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Geography Club (The Russel Middlebrook Series) [Kindle Edition]

Brent Hartinger
3.5 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (2 Kundenrezensionen)

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From Booklist

Gr. 7-12. Russel is gay, and he knows he better keep it secret, or he'll be a total outcast in his small-town high school. But then he discovers that there are others like him--including Min, his longtime best friend, and her lesbian lover, as well as gorgeous, popular jock star Kevin. Seven of them form a support group (the "Geography Club" is their cover-up name), and for a short time, life is blissful. Russel has friends with whom he can be himself, and he also makes love with Kevin. Then things fall apart. Russel refuses to have sex with a girl, and word gets out that he's gay. Kevin can't come out, so he and Russel break up. Things are settled a little too neatly in the end, but there's no sermonizing. With honest talk of love and cruelty, friendship and betrayal, it's Russel's realistic, funny, contemporary narrative that makes this first novel special. The dialogue is right on; so is the high-school cafeteria; so is the prejudice. Booktalk this. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

From School Library Journal

Grade 10 Up-Russel Middlebrook is a sophomore at Goodkind High School. He has a secret crush on a baseball jock, Kevin Land, and soon discovers that Kevin is also gay. The boys become friendly outside of school and set up the "Geography Club" with three other gay students, one of whom is Russel's closest friend, Min. The club members relish the opportunity to discuss their lives and to relate to one another openly and honestly. Eventually, however, intense peer pressure and insecurity take their toll. Russel's relationship with Kevin ends, but the "Geography Club" becomes the "Goodkind High School Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance," and the protagonist gains new insight into himself and his place in the world. Hartinger has written a compelling look at the high school scene and the serious consequences of being "different." The plot never falters. Dialogue flows smoothly and is always completely believable, and the occasional use of profanity adds to the realism of the story. Characterization is excellent, with all of the teens emerging as likable but flawed individuals caught in a situation that few young adults could handle with maturity. This author has something to say here, and his message is potent and effective in its delivery. Many teens, both gay and straight, should find this novel intriguing.
Robert Gray, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, MN
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


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2.0 von 5 Sternen Hartinger is no Levithan 19. November 2013
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Having read all four books of the Russel Middlebrook series, I can now confidently say that each and every one of them is infinitely worse than anything by David Levithan (notably Boy Meets Boy and How They Met). So if you are interested in gay teen/young adult fiction, I would recommend you read some Levithan and stay away from Hartinger.

Now what exactly is the problem with Hartinger's novels?

Plot: The formula of the sensitive protagonist falling for and getting into a relationship with the closeted jock has been done before, and "Geography Club" has none of the charm of, say, "Get Real" (a British movie). Other than that, book one is not too awfully constructed; it's the later entries to the series which boast truly convoluted plotlines (eco terrorism, anyone?).

Characters: This is where Hartinger proves UTTERLY incompetent. His characters are clichés (the brainy Asian, the introverted Scandinavian, the sensitive gay teen, the closeted jock...) that completely fail to come to life. As a result, none of them are particularly likeable. The first novel of the series additionally suffers from a clichéd portrayal of high school as a whole, where everyone is segregated into a readily identifiable clique (the jocks, the nerds, the cheerleaders...) and interaction between members of different cliques is considered all but treasonous.

Style: The writing itself is another weakness of these novels. For one, Hartinger tends to opt for telling instead of showing: We learn that the protagonist's best friend is smart not through her words or actions, but by having the protagonist attach that label to her; indeed, none of the characters do or say anything to suggest they're particularly bright, aside perhaps from the occasional SAT-word.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Courtesy of Teens Read Too 26. Februar 2011
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.

Reviewed by: Jennifer Wardrip, aka "The Genius"
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.4 von 5 Sternen  179 Rezensionen
35 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Being Different & Surviving High School! 26. März 2003
Von Joseph J. Hanssen - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
This book is geared toward young adults (high school age), but I feel it's a book all ages can enjoy and benefit from, especially parents who want to better understand their gay son or daughter, and the difficulties they face while in high school.

