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Geography Club

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

Reviewed by Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius" for TeensReadToo.com

Russel Middlebrook is pretty sure that he's gay. After all, he's not attracted to girls, and he spends every day after gym class studiously avoiding the other half-naked guys in the locker room. He's never had an actual experience with another guy, though, so maybe the ...
Russel Middlebrook is pretty sure that he's gay. After all, he's not attracted to girls, and he spends every day after gym class studiously avoiding the other half-naked guys in the locker room. He's never had an actual experience with another guy, though, so maybe the attraction he feels toward them is something he'll outgrow--or maybe not.

While surfing the Internet one night, he finds chat rooms for different towns and cities, where you can talk to other people who are also gay. And amazingly enough, there's a boy he meets with the name GayTeen-- who not only lives in his town, but also attends his high school. Another gay boy, in his very own school? There's no way that could be true-- especially when he finds out that the kid with the handle GayTeen is none other than Kevin Land, star of the baseball team, one of the most popular guys in school.

As Kevin and Russel get to know one another, outside of school and hidden away from prying eyes, they realize that there's no way for them to be together inside school walls. The same is true for Russel's friends Min and Terese, who although they claim to just be really close friends, are actually in love. So along with a few others, including Gunnar, who is straight, and Brian Bund, the loser of Goodkind High School, the boys form The Geography Club. After all, no one else is going to want to join such a boring club--especially if they knew it was just a front for a gay/ lesbian school group.

As events at school heat up, with Brian eventually being outed as gay even though he's not, Russel, Kevin, and their friends will have to learn what's most important in life. And that sometimes, no matter how much you might wish for things to be out in the open, you're just not ready.

GEOGRAPHY CLUB is a great, quick read from author Brent Hartinger, about the ups and downs of daily high school life, and the struggle to find ones identity.

posted by TeensReadToo on October 28, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Wonderful

Russel Middlebrook believes that he is the only gay teenager at his High School. However, he finds that a popular baseball player, Kevin, is also gay and there are more than just a few gay teenagers at his High School. In an attempt to share secret struggles and find ne...
Russel Middlebrook believes that he is the only gay teenager at his High School. However, he finds that a popular baseball player, Kevin, is also gay and there are more than just a few gay teenagers at his High School. In an attempt to share secret struggles and find new friends, they create a school group under the title of The Geography Club. At the same time, Russel helps out his friend by going on a double date with a girl. Believing that this would only be a one time thing, Russel feels pressure by his friend to go on another double date. Russel also joins the school's baseball team, secretly to be close to Kevin, but finds he is actually quite good and even wins his first game for the team. Soon after Russel's new found popularity a rumor is spread that he is gay and has started a gay club. Not only is Russel's popularity in jeopardy, but so are old and new friendships, as well as his secret of being gay.

It was very refreshing to read a novel by a male and the main character is male. This does not seem to be very common to do this in young adult literature. However, this book was very disappointing. I came into this book with high hopes but found the characters to be a bit flat. For example, Russel states that he is struggling as a gay teenager but the conflicting and painful emotion was very absent. It would have been nice to read more about Russel's feelings and struggles. However, as this is the first book in a series, I will read the next book(s), The Order of the Poison Oak, to see how Hartinger grows as an author, as he himself is a Gay author.

posted by PatriciaJL on February 14, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2008

    Good, but predictable

    Read it in one day. It was good, but predictable. I liked it and would recommend it to any teen.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 2, 2011

    Good book!

    I loved this book! It made me feel all sorts of emotions. From happy- I actually loled a few times- to sadness. The endign was not what I was expecting/or hoping for. However, it was a great read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2006

    Pretty good

    If you're into the gay teen genre then this is probably a good read. Its short and has a pretty good messege but really overall I felt that it was something of a clone of other gayteen books I'd read, and not as good of a one at that. Don't get me wrong, the basic story is tried and true, a teenager discovering hismself in the world and learning to respect everyone but there are frankly better books on the subject. Another thing that I suppose could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it, is the overly simple language of the book. It would seem like its written for a fourth grader if the themes weren't at a teen level. This was annoying to me but its rare to find a book that can get to the point and I suppose it achieved that. I recommend it for gay teen book junkies, anyone who's ever had a secret or someone looking for a good quick read. I've also seen that there's a sequel out so that should be good.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 15, 2004

    Gay Idhao Youth with a lot of repect for this book!

