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Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook #1)

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,654 Ratings  ·  634 Reviews

Book 1 in the Russel Middlebrook Series.

Now a feature film starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky! The first book in the Russel Middlebrook Series.

Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at Robert L. 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 Ru

Kindle Edition, 244 pages
Published September 22nd 2009 by HarperTeen (first published March 1st 2003)
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Mar 05, 2014 Wency rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It is my second read of this book. I cried harder the second time.

We all lived in a world where being different is bad, ridiculed and not welcome. I think it is a bit ironic that people keep telling us to be different, to think different. But here we are getting shit for being different. And that even more suck in high school where they say has the best memories but it is also where anyone can find themselves in a toughest situation.

And this book is about getting through that and also about fr
Feb 11, 2016 Kiki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The thing about Schiphol is that it's almost too easy to navigate. You get off your plane, and your connecting flight is about six steps away. I had a four-hour layover when I arrived there about two weeks ago, en route for Glasgow, and I made an uncomfortable beeline for gate D6, having stumbled off the red-eye furious, sweaty and exhausted. When I got to the desk, the clean, impeccably dressed, beautiful Dutch attendant politely told me I had three and a half hours to wait until check in, so I ...more
Sean Kennedy
Feb 16, 2013 Sean Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some reviews accuse this book of being preachy, and although I agree in part I think "Geography Club" is one of the best stories in the YA GLBT genre - the kids swear, do horrible things, aren't perfect, and think about sex! Honestly, some books make them so neutered it's hard to take them seriously. It is even realistic in the fact that by the end, some have made the painful decision to stay in the closet rather than out themselves and 'live their lives, be free'. Life isn't like that for every ...more


I'm glad that I've chosen an audio edition.
I don't really know, how an author makes a decision, who will narrate his/her book, but if Brent Hartinger HAD to make this decision by himself - he made the right one.

My first Josh Hurley as a narrator, and he is a perfect choice for this sweet, funny and enlightening YA novel about friendship, finding yourself, about first love, and...coming out. It was better than watching a movie - I lived inside the story!

Very enjoyable 5 hours!
Jubilation Lee
Okay, so, let me say right off the bat that I don’t remember this being a bad book.

I don’t remember this being a good book, either.

I don’t actually… remember this book. At all.

Considering that I read it last week and set it aside to review later, I’m a little bit worried by its complete inability to stick in my mind. I mean, I’m talking things like the name of the characters—pretty basic stuff.


So that kind of doesn’t bode well for the story.

Sorry, Brent Hartinger! If you like, you can just
May 24, 2015 Amy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
5 STARS!! I don’t read a lot of Young Adult, but something about the description and the book cover intrigued me. It reminded me of some of the TV shows I used to watch in my younger years... Freaks and Geeks, My So Called Life, etc. And I was not disappointed, I love love loved this book! Told entirely from Russel Middlebrook’s POV, this story is full of humor, wit and important life lessons. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series!!
Sep 10, 2011 Cory rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Younger Fans of David Levithan

Nothing spectacular or groundbreaking here. It's filled with two-dimensional characters and very special lessons. But the MC isn't an asshole and it has a decent ending. It's better than most YA, which isn't saying much.

I'd recommend this for middle school students, but with all the talk about who's having sex, and who isn't having sex, I don't think they'd care. I wouldn't have cared. And the writing is too juvenile for high schoolers despite the profanity. If you're looking for something to b
Aug 30, 2007 Punk rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: queer, young-adult
YA. Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at his high school, but while hanging out online in a gay teen chat room, he discovers there's someone else out there, and soon gay people are popping out all over the place, though not actually out. This is a solidly mediocre contestant in the queer young adult genre. It's not an overly idealized world where gays and lesbians are accepted without question ( David Levithan, I'm looking at you). These kids have problems and aren't yet comf ...more
Oct 13, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Substantially better than Totally Joe. Geography Club follows the life of several teens at a medium/large high school who discover that they're not the only gay kids in school. Rather than tempting fate and public outing they start a gay kids club under the most unappealing club title they could possibly think of: The Geography Club. Obviously one thing leads to another, and some people hook up, lie to their friends, fake being straight, do terrible things to other kids to fit in, and rise and f ...more
Feb 10, 2014 julio marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

whatever, i'm still allowed to read YA, get off my back, jeez
Sep 27, 2014 Dana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It was such a wonderful book! I don't know if it's something really anyone would love, but I think it's likable enough, and I absolutely LOVED it. It was so cute and I could actually feel progression during the story, and I also really liked the writing, so that helped.
I'm not saying this book has many insightful moments, but it was so much fun reading it. Also, it's really short, so it's a pretty easy read. I just think that as long you like this kind of stuff (you can look in the genres for yo
Nicole *`((O_O))`*
This book is very interesting and I really enjoy it so much.

