- 12 and up
From the Publisher
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.
Later this year, a feature film version of Geography Club will be released, co-starring Scott Bakula, Nikki Blonsky, Ana Gasteyer, and a host of up-and-coming young actors. Even in 2013, it will still be one of the few American movies ever made on a major budget that includes gay and bisexual characters in the leading roles.
With the forthcoming release of the movie, and on the ten-year anniversary of the publication of Geography Club, Hartinger has returned to the characters of his first publishing success: a book that was not only frequently challenged and banned, but was also an unexpected hit with readers, becoming one of the first titles to hint at the exploding popularity of the genre of gay teen lit (and also predicting the "unexpected" success of gay teen television shows like Glee almost ten years later).
But Russel's story didn't end with Geography Club.
In The Elephant of Surprise, 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?
The Elephant of Surprise includes Hartinger's trademark combination of humor and romance, angst and optimism. Before the story is 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.