Book Reviews

Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook 1) by Brent Hartinger at Harper Teen

Genre Gay / Contemporary / Young Adult / Fiction
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 01-December-2009

Book Blurb

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Goodkind High School.

Then his online gay chat buddy turns out to be none other than Kevin, the popular but closeted star of the school's baseball team. Soon Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer-playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Terese's politically active friend, Ike.

But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?

"We just choose a club that's so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!"

Brent Hartinger's debut novel is a fast-paced, funny, and trenchant portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of high school and the even more dangerous landscape of the human heart.


Book Review

This is a great book about growing up and trying to find a place in the world. Doubly difficult if you're gay (like the main character) or GLBTQ.

Russel is very lonely, at first thinking he's the only gay kid at his high school with 1,800 pupils. As he discovers Kevin via a chatroom and more gay kids via his best friend Mim (who turns out to be bi), he is encouraged at first. But they soon face the pressure of the outside world and realize that nothing (in terms of their place and hopes) is solved just because they're all gay and have found each other. On the contrary, banding together will only be seen as suspicious. Even the formation of the 'Geography Club' as 'camouflage' doesn't help longer term. Many of them end up as alone as they started.

Written in the fist person, I thought it was an honest and accurate description of the issues any kid (and many adults) go through when they discover they are different. Even though this story has a gay main character, much of what he discovers has potential for a wider application. Russel learns about himself and what he wants out of life and the sense of humor that never really leaves him makes it all a little more bearable.





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Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 240 pages
Heat Level
Publication Date 13-March-2003
Price $6.49 ebook, $9.99 paperback
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