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5.0 von 5 Sternen Courtesy of Teens Read Too
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...
Veröffentlicht am 26. Februar 2011 von TeensReadToo

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2.0 von 5 Sternen Hartinger is no Levithan
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...
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Hartinger is no Levithan, 19. November 2013
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Rezension bezieht sich auf: Geography Club (Taschenbuch)
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. Even when Hartinger attempts to remedy this in Book 3 (Double Feature), he rubs the reader's nose in the fact that a character has just used a variant of a Gertrude Stein quote. What is especially aggravating throughout these novels is the author's need to apologize every time he has his character use sophisticated vocabulary ("Is that a word?") - I am unsure as to whether this is a pedagogical gesture (educating his young readers) or a self-conscious one (trying to excuse bad writing); either way, it draws attention away from the narrative.

I give these books 2 stars on account of their obvious good intentions (safe sex is preached ad nauseam; all plot lines end with the main character doing the right thing): Hartinger means well, but the literary craftsmanship just isn't there.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Courtesy of Teens Read Too, 26. Februar 2011
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Geography Club (Taschenbuch)
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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Geography Club
Geography Club von Brent Hartinger
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