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The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook #2)

3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,237 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Russel Middlebrook needs to get away. It's tough being sixteen and out at your high school. So being a summer camp counselor sounds like the perfect solution -- but Russel has no idea how crazy this summer will be. Rowdy ten-year-old burn survivors, Indian legends, moonlit skinny dipping, and passionate summer romance are just the beginning . . . and then there's the new s ...more
Paperback, 211 pages
Published January 31st 2006 by HarperTempest (first published March 1st 2005)
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LFPL Teen Services
Russel Middlebrook is not having a good time at school. Ever since his “Geography Club” was exposed as really being a Gay, Bisexual, Straight Alliance. Now, he can’t wait to get away for the summer to anywhere where he won’t be known as the “gay kid”.

When his best friends Gunnar and Min invite him to get a job with them as counselors at a summer camp for burn victims, Russel thinks he’ll have it made. But being a counselor for a bunch of 9-year-old “beasts” as he calls them is more than Russel b


Charming, funny and smart!

I am in love with this series!
A must read for all YA-lovers!
Will Lutes
I am enjoying the hell outta this series. It's like Harry Potter for us gay boys, except without all the hocus pocus and more male bodies in the mix.

Okay, in the spirit of Russel - FULL DISCLOSURE: I fully acknowledge I am terrrrrrrribly late to the Middlebrook party but as they say better late...

Oh, to be young and in high school... or in the case of 'Order...' To be young and in charge of camp crazed 10 year old boys whose single goal is to cause as much damage as they can in their wake mixed
Nicole *`((O_O))`*

So I love this book because it's so CUTE about 10-years old kids who have burn scar... Everything, the plotting, are so perfect....I couldn't stop read it. I love it.
'Sup, dudes?

I really don't like YA novels. I'm past the age where I really remember, or much care about, the trials and tribulations of the high school social network.

Fortunately, that doesn't really matter, because Brent Hartinger has conceived of a character so charming and pleasurable to get to know that it's an unalloyed pleasure revisiting *shudder* my sophomore year and its intricate horrors.

Meet Russel Middlebrook. Russel is sixteen. He knows he's gay. His Internet chat buddies know as
Kevin Shrum
The sequel to Geography Club - a little more spicey. Summer camp brings that out in everyone.
Oct 14, 2007 elissa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: YA fiction fans
Well done sequel to Geograpy Club. I liked them both about equally.
The last book ends with this kid Bryan saving our hero, Russel Middlebrook, from being outted to his entire school. This book opens after Russel has decided to out himself anyway. And lo and behold, people are treating him badly.

To get away from it all, he and his two best friends, Gunnar and Min, sign up to be camp counselors for the summer. The first group of campers are burn survivors, and Russel’s cabin are 10 year old little monsters to boot.

One of the other counselors in particular catch R
another good book from brent hartinger, aimed at teens. this is the second in the russel middlebrook books. the first being geography club

russel is gay and out at school, and its been hard. he just wants a summer away from it. away from everyone knowing and the whispers in a place where being gay isnt all he is known for (there are times when even at 40+ i can relate to that.) so russel decides that summer camp as a camp councelor is just the right idea.

But the first two weeks of camp, well if i
Nick Almand
As much as I enjoyed "The Geography Club", I have to say I found "The Order of the Poison Oak" to be an even more enjoyable story. After introducing the cast and the school setting in the first Russel Middlebrook novel, this one builds from its foundations and takes off in a new direction quite brilliantly!

Without getting into any spoilers, you really get a deeper understanding of Russ's character when you see him thrust into an unfamiliar (and often intensely uncomfortable) situation. Russ is n
Russel's commentaries throughout the book are some of the funniest material I have ever read. If one can appreciate J.D. on Scrubs, Russ will knock your socks off. Hartinger again mixes humor and serious issues into gold, something the Alchemists would be highly envious of. That being said, I found the connection between being outcast for a physical deformity and being an outcast for being gay totally erroneous. One cannot create a connection between a person that went through a traumatic event ...more
Probably 3 1/2 star rather than 4. I've enjoyed the series, Russel is a likable character and the experiences seem for the most part genuine. I don't particularly like the style of having characters speak directly to the reader. I'm also not quite sure I would enjoy this as much if I were a young adult, the intended market for this story. This seems to be more of what an adult would WANT a young gay audience to enjoy. Perhaps the real market is older gay people who didn't have these types of sto ...more
Connor Tansley
This is the best book I have read in a long while! I much preferred this book to the Geography Club which was probably the second best book I have read in a while. Russell is a very relatable character. He's funny and wants to do well, even though he retains a certain level of childishness in that it tends to be more for other people than for himself.

The story starts with him simply wanting to get away from some of the attention he is receiving after having come out as gay. Naturally his friend
Roger Hyttinen
The Russel Middlebrook Series Continues

Last week, I posted about The Geography Club book and movieby Brent Hartinger, and about how much I loved it. Imagine my delight when I discovered that there are now a series of books featuring Russel. So I snatched up the second one in the series: The Order of the Poison Oak and read it in one sitting. Though this book is geared towards Young Adults, I feel that this is a book that anyone can enjoy, regardless of age. As with The Geography Club, I found it
Other than for the teenage themes, I felt like I was reading a MG book. Too many exclamation marks, too much obviousness, too much useless interaction with the reader, and ultimately: weak writing.

While the first book wasn't excellent, it was enjoyable, and I managed to like the three main characters. In this book, they were all impossibly annoying. Not to mention the romance, which I wasn't feeling at all, none of it. Sigh.
Really stuck between 2.5/3 so I went with 3 so as not to drag the overall rating down, but I'm really closer to 2.5.

