Cover image for Geography Club
Title:
Geography Club
Author:
Hartinger, Brent.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins, [2003]

©2003
Physical Description:
226 pages ; 19 cm
Summary:
A group of gay and lesbian teenagers finds mutual support when they form the "Geography Club" at their high school.
Language:
English
Reading Level:
700 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 4.5 6.0 67378.

Reading Counts RC High School 3.9 12 Quiz: 34882 Guided reading level: NR.
ISBN:
9780060012212

9780060012229

9780060012236
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Hartinger's debut novel is a fast-paced and funny portrait of contemporary teenagers who may not learn any actual geography in their latest club, but who learn plenty about the treacherous social terrain of a typical American high school.


Author Notes

Sarah Metcalfe is Professor of Earth and Environmental Dynamics at the University of Nottingham, UK.  She has published extensively on environmental change in Latin America, with a particular focus on Mexico.  Although primarily a palaeolimnologist, her approach is very much multi-proxy, including the use of historical and instrumental records to help to improve our understanding of recent change.

David Nash is Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Brighton, UK. He is widely known for his publications on the reconstruction of historical climate changes in southern Africa, as well as his broader research into the contemporary and Quaternary geomorphology of dryland regions including the Kalahari, Atacama and southern Europe. His research uses methods ranging from scanning electron microscopy and thin-section analysis to the interpretation of historical documents.  


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Russel is gay, and he knows he better keep it secret, or he'll be a total outcast in his small-town high school. But then he discovers that there are others like him--including Min, his longtime best friend, and her lesbian lover, as well as gorgeous, popular jock star Kevin. Seven of them form a support group (the "Geography Club" is their cover-up name), and for a short time, life is blissful. Russel has friends with whom he can be himself, and he also makes love with Kevin. Then things fall apart. Russel refuses to have sex with a girl, and word gets out that he's gay. Kevin can't come out, so he and Russel break up. Things are settled a little too neatly in the end, but there's no sermonizing. With honest talk of love and cruelty, friendship and betrayal, it's Russel's realistic, funny, contemporary narrative that makes this first novel special. The dialogue is right on; so is the high-school cafeteria; so is the prejudice. Booktalk this. --Hazel Rochman


