Review: Brent Hartinger – The Otto Digmore Difference (The Otto Digmore Series #1)

51iMy9QtN2LAuthor: Brent Hartinger
Reviewer: Sandra
Publisher: BK Books
Genre: Contemporary

Rating: ★★★½☆ 


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?

Author Brent Hartinger first introduced the character of Otto Digmore in 2005, in his Lambda Award-winning books about Russel Middlebrook. Back then, Otto was something pretty unusual for YA literature: a disabled gay character.

Now, more than a decade later, Otto is grown up and finally stepping into the spotlight on his own. The Otto Digmore Difference, the first book in a new stand-alone series featuring Otto, is about much more than the challenges of being “different.” It’s also about the unexpected nature of all of life’s journeys, and the heavy price that must be paid for Hollywood fame.

But more than anything, it’s a different kind of love story, about the frustrating and fantastic power of the love between two friends.


This book was such a nice change of pace from the usual HEA MM romance. That’s not to say there isn’t a HEA, but it also isn’t going to play out in a typical way that you can predict. There’s quite a bit of foreshadowing that you can follow if you pay attention, yet even knowing this, things still caught me by surprise!

The book has a nice steady pace throughout, not rushed but also not slow. I read it over the course of a snow day and found this was the perfect setting for a low-angst yet thought provoking book that deals with issues of love, life, acceptance, and happiness. Otto discovers more about himself than he thought possible on an impromptu road trip for a movie role, complete with a cast of characters out of every road trip movie cliché.

Yet they each felt real. They each had their own story, and Otto realized that theirs were no less or more important than his own. This isn’t a romance, but that’s not to say it doesn’t address issues of romance and that out characters don’t find love. But you’ll just hafta read to find out what avenue that love takes!



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