Geography Club

cover image for Geography ClubHartinger, B. (2003) Geography Club.  New York, NY: Harper Collins Publishers

 

Review:

 

Russel Middlebrook may have a respectable number of friends, but that doesn’t stop him from being lonely.  Aside from just not being like all the other boys, Russ spends much of his day worried that someone will figure out his secret.  It turns out that Russ isn’t the only one with a secret though, and once the silence is broken Russ and his friends realize they need a place where they can talk amongst themselves.  So they form the Geography Club as a cover, because who would want to join a geography club?

Although some may disagree with the arguments in the book, I found this to be a very sympathetic and realistic story.  There is talk of sex and drinking in it, which definitely makes it for older tweens rather than younger tweens, but there is nothing in it that would be too dark for tweens that are old enough to be grappling with issues of sexual identity and peer pressure, two main themes of the book.  It’s actually a fairly gentle book considering it’s heavy subject matter, which is part of what makes it a good choice for older tweens.  Hartinger doesn’t shy away from moral dilemmas or the question of personal rights and responsibilities, but neither is the story depressing or dark.

Best for ages 12-16

 

Author website: http://www.brenthartinger.com/

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