it was expected to be known from the previous books? Would I simply get him?

I didn’t really need to be worried at all. The Otto Digmore Difference is definitely a book that can be read without having read the previous books in which Otto was a character. His past is referenced and explained, and I never felt like I didn’t know him well enough. If anything, reading The Otto Digmore Difference made me want to go back and read the previous books and series because I want to know more about him, and ‘meet’ him as a teenager.

After reading a review of The Otto Digmore Difference I was glad to know that there’s no romantic cheating in this novel because I guess the blurb hints that it could happen. I am never on board with cheating as a romantic trope, so I was thankful for the heads up, and for the fact that it didn’t happen within the story. Yes, Otto realises that he still loves Russel, but instead of it seeming off it was actually pretty heartbreaking. Otto broke up with Russel as a pre-emptive protective measure for himself, even though he was in love with him. And so those feelings never really went away, but Russel moved on. Whilst a part of me kind of wanted Russel to realise that he was in love with Otto, I knew that Russel was happy with his husband and I also wanted someone to come along who loves Otto now, wholly and completely.

Otto was a character that I ended up quite liking, but not because he’s perfect. He’s a little self centred, and he doesn’t always think about how his words could harm people before he says things. But I liked how hard he was willing to try, and the lengths he was willing to go to in order to land the acting role of his dreams. I liked how once he got over himself and his first impressions of people he was sincere and caring and helpful. I think nuanced characters who aren’t perfect are important because I’ve certainly never met a perfect person in my life.

The end of The Otto Digmore Difference was quite lovely, and it tied off nicely as a standalone, but I definitely want to read the next book/s in this series. I have grown fond of Otto, and I want to see where his acting career takes him next, as well as the beginning of the relationship that was shown at the very end of this book.

I think that if you’ve read Geography Club or the other books about Russel then you’ll definitely enjoy The Otto Digmore Difference, but even if you haven’t it’s definitely an enjoyable read on its own.

© 2017, Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity. All rights reserved.

trigger warning: online harassment, stalking, bullying, ableism, homophobia, fatphobia, reference to death of a son, racism, use of abelist language, and dangerous driving (another car following/harassing) in this novel

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Posted on: April 21, 2017 • By: Chiara

6 Responses to Review: The Otto Digmore Difference by Brent Hartinger

  1. Thanks for sharing! I’m glad you liked this one. Yeah, I’m definitely glad there was no cheating. As I’ve read all the previous books, I knew that would be out of character – but the summary does make you think that it could happen! I did love Otto. He’s not perfect by any means, but I know how it feels to love someone who doesn’t love you back.

    -Lauren

    • Chiara says:

      No problem! Thank you for organising a copy for me :D It does seem out of character now that I know Otto more, but still grateful that it didn’t go in that direction. it broke my heart to see Otto still in love with Russel, but I’m excited for his new relationship!

  2. Having not have read the previous books in the series, I wasn’t even aware that there could be potential cheating. I’m glad this didn’t eventuate, I just find it such a cliched trope these days to be used for character development. It’s nice to see that the author has continued a story without the need for the reader to reread the previous books first. Otto sounds like an interesting character, I hope everything ends up well for him! x

    • Chiara says:

      It’s definitely a trope I can’t get on board with so I’m glad it wasn’t like that! I think it’s great that Otto’s character and past were well defined and fleshed out in this book because I didn’t feel out of the loop for not having read the previous books. I hope everything ends up well for him, too!

  3. Yikes, I’m also quite leery of cheating as a romantic trope – it never really works out in real life, so it feels unbelievable when it ends up making a happily ever after in books. I’m so glad this book didn’t contain that element, & that you enjoyed it in general! Otto sounds so lovely & flawed & confused & growing, which are truly my favourite types of characters. Always a joy to read your wonderful reviews, Chiara – thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. <3

    • Chiara says:

      Yep, I can never be on board with a relationship that only exists by hurting another person. Otto is all of those things, and they endeared him to me a lot! I love characters that are still learning about themselves. I’m so glad you enjoy them, love. I always will <3

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