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Geography Club

(Russel Middlebrook #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  14,867 ratings  ·  814 reviews
I knew that any wrong action, however slight, could reveal my true identity...

Russel is still going on dates with girls. Kevin would do anything to prevent his teammates on the baseball team from finding out. Min and Terese tell everyone they're really just good friends. But after a while, the truth's too hard to hide - at least from each other - so they form the "Geograph
Paperback, 226 pages
Published February 17th 2004 by HarperCollins (first published March 1st 2003)
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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 ·  14,867 ratings  ·  814 reviews

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Dec 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Apr 02, 2015 added it
Shelves: queer
“Even the ugliest place in the world can be wonderful if you’re there with good friends—just like the most fabulous destination on earth is pretty boring when you’re all alone.”

This was an okay read. I've been wanting to read this for a long time but I've tried to keep my expectations low. I've read some great LGBTQ books so far and they set the bar pretty high.

So the protagonist, Russel, was plain. He was not especially interesting or smart or brave or talented. There were a few side characters
Julio Genao
Feb 10, 2014 marked it as to-read

whatever, i'm still allowed to read YA, get off my back, jeez
Audible headphones_icon_1

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!
Jul 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A good story, the characters has little emotion considering the subject, but I would recommend.
Sean Kennedy
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 23, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult, queer
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 comfo ...more
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
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!
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 (( lost in the book's world ))
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 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Evan Lien
Feb 22, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves - This book is actual proof that no matter how badly written a book is, it will be made into a movie if the message is strong enough!

16 year old Russell is one of the smart intellectual. Whatever makes him intellectual, we don't know, but he sits with his best friends, Min and Gunnar, everyday at lunch. He is gay, and has really locked himself in the closet. He is so deep in he's probably talking to mr. Tuminus in Narnia for all we know.
After school one ni
Apr 17, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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,
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Agatha Lund
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
May 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
After a number of grown-up books leading to a slight degree of melancholy, almost depression, I decided I needed a gay teen in my life. Brent Hartinger's Geography Club was waiting for me - and what a joy it proved to be! The story depicts a group of teens with typical problems, like popularity, honesty, peer pressure and the like, with exploring one's sexuality as an added element in the complexity. The narrative (Russel Middlebrook is the first-person narrator) is fairly simple, in comparison ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a funny, and sometimes sad, queer teen book. I definitely need to rewatch the movie now that I’ve finally read the book!
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
Josephine (biblioseph)
Apr 26, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 1st-in-a-series
In a nutshell, guy finds out he's not the only kid who identifies as non-heterosexual and so they create a club so they can hang out. How to get no one else to join? Name it some thing terribly boring. Life, love and learning happen.

Geography Club is a book that I should have read sooner rather than later, because now, years after I read The God Box and Out of the Pocket, when queer characters like Jesper Fahey and queer authors like Nina Lacour are on the scene, this book feels shallow and too
Roger Kean
Jul 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
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.
Michael Price
Feb 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Serena Yates
Nov 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult, gay
This is a great book about growing up and trying to find a place in the world. Doubly difficult if you're gay (like the main character) or GLBTQ.

Russel is very lonely, at first thinking he's the only gay kid at his high school with 1,800 pupils. As he discovers Kevin via a chatroom and more gay kids via his best friend Mim (who turns out to be bi), he is encouraged at first. But they soon face the pressure of the outside world and realize that nothing (in terms of their place and hopes) is solve
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well written 2 48 Feb 28, 2013 09:34AM  
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I am Brent Hartinger, a novelist and screenwriter. I’ve published fourteen novels, had nine screenplays optioned, and had two of my projects turned into feature films.

My first novel, Geography Club (2003), is the story of a gay teen named Russel Middlebrook. It was one of the first in a new wave of break-out LGBTQ young adult fiction, and it was adapted as a feature film in 2013. I subsequently wr

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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