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Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook #1)

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  8,339 ratings  ·  516 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 13th 2003)
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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
Sean Kennedy
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
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
Amy ♥
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!!
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
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
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
Sep 10, 2011 Cory rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
Jason Sharp
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
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,
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
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!
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
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
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
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.
Feb 13, 2010 Kernos rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  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.
Wow, was this book awful! I feel bad for gay teens who were looking for books to read back in 2004 and got stuck with this. The writing was terrible, the plot was cliche, and the characters were flat stereotypes.

I normally say that I can't afford to be too picky when it comes to books with lgbtq characters, because there are so few of them, but I think I can be picky with this one. It did a lot of telling instead of showing and there was tons of over-explaining, as if the author needed to reach
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

Russel Middlebrook is an average high school sophomore. He doesn’t stand out in sports or in specific social groups. He’s not unpopular—he has friends, but he feels alone. Yes, he’s an average high school student, but he has a secret--he is gay, and he’s pretty sure he’s the only gay student at his high school.

"That night in my bedroom, I logged on to the Net. I said I’d never actually been naked with a guy, but it’s possible that once or twice I might’ve gone to a gay chat room and maybe even g
I love queer fiction, but I have trouble finding books that I consider really good. Many address the issues, but don’t have the writing skill to back them up. However, most of the queer YA books I’ve read have overcome this, and Geography Club, by Brent Hartiger, is among them.

Being a teenager is never easy. For the characters in Geography Club, however, life is made even harder by this simple truth: they’re club really has nothing to do with geography, it’s just their front for a gay teen suppo
Roger Kean
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
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
The Geography Club: Brent Hartinger
Date Finished: October 2009

Snapshot: Russell, a boy in high school, is secretly gay, but soon he finds other gay teens at his high school, including Kevin, a popular jock. This group forms the Geography Club because they crave a space that is their own; where they can discuss the issues they are going through in an oftentimes homophobic society. The individuals in this group sometimes struggle with doing the right thing and accepting themselves.

“Hook”: This boo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
Quick Summary

Russell is gay. At least he thinks he is. He hasn't actually kissed a boy yet. But he does like to look at guys. And go to teen gay chat rooms. Russell feels pretty alone in his small town high school of about 800 kids. Which was why it was such a big deal when he finds another boy from his town and his high school in the chat room. And it becomes an even bigger deal when he meets this boy and it's THE popular baseball player, Kevin.

After confiding in his best friend Min, she reveal
Novel about a group of gay teens who form a secret support group for themselves under the guise of the (they think) too-boring-for-anyone-to-join Geography Club. The best thing about this was probably the voice of the narrator, Russel, who sounds like a real teenager—just innocent enough, stupid enough, angry enough, moral enough, self-involved/confused/horny/mixed-up/self-aware enough. The plot is pretty predictable, but except for a few anvil-y moments (like when Russel explains, in parentheti ...more
Russel Middlebrook is gay, but he doesn’t want anyone to know. He’s not the most popular kid at Goodkind High, but he’s not the least popular either. Russel wants to keep it that way, so he only talks to other gay teens via the internet. When Russel chats with one of them and discovers that they attend the same high school they decide to meet. Suddenly Russel is face-to-face with Kevin Land, hot hunk and jock extraordinaire. While confiding to one of his best friends, Min, he learns that she is ...more
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well written 2 43 Feb 28, 2013 09:34AM  
YA LGBT Books: Banned Books Week: Featuring LGBT YA and MG Books with a Giveaway 29 122 Oct 07, 2012 03:25PM  
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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 most famous book is probably my 2003 gay teen novel, Geography Club, which has been adapted into a feature film starring Scott Bakula, Marin Hinkle, Ana Gasteyer, Justin Deeley, and Nikki Blonsky. It was released in selected theaters and on VOD on November
More about Brent Hartinger...
The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook, #2) The Elephant of Surprise (Russel Middlebrook, #4) Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (Russel Middlebrook, #3) The Last Chance Texaco Project Sweet Life

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“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.”
“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!” 3 likes
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