(Originally posted in 2010 via Booksessed)
by Brent Hartinger
Publisher: Harper Tempest/Harper Collins
Genre: Teen, Coming of Age, Gay Literature
Vendors: I ordered this online from Barnes and Noble, it might be hard to find in a bookstore that doesn’t stock a lot of gay literature.
It’s five o’clock in the morning, and I’ve spent the last two or three hours reading the Geography Club by Brent Hartinger. As it is very late and I am very tired, forgive me if this review is more emotional and abstract than analytical. Ah, fuck analytical, emotional’s more fun anyway
This book was beautiful. I’m near tears after finishing it. So many emotions. The story follows Russel, a high-school sophomore, who is gay and in the closet, and pining after the sexy star player of the baseball team. When it turns out that his gay online chat buddy turns out to be that very player, things get interesting. When Russel’s best friend informs him that she is bisexual and has been carrying on a gay relationship for the last three years, and that her girlfriend also has a gay friend, the five of them attempt to meet and share their thoughts with one another. While they enjoy being able to have a place where they can be free, they have a very hard time finding one, and ultimately decide to start a school club so that they can have a free classroom in which to sit and support one another and be together, and name this club something so boring that no one will ever join: the Geography Club.
I love Russell. He is a wonderful narrator because he’s real. He’s horny enough to be believable, but together enough not to be smutty. Not that I mind super-horny. On the contrary. But still, his style of narration is witty and his emotions are very believable. I became extremely angry with Russell at certain points in the book, and I felt his excitement, and I got shivers down my spine as his relationship with his boyfriend develops and they have their sweet moments. The book stays focused on the plot without diverting too long from the romance, and as it takes place in high school, there’s a big emphasis on the absurdities of cliques. The plot remains consistent and the emotions, and the ideas behind the story, are real. This is a book that pulls together humor, romance, and even loneliness, isolation, and heartbreak. It’s a lot packed into a 200-page novel, and this is a beautiful work.
I give this book 5 out 5 dog-eared pages. So much heart.