The voice is actually funny and often charming, but it over-explains EVERYTHING, and definitely doesn't trust the reader to figure anything out for themselves. Even when the writing was doing its job, getting across emotion and subtext through body language and dialogue, Russell steps in to beat you over the head with everything you've already figured out. At one point, he even has
[contains spoilers]

I liked the first one better, but I also enjoyed reading this one. Russel and his two best friends decide to work at a summer camp, and his main reason was staying away from people who knew him as the gay boy. The first group of kids they take care of are burn-survivors and Russel takes a while to get along with them - since they were 10 years old hyperactive boys - but later he finds his way with them and they create The Order of the Poison Oak, based on a indian legend Russe
Molli B.
4.5 stars. Very good follow up to Geography Club. Plus, who the hell doesn't like reading about summer camp?? They're always so atmospheric and fun (even with all the angst). And Russ was definitely his standard awkward and awesome self in this--making high-schoolesque decisions and making new friends and learning new things.

The whole Order of the Poison Oak thing was pretty awesome. Definitely some weepy tears during that.

Lots of great Russ-thoughts, too. "And second, did it ever occur to whoe
Bryan Rosales
I really enjoyed this book, can't say that I loved it from the very beginning but from the turning point with Web the story took an amazing twist and everything was good.

I'm really liking this book series, it's one of the best coming of age series I've read in a while, the different characters they are presenting, specially on this book are amazing. Most of them play the stereotype card and that makes them kinda obvious but at the same time makes them more relatable which in the end is very good
By far the best read of my summer.

Everything is in place. The progress of the protagonist's revelation and openness about his sexuality, the intensity of the events in the camp, and many more. I cannot still process to move on by how influential and powerful this book have been to me. Last night, after I finished it, I could not cease myself from smiling in short intervals. I thought this book gave hope not just to me, but for every gay person who struggles to uncork their true identity out. And
funny, love the main character
Russel Middlebrook is back in this sequel to Brent Hartinger's GEOGRAPHY CLUB. This novel picks up right where the last one left off--Russel has been outed to his entire high school and now he is known as "the gay kid." Eager to escape, he jumps at the chance to be a summer camp counselor with his best friends Gunnar and Min as soon as the school year ends.

While at camp, the three friends have their share of romantic adventures, intrigue, and mishaps pretty predictably. However, Hartinger does a
Crystal (Kris)
Russ never ceases to delight me with his antics (and side comments to the reader). After joining the Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance at his high school, Russ has lost the little social standing that he used to have. Sure, he no longer has to compromise who he is as a person, but it doesn't change the fact that high school life is miserable. That's why, he's delighted to have the chance to escape it all at a camp where no one knows that he's gay.

Of course, it's not that easy to hide your sexual te
Becky Condit
Please leave comments on Lucky's 3 1/2 sweet pea review at

Of the three books I’ve read from this series, this one was the weakest.

Russel and his friends are off to summer camp. They will be working with burn survivors, kids who were injured as a result of being in a fire. The kids are hellions, at least that’s how they start out. Anyway, I’m getting ahead of myself here….

So they go off to camp and it’s here that Russel runs into Web, another counselor, a
Patricia (Patricia's Particularity)
Russel Middlebrook has officially been "out" for some time, and while it is great he is out it really is suffocating him in a way. His solution: to become a camp counselor and tell no one he is gay. The moment he meets the kids at camp he starts to wonder if becoming a counselor was a good idea - they are unruly! How can Russel make sure he gets these kids to respect and like him at the same time? By creating The Order of the Poison Oak. And even though Russel's hope for the summer is some freed ...more
I really enjoyed this! It's a really fun read because the narration is just so funny and clever, it really makes you laugh out loud a few times. And I just adored the story Russel told the kids of the Rainbow Crow, that had such a lovely Dream Time quality to it and it was utterly fantastic :)

But ultimately, this is really about a guy who likes guys so if I'm going to rate it honestly, according to my own enjoyment, then it just can't manage five stars. I'm sorry. There were a few times when I a
The Order of the Poison Oak is the second book in the Russel Middlebrook series by Brent Harbringer, and it takes place the summer after Russel starts the "Geography Club" and comes out to his school as gay. You can imagine that he may want to get away for awhile. Luckily his best friend Gunner goes to volunteer at a summer camp and he convinces Russel, and their other friend Min, to tag along. Little do they realize that this is a camp for burn victims, and they're whole perspective on life cha ...more
Cathleen Ash
(read from mid-page 3 to top of page 2):
"Move it, faggot" Nate Klane said as he ambled by me in the hallway.
See? This was exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. I'd put up with this crap ever since we'd gone public with our Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance, and fankly, I was getting pretty tired of it. Yeah, yeah, sticks and stone can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. First of all, anyone who thinks that words can't hurt you have obviously never taken sophomore P.E. And second, di
Christina (Reading Thru The Night)
The Order of the Poison Oak is intended to be the sequel to The Geography Club (which I read and reviewed last year). I say intended only because it follows the same three best friends: Min, Russ, and Gunnar but you could read TOotPO without having to read Geography Club and vice versa.

It's interesting because recently on the GLBT Challenge Blog there was a post discussing the lack of Bi characters in fiction. And ya know what? It's true. Which is probably one of the reasons why GC and TOotPO ar
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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)
  • Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook, #1)
  • 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)
Geography Club (Russel Middlebrook, #1) 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) Project Sweet Life The Last Chance Texaco

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“It was the voice of someone who had known both amazing joy and intense pain, and who knew that ultimately you can’t really have one without the other.” 1 likes
“did it ever occur to whoever wrote that stupid adage that hurtful words might be a pretty good indication that sticks and stones are on the way?” 0 likes
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