Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook, #1)
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Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  7,053 ratings  ·  433 reviews
Russel Middlebrook is convinced he's the only gay kid at 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 Russel meets other gay students, too. There's his best friend Min, who reveals that she is bisexual, and her soccer-playing girlfriend Terese. Then there's Tere...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published February 17th 2004 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...more
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
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...more
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 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...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,...more
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!
Elisa Ramblings
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
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
Jul 05, 2012 Wade rated it 4 of 5 stars
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...more
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...more
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.
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...more
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...more
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...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...more
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...more
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...more
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
clear skies
Geography Club is one of those books we all read before the online market hit hard with M/M books. This book brought me back to the good old days when gay fiction was still a niche market.

I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't a little bummed a romance couldn't happen in this book. However, I liked all the characters and their naivete's and their fears. I loved watching them make mistakes not because I'm "mean" but because kids do make mistakes. I loved watching the friendship and the fleeting r...more
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.
Anna  Matsuyama
I am heterosexual female and found some parts of this book at best stereotypical and probably that’s why I was surprised to read on the books last page that author is homosexual.(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. Now that I knew for a fact that Terese was a LESBIAN (in capital letters), she didn’t look so much like one anymore. Sure, she had cropped blond hair and, frankly, broader sho...more
j  u  l  i  o
Feb 10, 2014 j u l i o marked it as to-read

whatever, i'm still allowed to read YA, get off my back, jeez
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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 novel, Geography Club, which has been adapted into a feature film starring Scott Bakula, Marin Hinkle, Ana Gasteyer, Cameron Deane Stewart, Justin Deeley, Ally Maki, Andrew Caldwell, and Nikki Blonsky. It'll be released...more
More about Brent Hartinger...
The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook, #2) The Last Chance Texaco Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (Russel Middlebrook, #3) Project Sweet Life The Elephant of Surprise (Russel Middlebrook, #4)

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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.”
“I got to third base. At baseball practice the following Monday, that is. As for what happened that night with Kevin at the stinky picnic gazebo, that's none of your damn business.” 0 likes
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