Publisher's Weekly Review

Gay high school students form a small support group called the Geography Club. According to PW, "Overall, this novel does a fine job of presenting many of the complex realities of gay teen life, and also what it takes to be a `thoroughly decent' person." Ages 13-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 10 Up-Russel Middlebrook is a sophomore at Goodkind High School. He has a secret crush on a baseball jock, Kevin Land, and soon discovers that Kevin is also gay. The boys become friendly outside of school and set up the "Geography Club" with three other gay students, one of whom is Russel's closest friend, Min. The club members relish the opportunity to discuss their lives and to relate to one another openly and honestly. Eventually, however, intense peer pressure and insecurity take their toll. Russel's relationship with Kevin ends, but the "Geography Club" becomes the "Goodkind High School Gay-Straight-Bisexual Alliance," and the protagonist gains new insight into himself and his place in the world. Hartinger has written a compelling look at the high school scene and the serious consequences of being "different." The plot never falters. Dialogue flows smoothly and is always completely believable, and the occasional use of profanity adds to the realism of the story. Characterization is excellent, with all of the teens emerging as likable but flawed individuals caught in a situation that few young adults could handle with maturity. This author has something to say here, and his message is potent and effective in its delivery. Many teens, both gay and straight, should find this novel intriguing.-Robert Gray, East Central Regional Library, Cambridge, MN (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Geography Club EPB Chapter One I was deep behind enemy lines, in the very heart of the opposing camp. My adversaries were all around me. For the time being, my disguise was holding, but still I felt exposed, naked, as if my secret was obvious to anyone who took the time to look. I knew that any wrong action, however slight, could expose my deception and reveal my true identity. The thought made my skin prickle. The enemy would not take kindly to my infiltration of their ranks, especially not here, in their inner sanctum. Then Kevin Land leaned over the wooden bench behind my locker and said, "Yo, Middlebrook, let me use your shampoo!" I was in the high school boys' locker room at the end of third period P.E. class. I'd just come from the showers, and part of the reason I felt naked was because I was naked. I'd slung my wet towel over the metal door of my locker and was standing there all goosebumpy, eager to get dressed and get the hell out of there. Why exactly did I feel like the boys' locker room after third period P.E. was enemy territory -- that the other guys in my class were rival soldiers in some warlike struggle for domination? Well, there's not really a short answer to that question. "Use your own damn shampoo," I said to Kevin, crouching down in front of my locker, probing the darkness for clean underwear. Kevin stepped right up next to me and started searching the upper reaches of my locker himself. I could feel the heat of his body, but it did nothing to lessen my goosebumps. "Come on," he said. "Where is it? I know you have some. You always have shampoo, just like you always have clean undies." I had just found my Jockey shorts, and I was tempted to not give Kevin the satisfaction of seeing he'd been right about me, but I was cold and tired of being exposed. I sat down on the bench, maneuvering my legs through the elastic of my underwear, then pulled them up. I fumbled for the shampoo in my backpack and handed it to Kevin. "Here," I said. "Just bring it back when you're done." Kevin was lean and muscled and dark, with perfect sideburns and a five o'clock shadow by ten in the morning. More important, he was naked too, and suddenly it seemed like there was no place to look in the entire locker room that wasn't his crotch. I glanced away, but there were more visual land mines to avoid -- specifically, the bodies of Leon and Brad and Jarred and Ramone, other guys from our P.E. class, all looking like one of those Abercrombie & Fitch underwear ads come to life. Okay, maybe there was a short answer to the question of why I felt out of place in the boys' locker room. I liked guys. Seeing them naked, I mean. But -- and this is worth emphasizing -- I liked seeing them naked on the Internet; I had absolutely no interest in seeing them naked, in person, in the boys' locker room after third period P.E. I'd never been naked with a guy -- I mean in a sexual way -- and I had no plans to do it anytime soon. But the fact that I even thought about getting naked with a guy in a sexual way was something that Kevin and Leon and Brad and Jarred and Ramone would never ever understand. I wasn't the most popular guy at Robert L. Goodkind High School, but I wasn't the least popular either. (Kevin Land at least spoke to me, even if it was only to ask for shampoo.) But one sure way to become the least popular guy was to have people think you might be gay. And not being gay wasn't just about not throwing a bone in the showers. It was a whole way of acting around other guys, a level of casualness, of comfort, that says, "I'm one of you. I fit in." I wasn't one of them, I didn't fit in, but they didn't need to know that. Kevin snatched the shampoo, and I deliberately turned my back to him, stepping awkwardly into my jeans. "Hey, Middlebrook!" Kevin said to me. "Nice ass!" Leon and Brad and Jarred and Ramone all laughed. Big joke, not exactly at my expense, but in my general vicinity. Some tiny part of me wondered, Do I have a nice ass? Hell, I didn't know. But a much bigger part of me tensed, because I knew this was a test, the kind enemy soldiers in movies give to the hero who they suspect isn't one of them. And from a guy I'd just lent my shampoo to, besides. So much for gratitude. Everything now depended on my reaction. Would I pass this, Kevin Land's latest test of my manhood? I glanced back at Kevin, who was still snickering. Halfway down his body, he jiggled, but of course I didn't look. Instead, I bent over halfway, sticking my rear out in his direction. "You really think so?" I said, squirming back and forth. "Middlebrook!" Kevin said, all teeth and whiskers and dimples. "You are such a fag!" Mission accomplished, I thought. My cover was holding -- for another day at least. Once I'd finished dressing, I met up with my friends Gunnar and Min for lunch at our usual table in the school cafeteria. "The paint is flaking off the ceiling in Mr. Wick's classroom," Gunnar said as we started to eat. "Sometimes the chips land on my desk." Gunnar and I had been friends forever, or at least since the fourth grade, when his family had moved from Norway to my neighborhood. I'd always thought he should be proud of being from somewhere different, but kids had teased him about his accent and his name (they called him "Goony" or "Gunner"), so he desperately tried to ignore his heritage. Gunnar was a thoroughly nice guy and perfectly loyal as a friend, but -- and this is hard to admit, him being a buddy and all -- just a little bit high-strung. Geography Club EPB . Copyright © by Brent Hartinger . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Geography Club by Brent Hartinger All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.