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Geography Club American first edition
|Genre||Gay teen fiction|
|4 March 2003|
|Pages||226 (trade paperback)|
|Followed by||The Order of the Poison Oak Double Feature: Attack of the Soul Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul Sucking Brain Zombies|
Geography Club is a 2003 young adult novel by American author Brent Hartinger. It is the first book in The Russel Middlebrook Series. The novel follows a group of high school students who feel like outsiders, some because of their sexual orientations. The narrator, Russel Middlebrook, then finds himself helping his friend Min to form an after school club for the students, so that they can hang out together for support.
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Russel Middlebrook is keeping a secret from his two best friends Min, a bright Chinese American girl, and Gunnar, a bright and socially awkward boy. Neither of them know he is gay and that he has been visiting an internet chat room to chat with other gay teens. When he discovers another guy from his high school in the room Russel is keen to meet up. He is surprised but pleased to find out his online friend is the popular Kevin Land. Russel shares this news with Min who says that she is bisexual and has a girlfriend, the soccer-playing Terese. Min suggests setting up an after school Gay/Bi/Straight Alliance group for support. The group meets and decides on the Geography Club name to keep it private.
At school Gunnar, who is unaware of Russel's sexuality, persuades Russel to go on a double date with him and two popular girls from their school. Russel is reluctant to go on the date, but agrees to do it for Gunnar, as this would be the only way for him to go on a date. When Gunnar and Russel go on their double date Gunnar is happy but Russel only puts up with it for his friend's sake. Russel's date tries to have sex with him and he puts her off by saying he's a virgin and he wants his first time to be special.
Russel joins the school football team so he can be part of Kevin's crowd. Russel plays well and wins a game for his team. Russel persuades Kevin to come to the Geography Club meeting. At school Kevin and his jock friends make fun of the school outcast Brian Bund and Russel joins in. Min sees this and is disgusted. Brian wants to join the Geography club but Kevin and Russel vote against this. Min wanted to let him join, and is angry with Russel for voting with Kevin. Min suggests they make the club public, making Kevin and Teresa nervous. Teresa breaks up with Min.
Gunnar persuades Russel to go on a second double date with the girls, this time at a cabin outside town. Russel is again pressured for sex and when Gunnar refuses to drive him home, Russel storms off. He phones Kevin who drives out to get him and they end up making out.
When rumours are spread by his unhappy date and her friend saying about a gay kid wanting to start a Gay/Straight Alliance, and that it must be Russel because he wouldn't make out with the girl. Kevin starts avoiding him. By lunchtime, Russell has nowhere to sit in the cafeteria except by Brian, as they are now both outcasts. Brian writes in an application for a Gay Straight club making people think he's the "gay kid". Russel asks Brian whether he's gay, and Brian says No but he doesn't want others to get treated like he is. The Geography Club resumes meeting this time seeking more open membership as an official club. After a showdown with the principal, approval is given and a liaison teacher appointed. Gunnar apologises to Russel and says he always knew he must be gay and he's sorry he pushed him into the dates. Kevin isn't willing to be out and he ends his romance with Russell.
Huffington Pictures' Geography Club was filmed in June 2012 with Michael Huffington and Anthony Bretti producing, Frederick Levy and Bryan Leder executive producing. Starring Cameron Deane Stewart, Justin Deeley, Andrew Caldwell, Allie Gonino, Meaghan Martin, Ally Maki, Nikki Blonsky, Alex Newell, Grant Harvey, Dexter Darden, Teo Olivares, Marin Hinkle, Ana Gasteyer, and Scott Bakula.
Geography Club was theatrically released in the U.S. by Breaking Glass Pictures on November 15, 2013.
The DVD was released on March 25, 2014.
- "The Geography Club on Goodreads". Goodreads.
- "Gay/Straight Alliance".
- Ponnekanti, Rosemary - Tacoma’s new Festival of Northwest Plays celebrates local talent, The News Tribune (19 February 2008)
- 'Geography Club' Movie: Brent Hartinger Book Adaptation Begins Production. Huffington Post. June 28, 2012. Retrieved August 16, 2012.
- Hartinger's official website