One of my goals for this year was to branch out into more contemporary fiction a bit. Geography Club by Brent Hartinger is an LGBT young adult book that seemed just perfect for my foray into realistic fiction :D. There is also a movie coming out sometime this year, and Brent Hartinger was awesome to give me a couple of snapshots of him with some cast members! If you are looking for some fun, quick, but meaningful reading, make sure to check out Geography Club in time for the movie release! Thank you to Brent Hartinger for a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
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 Terese’s politically active friend, Ike.
But how can kids this diverse get together without drawing attention to themselves?
“We just choose a club that’s so boring, nobody in their right mind would ever in a million years join it. We could call it Geography Club!” – Goodreads
- Geography Club has a wide variety of characters with different sexual orientations (including bi-sexual, finally) and at different stages of coming out. This also includes straight teens who have a range of reactions to finding out their friends aren’t straight. Geography Club also brings all these characters together in a believable way ;-).
- There is a very sweet portrayal of developing love between two young men, along with all the problems that high school relationships often run into.
- Geography Club tackles the outsider dilemma pretty well and recognizes that there isn’t an easy fix to the cliques in a real high school.
- The writing in Geography Club is fast and light, while still showing the struggles and pain of closeted teens.
- I really wanted Russel (MC) to grow a backbone when dealing with various social situations. I realize that high school is tough and you want to avoid conflict when you can, but the way he dealt with some of his “friends” actions made me a bit sad.
- There are literally no parents at all in Geography Club. There is some reference to Russel’s parents not being a big part of his life, but it was still a little weird…. Dealing with parents and coming out to parents is also a difficult process for a lot of teens, so it would have been nice to see a portrayal of that.
Geography Club manages to be light and fun, while also portraying the isolation and fear that goes along with being a gay teen in an unwelcoming high school. Russel finds that he is not nearly as alone as he thought, both because there are other gay teens at his school and because there are straight teens who care about him, not his sexual orientation. Anyone who is interested in a fast and compelling read about these situations should definitely check out Geography Club before the movie comes out!
Speaking of movie, here are a couple of pictures of Brent Hartinger with some of the cast of the upcoming Geography Club movie :D