PUBLISHERS WEEKLY Review of ELEPHANT OF SURPRISE: “Teens Will Continue to Enjoy Russel’s Ever-Humorous Narration”

THE ELEPHANT OF SURPRISE reviewed in Publishers Weekly Select, 4/22/13:

Brent Hartinger, Buddha Kitty Books, $12.99 paper (226p) ISBN: 978-0-9846794-5-4

Funny, openly gay high school junior Russel Middlebrook — the star of Hartinger’s Geography Club and two sequels — finds the adventure he is looking for when he falls for an anti-consumerist freegan who pops out of the school Dumpster. Through Wade, Russel is exposed to new experiences (like eating roadkill) and challenging ideas (“When you don’t spend your whole life looking at a television or a computer, you can’t help but take a good look at the world”). But just as their relationship turns romantic, Russel’s friend Gunnar suspects that Wade and his freegan friends may be taking their beliefs to a dangerous extreme. This is an unusual storyline, but, like Russel, readers may find themselves intrigued by Wade’s lifestyle and beliefs. Secondary plot lines (including one about Russel’s possible reconciliation with his first love, Kevin) support the core drama, and teens will continue to enjoy Russel’s ever-humorous narration. After eating barbecued raccoon with Wade, Russel says, “If it doesn’t sound romantic, you’ll just have to take my word for it, because it totally, TOTALLY was.”

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