I didn't know this book is SERIES!!!!! >,<

SAID WHATTT???? I didn't know that this book is into the movie. BUT.....I like this book best than movie because movie is OK!
Jason Sharp
Aug 29, 2012 Jason Sharp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I’d like to start with this book with a confession: I would not have read this book if I had not been assigned to read a book on Gay and Lesbian Fiction. Gay rights are an important subject to me and although I have no problems with books or media on the subject, I also had no real desire to seek it out. This book, along with another gay superhero book I’ve read previously (Hero by Perry Moore) may change all of that. I loved, loved, loved this book and it has become one my favorite books this y ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

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 peo
John Egbert
Lookie here! A rantish thing I'd written a while ago on this book...before reading it /:(

I actually don't remember reading the book and have no idea what's going on here, but I'll post it anyway.

Why is it that love of musicals and fashion equal a gay man? I didn't have a major probelm with Geography Club until this happened. Well, besides Russel continuing to go out on double dates with Trish, even though he and Kevin had become boyfriends at that point. He confesses that he is gay to a friend,
Oct 26, 2011 Elspeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
I enjoyed this book quite a lot, made me rethink some of high school and what mindset a lot of the kids had.
Kind of sad really how stongly we want to be popular then and how little it really matters in the now.
Seems like too much work for me now!
May 09, 2012 Kealsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unreadabley-bad
I have never rage-quit a book so fast and so furiously and I don't think I ever will again.
Right-why this book is so rage-inducing. My main problem with Brent Hartinger as an author is that his writing always feels like an episode of Zoey 101 or Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide but with more gay. Now, I loved those shows and I think it would actually be cool to have gay characters in them but that doesn't make Brent Hartinger good.
The main character shows promise in the first chapter an
Apr 20, 2010 Kassa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Geography Club is a young adult book that doesn’t feature a gay utopia but instead depicts a realistic high school with students that aren’t especially noble or inspiring. These are the types of teenagers that exist in every high school, struggling to get through the minefield of social acceptance and rejection with the added pressure of being different. There is no preaching about accepting differences but the story ends with a note of hope and the idea that high school may be horrible but you’ ...more
Mar 17, 2016 Victoriano rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I chose Hartinger's "The Geography Club" purely as a self-indulgent piece of reading, and I was pleasantly surprised with the content. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversational rhetoric that could only be accurately replicated by someone who lived during the beginnings of the new millennium.

There were a lot of references to life in the early 2000s: the fact that they used a chat room to initiate the entire plot was oddly endearing. The novel's age adds to its light, nostalgic charm. Coming from s
This one was a little thing, and a little preachy -- I suppose that I should season all my YA reviews with "I am not the target audience", but for this one and for its sequel even more than most of my YA reviews. I enjoyed it -- I found Russel an engaging character and there were parts of this book when I really felt for him, but sometimes the message Hartinger was trying to get across just pounding me in the face instead of gently tapping my shoulder.

Not a bad read, but there's better coming ou
Menglong Youk
Geography Club is a story of an isolated gay kid who never thought that there were any other gays in his town besides him, but he was wrong. Kevin, whom Russel had no idea that he was secretly gay, was a popular kid in high school. They anonymously chatted and decided to meet up. They both started having crush on each other. As the story develops, there were still many problems for them to face, but they were not strong enough to dare to stand against the truth, instead both of them were hiding. ...more
This was actually a pretty good read. Hartinger's story has a lot of depth to it about realistic things people have to go through every day concerning relationships and friendships, high school, dealing with things that at the time are incredibly difficult but in the end being able to come out of them stronger than before, and accepting one's self for who they are.

