Brent Hartinger was one of our speakers at the CAL conference in November and prior to that time, I had not read his book, Geography Club. I recently picked it up and it was a great read. The story is told from Russel Middlebrook’s point of view. Russel realizes he is gay and believes he is the only gay person in his high school and perhaps, his entire town since it is a small one. After participating in an online chat room, he realizes that he isn’t the only gay person in his town. Because of some of these events, Russel realizes that his friend Min is also keeping a secret about her sexual preferences. One event triggers another one and the geography club is born. However, the geography club is not just for gays and lesbians but for many people who need a safe place to share their ideas.
Hartinger’s book is very well written and addresses the issue of homosexuality in a thoughtful manner. It also addresses how many YAs have secrets that they keep hidden for their survival during high school years. The book gives a clear picture of the feelings the characters in the book are experiencing.
This book has been reviewed by School Library Journal, Booklist, and The Horn Book. It is an important book for any YA questioning how to handle thoughts and feelings as they are looking at their own sexuality.
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