    I loved this book, it was a good fun book, with a lot of laughs. It is really hard as a gay teen (special in a rural area) to find anyone to relate to. But this book conveys that I am not alone. I love this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2004

    A story of romance, drama, and a overall great read

    Brent Hartingers book, Geography Club, was not like your typical highschool drama. It is a book about a group of unlikely friends, who have a common bond and form a club where they can share and relate upon their feeling about being gay. But because of the conservative school to which they belong the must conceal their desire to start a gsa, they call thier new formed club the 'geography club'. This book is intertwined with a romance between the narrator and the all american base ball player, which has its ups and downs. Geography Club is beautifully written, with passages that everyone can relate to, gay or straight.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2004

    Inspiring!

    A truly amazing and inspirational story for any teen who has ever felt different (or any parents who need to understand). The gay character's convictions and lessons learned are lessons for us all. Wonderful...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    One of the most charming points in this novel is Russ's voice. R

    One of the most charming points in this novel is Russ's voice.
    Russ is a brilliantly ordinary high school boy with an awesome, very real, matter-of-fact way of speaking that had me laughing at the most random times of day. You have to love the guy. If I had been reading in a public area instead of safe at home on the family couch, I'm sure I would have gotten some awkward stares. (Though I'm pretty sure my brother and my dog thought I'd gone nuts.)
    It's rare nowadays to pick up a clean read set in a high school setting. It's also rare to pick up a book where homosexuality is talked about in such a matter-of-fact way. I recently read an interview at Literary Rambles where an author talks about how difficult it is to publish a book where the protagonist is both male and gay. It's disconcerting because we talk all the time about how we need to be made more aware of such issues, but instead not making such a fuss in the first place and just accepting individual differences. It's a shame too because we may be missing out on more nice guys like Russ just because publishers hesitate to publish books about gay male protagonists.
    The Geography Club is one of the few places where Russ can relax with like friends. In fact, it comes out of the desire for a safe place to meet without the group having to worry about how the rest of the world looks at them. It's wonderful to see teens of various backgrounds come together there, all with their respective individual charms, including bisexual Asian Min with a competitive spirit, and straight, colorful Belinda with a radiant smile.
    Still, the novel isn't solely focused on how Russ deals with the potential consequences to his social life by coming out. He's another teenager. He worries about his love life and wants to spend as much time as possible with the one he likes. He worries about what others think about him, and he also worries about his friends and their respective problems. Biggest of all is Russ's growth over the course of the novel as he rethinks his priorities and comes to terms with how he views himself as a person and how he outwardly expresses himself. He makes many bad choices throughout the novel, and he isn't afraid to acknowledge them. I respect his decision at the end.
    The reading level of this book is more at the middle-grade level, but it can also be enjoyed by older audiences. For the most part, this book is a clean read. My only hesitation about referring this to middle-grade readers would be somewhat innocent references to tushes using three-letter words and to lower-body parts in addition to name-calling (sometimes as jokes, othertimes not so kindly). Still, like I said, this is a clean read for the most part. Russ doesn't go into elaborate detail regarding this topics, and this book isn't littered with cuss words like a lot of other books I see in the market today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Question.

    How many pages is this book?

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  • Posted January 17, 2012

    AWESOME BOOK! MUST READ IT!

    Geography club is a very good book. I read it in a day and couldn't put it down. This is a book everyone should read if they are older that 10. It gets worst in the end though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2012

    Wonderful

    Enjoyed reading a simple story of struggle and searching how to fit in... looking for what really is important. Recommend it to anyone as a simple reminder that it is about staying true to ourselves and being there for others.

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  • Posted July 14, 2011

    Good

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted July 6, 2011

    Good read

    Coming out is never easy, this book navigates the lgbtq landscape in a way that helps the reader identify as much with the protagonist as empathise with one's self.

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  • Posted June 1, 2011

    Refreshingly Real

    It's really hard to be a gay teen, or just plain gay, these days. What I really liked about this book is that it really delves into some of the worst scenarios that play out in high school for gay teens and by the end of it, you feel like maybe it will all be okay because you're not alone, even if it seems like. I wouldn't mind spending money on any book that has the courage to tackle these issues.

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    Posted February 10, 2010

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    Posted August 31, 2011

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    Posted August 1, 2013

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    Posted July 19, 2011

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    Posted April 11, 2010

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    Posted September 10, 2010

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    Posted January 24, 2010

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