Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Elephant of Surprise and a Giveaway!!

The Elephant of Surprise
by Brent Hartinger
The Russel Middlebrook series, book four

People aren't always what they seem to be. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves.

So discovers seventeen-year-old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise, a stand-alone sequel to Brent Hartinger's landmark 2003 gay young adult novel Geography Club (which has now been adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky).

In this latest book, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise – the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he's drawn back to an old flame named Kevin. Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology 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? (description from

I have to admit up front that I have not yet read any of the other books in this series.  Since seeing the preview for Geography Club, I have been very intrigued, but now that I've read The Elephant of Surprise, I'm definitely going to have to go back and start from the beginning! Especially if I want to see the movie... LOL.

This book was a great and different read for me. A little out of my comfort zone (y'all know that I LOVE fantasy/sci fi and tend to sway that way almost TOO often) being LGBT realistic fiction, but I loved that this book was light and funny and quickly-paced.  While there is indeed a focus on relationships, (and really in most YA lit, when is there not?) there was also a HUGE focus on these amazing friendships that I really loved.  Russel, Min, and Gunnar will basically do anything for one another and you have to admire that type of friend.  This REALLY made me want to go back to read Geography Club to see how they become that close.

I also really enjoyed learning more about Freeganism.  While I'd heard about the movement before (people who try to scavenge as much as possible - ie. not participate in our currency-based culture), I don't think I've ever read a book that dealt with it, and it was sort of fascinating to see how Hartinger made it work for the story.

Now...I know I mentioned the trailer for Geography Club. Would you like to see it? I KNOW you would, LOL.  Here it is!!

Doesn't it look good?? I LOVE some of the casting choices and like I said, I'm dying to see Russel, Min, and Gunnar become friends originally... 

I know that I'll be reading Geography Club soon, and I wanted to offer one of you the chance to read it, too, maybe even before seeing the movie! Enter through the rafflecopter below.  Good Luck!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Full disclosure: eARC received through NetGalley at the invitation of Brent Hartinger 


  1. Looks good Miss Jessica! :-) -Miss Kim

    1. It was... now, like I said, I have to go back and read the first one! Want to see the movie, too...