Overall I really liked it and am glad to have read it. But so much of it hit too close to home, not in a good way. Thankfully I can s
I must confess I had that book in my driver for A LONG TIME now, but I was never in the mood for a realistic romance. And a debut author (I have had bad experiences with both. *shudder*). But then as I was cruising the net I saw that they had adapted it into a movie. I of course was quick to rent it BUT... Having learned my lesson with the Twilight Saga, where I first saw the movies that later destroyed the whole Saga for me, I maturally decided to read the book first.
Roger Kean
Jul 08, 2012 Roger Kean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In high schooler Russel, Brent Hartinger has created a Mr. Average. Russel doesn't suck at sport, but neither is he that good, he's not the best looking guy in school, but neither is he a dork, pretty clever but not brainy, his biggest problem is the locker room and all those naked jocks. Russel is not Mr. Average in one way—he's the only gay kid in school. Or is he? He's only ever confessed his inclinations to himself, not even his two best friends Min and Gunnar know. When he discovers to his ...more
Michael Price
Feb 21, 2012 Michael Price rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Geography Club follows the lives of several, gay, closeted teens and their constant struggle to fit in and stand out along side their peers. Russel, the main character always feels out of place, especially in the guy’s locker room. He has a crush on Kevin, the captain of the baseball team, but Kevin and his buddies are constantly making fun of him and Kevin must strive to keep his cover by playing along with the groups gay-oriented insults.

Things start to change once Russel discovers that he’s n
Elisa Rolle
This is yet another of those Young Adult novels I was a little scared to read; in this case, for how shallow it could sound, it was also the cover that worried me, I had a “bad” feeling. And again I was wrong. Sure, Geography Club is not really about the romance, even if there is a teen romance in it, it’s more about the growth of all the characters, but it’s not a dramatic story, on the contrary, it has even a somewhat light and happy mood, like the reader is able to see that everything will be ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Wade rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya
3.5 ... But considering it is YA we will go with a 4! (plus I tend to round up)

I liked it. It was a good representation of high school life. I think what Russel went through was realistic. I hate how he changed and almost became one of the ones he formally despised. (when making fun of Brian)...

I also like how thinhs/relationships were different once exposed to the light of day. (or. Mig's relationship) that is so often the case. Things feel good and fun when kept a secret but when the secret i
Nov 20, 2015 Dig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, apparently it's a movie.

I thought this book was going to be dumb. LOL. As most high school books are but this book was real. Almost too real. It wasn't just about being gay -- which is how it'd started, it was about friendship, and misunderstandings and that kid in school you see getting bullied but you don't do anything b/c you don't wanna be bullied.

This was very stereotypical in very stereotypical ways -- the way it portrayed the gay jock kids also hit home.

I loved it and I think I've
Feb 13, 2010 Bill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in the process of coming out, esp adolescents.
Shelves: gay-fiction
The best thing about this book for me was the charm and wit of the protagonist, Russell. But, being decades away from the coming out process, there was really nothing new for me. This would be a good book for adolescents struggling with their sexual identity. There are better ones out there.

The book is appropriate for inclusion in school libraries.
Smith Barney
A nice -safe- vanilla milkshake kind of YA. A bit on the plain-side..but still palatable..sort of hard to f'up a vanilla milkshake. I didn't catch the opportunity to climb inside any of the characters and so that felt a bit cafeteria-food inspired for me..when reading.
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well written 2 46 Feb 28, 2013 09:34AM  
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I am Brent Hartinger, and I live to write.

For the last twenty years, I have made my living writing just about everything that involves words.

My latest project is a trilogy of "new adult" novels called Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years. They're about a gay guy in his twenties, Russel Middlebrook, trying to make sense out of love and life.

The books in Russel Middlebrook: The Futon Years are:

* The
More about Brent Hartinger...

Other Books in the Series

Russel Middlebrook (4 books)
  • The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook, #2)
  • Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (Russel Middlebrook, #3)
  • The Elephant of Surprise (Russel Middlebrook, #4)

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“Why can’t there be just one place for gay kids, where we don’t have to hide who we are? Hell, straight people have the whole rest of the world! They go around holding hands and kissing and talking about ‘my-girlfriend-this’ and ‘my-boyfriend-that.’ And they say we shove our lifestyle in their faces? That’s a laugh!” 6 likes
“Are you?" I said. "Gay, I mean?"


I hoped he wasn't offended by my asking, but after everything that had happened, I really wanted to know.

"No," he said. "I thought I was for about a w-w-week once. But now I know I'm not."

If there was ever an answer that sounded like the truth, that was it.”
More quotes…