The Elephant of Surprise by Brent Hartinger
Paperback, 239 pages
I admit, I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book. The cover had me laughing and I thought it was definitely something that would grab my attention were I to see it in a store or library. I mean, just look at the elephant trunk hanging over Russel's shoulder. What's that about?
Geography Club’s Russel Middlebrook and his friends Min and Gunnar are back, and they’re laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise—the tendency for life to never turn out the way you expect. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot, but mysterious guy named Wade—even as he's also drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min learns her girlfriend Leah is keeping secrets, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest obsession.
But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?
The Elephant of Surprise, the latest entry in Brent Hartinger’s groundbreaking gay teen Russel Middlebrook Series, is a story of humor, romance, and danger. Before it’s over, Russel and his friends will learn that the Elephant of Surprise really does appear when you least expect him—and that when he stomps on you, it really, really hurts.
What I loved about this book was: The cover for one, as well as learning so much about an interesting sub-culture that is all around us. When we meet Wade and Venus we discover that they are living slightly off the grid. Not only did it open Russel's eyes to a bigger world, but it opened my eyes as well. I loved reading about Russel and the conflict he had with his entire decision making process about dating and what he believed in. What will Min, Gunnar and Russel do when Leah is being so secretive and placing strange phone calls? How will Russel react when Gunnar exposes a big plot? You are curious now aren't you? These questions are why I read the entire book in two trips on the bus. I had to find out what they would all do!
I was excited to start reading this book when I came across the first 3 pages which were named: 'Previously' and gave info about Brent's first three books. I wish every book that was later in a series would have this. So often I forget what the first couple books in a series are about when I haven't read them for well over a year. The short descriptions were enough for me to know exactly where Russel had been and prepare me for 'The Elephant of Surprise'.
So this book surprised me! I really enjoyed the whole thing and am definitely recommending that you read the whole Russel Middlebrook Series RIGHT NOW!
BRENT HARTINGER is an author, editor, screenwriter, and playwright. Geography Club, the first book in the Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series, is now a feature film starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky. Watch the trailer here.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the author and all opinions expressed are my own. I was not paid or influenced in any way.