Russel is convinced he's the only gay student at GoodKind High until his online gay-chat buddy turns out to be another student, Kevin, who is the popular closeted star baseball player of the school. Soon Russel learns his best female friend, Min, and her girlfriend, Therese, and another student called Ike, are also gay. They now have to figure out how they can all get together for talks without drawing attention to themselves. This leads them to form a club called "Geography Club". Is the "Geography Club" the answer to their problems, or will peer pressure, insecurities, unexpected members and other events, take a toll on their developing friendship, and their new club.
Hartinger has written a very realistic, fast-paced story filled with love, hope, humor, and sadness that will touch anyone's heart. These young students are individuals who are mature beyond their years. The author has done a brilliant job in getting his message across by developing characters that are very believable. We need more sensitive, intelligent writing like this that can help all young people deal with being different, especially at a time when there are so many other pressures for them to bear. It's rough to be young in today's world. This is a book I recommend for all. Please don't miss this one!
Joe Hanssen
29 von 29 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Helps a lot 22. Juli 2006
Von alejander - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I am a 17 year gay guy from ohio and let me say, this is one of the best books I've read in a long time. I felt and feel like I AM the character of Russell in the book, I've gone through so many of the things he has. I even cried after reading the sequel after this one because it made me look at my own situation and how hard it is to be gay and love someone who might never talk to you again if they knew. I feel like this book deserves several awards, it certainly had a touch to me.
19 von 19 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Moving Story, Classic Characters, & a Book That's All Heart 1. Mai 2004
Von Lori L. Lake - Veröffentlicht auf
Russel Middlebrook is a 16 year old high school sophomore hiding a big secret: he's gay. He keeps a low profile because he doesn't want to be treated like the school outcast and scapegoat Brian Bund upon whom all manner of dirty tricks and teenage cruelties are visited. Instead, Russel spends his time with Gunnar and Min, a guy and girl known for their brains, but who are also "occasional visitors to the border region of high school respectability" (p. 6). Russel is not eager to leave that border. Ever.
By a fluke Russel learns that another student is also gay, and he embarks upon that universally heady, intense journey where falling in love seems oh-so-right. He joins the baseball team to be with his boyfriend-even hits a home run-and suddenly he's living in the Land of the Popular. But he also meets some other kids who are gay and lonely. They have an inspiration to start a gay/lesbian support group, but in order to keep out those who would mock and exile them, they call it Geography Club. Unfortunately, the secret does not stay confidential, and the fallout is more than Russel thinks he can bear. Will he choose to take the coward's way out? Or can he stand up to the ignorant people all around?
With a light touch and a sense of humor, Hartinger tells a very serious story, one that is being played out in high schools across the country. With unerring accuracy, he depicts the isolation and fear first of one young man, then of a small group, and he reveals the courage and support it takes for any gay or lesbian high school student to stand up to the crowd. By the end of this novel, I had tears in my eyes. The story is moving, the characters are classic, and the discoveries Russel makes are ones that both high schoolers and adults should all learn. Highly recommended.
9 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen All young adult (14-16) and maybe the more-mature middle grade (11-14) readers ought to try this! 30. März 2013
Von Karielle @ Books à la Mode - Veröffentlicht auf
In the conservative, oppressive town of Goodkind, Russel Middlebrook faces his biggest fear--publicly coming out--as he slowly discovers there are others at his own school, stubbornly questioning and reconciling with their sexualities, just like he is. In this town and in this decade, gay-straight alliances are unheard of--scorned, even--but upon kindling a brotherhood with the diverse group of people who are so different from him, and yet so similar, he learns that sometimes being yourself, no matter how hard, is more important than any reputation, any sort of acceptance, and any lie he'd be living otherwise.

I was so impressed by this children's LGBT novel both because of the controversial topic it daringly confronts, and by the strength and grace with which it is written. Russel's realistic first-person narrative--one of the pioneering gay narrations in YA fiction--is a pleasure to read and captures the horrors and injustices of the high school social scene penetratingly, but in an appropriate, parent-approved fashion. I loved him as a character as well; he's so awkward, nice, and hilarious in an adorable teenage boy way. We need more gay narrators for YA!

I also adore Russel's best friends, Min and Gunnar, because they aren't portrayed as the typical "he's been my BFFL and always has my back no matter what" crap. They're so flawed--so flavored--and that makes them so, so real.

This book is touching, frightening, and compelling in all the right paces. It accurately conveys the fear of learning to cross and even break the invisible, vicious barriers within the high school social ladder, but not explicitly; it leaves just enough to the imagination, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend it to the younger crowd, too.

The unexpected alliance Russel finds within Goodkind High School, the belonging and the assurance, highlights the importance of companionship and honesty of which I think all teenagers still need to be reminded. Even though Geography Club was written over ten years ago, the relationships Hartinger portrays stand the test of time in a poignant, universal story that readers of any age and any sexual orientation will love. In Geography Club, a handful of brave, passionate students stumble upon a connection in which they each can be completely honest with each other, as well as with themselves, for the first time in their young lives. This exchange of feelings and struggles that would otherwise be repressed is both gritty and soulful, and constitutes a brilliant coming-of-age novel.

Pros: Interesting, suspenseful storyline // Cutting humor--I laughed out loud so many times! // Realistic, but still lovable characters // Russel's voice is so accurate // Tackles a sensitive issue fluidly and in a way that will encourage young readers

Cons: Not enough rising action... wish there'd been more drama before the final climax

Love: We bought tickets for the stupid romantic comedy rated PG-13, but once we were inside the multiplex, Kimberly said she wanted to see the stupid erotic thriller rated R instead. As for me, I didn't want to see either the romantic comedy or the erotic thriller. I wanted to see the animated Disney musical, which I guess just proved that I really was the gay boy that I'd been thinking all along that I was.
--LOL this is why I love Russel!

Verdict: Brent Hartinger's inspiring and dazzling debut isn't just a novel about gay adolescents; it touches upon important global teen matters of friendship, identity, and the courage to speak out, as well. I loved everything about it--the characters, the voice, the absorbing plot--and think it's one of those books that all young adult (14-16) and maybe the more-mature middle grade (11-14) readers ought to try.

Source: Complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!).
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Cute, Light novel 12. Juni 2003
Von Michael T. Rognlien - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I probably should have guessed by the size of the book (it'll almost fit in your pocket) and the title that the subject matter was geared primarily at teens..
That said, it was a very light read (I finished it in just over an hour and a half) but a cute story. My only major gripe was that the "I'm gay, everyone's gay!" approach to the main characters was a bit too easy.. and the initial meeting of the main character and the jock in a chat room was rather implausible, (if you're a terribly closeted jock, why would you go meet someone who goes to your own high school 5 minutes into a chatroom conversation?) but nonetheless it was a cute, light, easy-to-read story.
Also recommend Bart Yates' "Leave Myself Behind" ..
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