Customer Reviews for

The Elephant of Surprise

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  • Posted November 14, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Being a teenager is struggle enough, but add to it being a gay m

    Being a teenager is struggle enough, but add to it being a gay male and you’ve just unleashed Pandora’s box in a world where it’s hard enough being the norm, much less to add the extras of religion, politics, sexual preference, and trying to find oneself and fit in. The author does a perfect job making this a standalone book and gives readers an informal backdrop on each of the characters so the book moves fluidly along without any questioning.
    “Why all the sudden interest in Kevin? Are you saying you wanna get back together with him?”
    Russell Middlebrook is openly gay, but like most high school age kids, he hasn’t quite figured out the love and emotions part yet, but it’s harder to find a more dedicated friend than he. Their story is really just the tale of any ordinary teen, in spite of their sexuality, and the group of friends and foes as they go through life thinking they are invincible, responsible, and wiser then adults, yet don’t actually relate to adults at all. And that’s the point. That is what makes this such a great book and so hard to put down.

    This is a quick read,  making it perfect for busy teens to squeeze in a little reading time. I definitely recommend picking this book up!
    *This book was provided in exchange for an honest review*    
    *You can view the original review at Musing with Crayolakym and San Francisco & Sacramento City Book Review

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  • Posted March 18, 2013

    Russel wants an adventure and he finds it in The Elephant of Sur

    Russel wants an adventure and he finds it in The Elephant of Surprise. After a brief romance with fellow student Kevin, Russel has found a long-distance boyfriend he met during the summer. Kevin and Otto have a comfortable relationship mostly based on mutual friendship and when both realize that the spark of their relationship has fizzled they decide to part as friends. Soon after Kevin renounces love and romance. Gunnar, one of his best friends, points out to him that he is just tempting fate to mess with his love life. And he is correct - partially.

    What follows are a set of events and introductions of interesting characters that in one way or another affect Russel and his friends. We get to meet Wade, a 'freegan' who makes an impression on Russel from the moment they meet and form a special friendship - one that Russel would like to make more special if given the chance. Then there's Venus, another 'freegan' who plays a major role in the story too. Gunner is involved in a brand new project that most everyone dismissed but comes to play an integral part later on in the story. At last there's Min who is struggling with her relationship with Leah, which leads to a funny recon mission.

    The Elephant of Surprise deals mainly with how events and people can come into your life unexpectedly and bring with them new experiences, thoughts and feelings that you were unaware of before. This is the first book I have read from Brent Hartinger and I found that the writing was funny, engaging and entertaining. I read this book in one sitting because truly I could not get enough of Russel's voice. I enjoyed his laid back but honest attitude and the easy manner in which he interacted with his friends. His interactions with the other characters was fun to read because it revealed a different side of him.

    Although this is the fourth book in the Russel Middlebrook series it can be read as a stand alone. The book includes a summary of what happened in other books and the author does a great job of providing enough back story for you to follow along without feeling overwhelmed.

    All in all, The Elephant of Surprised is a funny, light read to be enjoyed by both young adults and adults alike.

    I received this title from Buddha Kitty Books through NetGalley in exchange of my honest opinion.

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