A Rogue Librarian's Reading List

{September 29, 2010}   Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

****** Banned ****** Banned ****** Banned ******

Plot: Russel was convinced that he was the only gay kid in school and did his best to hide it. Then he found out that not only are there several others but that one of them is the popular baseball player he has a crush on. But it’s not that easy for high school kids from different groups hang out without drawing attention to themselves. So they decide to form a club, a club so boring that no one would ever want to join: the geography club.

This was my selection from the 2009-2010 list of most banned books which I read in celebration of Banned Book Week.

I’ve been meaning to read this novel for a while and I was not disappointed. It’s a fun, easy read though it is hardly a revolutionary plot. Coming out, first love, bullying, popularity, these are not new themes and they weren’t really handled in a new way. But Russel is a fun narrator. He’s the kind of guy I could see myself being friends with; he’s a nice, funny (slightly awkward) guy who sees the little ironies in his own story. He makes mistakes but he recognizes and learns from them. He learns to be honest with himself and with his friends and learns not to judge people too quickly. It’s all very uplifting.

As to why the book was banned? There are gay kids in it, and every now and then they kiss. There is some discussion of sex, both gay and straight, but no one actually has any, even off the page. And there is one very unpleasant girl with a drinking problem. Hardly worth all the fuss if you ask me.


[…] I ended up choosing Geography Club by Brent Hartinger which I found in my library, though in the adult section rather than the YA […]

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