The Elephant of Surprise Russel Middlebrook #4 Epub ↠ eBook

Book 4 in the Lambda Award winning Russel Middlebrook SeriesPeople aren't always what they seem to be Sometimes we even surprise ourselvesSo discovers seventeen year old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise a stand alone seuel 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 BlonskyIn 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 obsessionBut 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

10 thoughts on “The Elephant of Surprise Russel Middlebrook #4

  1. says:

    45 stars rounded upThis is the fourth book in the Russel Middlebrook YA series If you haven't yet read the award winning first book Geography Club you should start there The characters learn and grow throughout the series That book will introduce you to Russel and to his wide eyed fun and engaging narrative voice Russel is a young man learning how to navigate the world trying to fit his desires his curiosity and his good intentions alongside his worries mistakes and tendency to be over imaginative The teen voice feels authentic and I've enjoyed the whole seriesIn this book Russel and his friends come to grips with the Elephant of Surprise the way things are so often not what they seem and how sometimes finding out the truth stomps you flat But then other times it can lift you to ride above the crowd His straight uirky friend Gunnar and bi best friend Min are familiar and well loved characters who add depth humor and plot twists to this storyRussel and his friends meet up with a group of freegans social activists who try to live lightly on the planet by using things that otherwise would be wasted or thrown away living by scavenging gathering and borrowing One of them is Wade a good looking guy who seems taken by Russel But what's the truth behind Wade? And is freeganism a way to save the world from our horribly wasteful modern ways or just a uirky cult that has a few good ideas among the rest of the dross?Min is in a relationship but her girlfriend is acting strangly Imagination or is something going on?Gunnar is chronicling his day to day life by the minute Will this be just boring or will evidence of every moment reveal important secrets? Or inconvenient and private ones? I enjoyed this chapter in the life of Russel and his friends There were twists I didn't see coming any better than the main characters A stomp or two from the Elephant of Surprise But the tone is generally upbeat despite some of the things Russel and his friends have to face His forward looking optimism and clean narrative voice make this book a fun read This is the opposite of wallowing in overdone YA angst it slides through the muddy waters of life up in the sunshine and even when someone's heart is bruised there is room for a better tomorrow I like that

  2. says:

    AudibleWhat a disappointment The last book in the series is the weakest for me I think I'm at least 50 years too old for this kind of fiction Even if I'd get into minus range I only managed to finish it because I listened to it

  3. says:

    Review posted at Swept Away By Romance45 StarsRussel Middlebrook and his two best friends Min and Gunnar are high school students The three are inseparable and they each bring something uniue to their relationship They support one another no matter whateven when it's a really bad idea When change comes to each of their lives good or bad the three band together They've taken to referring to life's tendency to NEVER turn out as expected as the Elephant of Surprise and that elephant is on the move Russel who is openly gay meets a hot activist named Wade who is than a little mysterious At the same time he continues to be drawn to his ex boyfriend Kevin Min a bisexual is uestioning her relationship with her girlfriend based on some sketchy behavior And Gunnar? Well Gunnar simply wants peace uiet and the opportunity to pursue his online documentation of everyday lifeas he sees it That and spend time with his girlfriend Remember that Elephant of Surprise? Well he just may be in a full out stampedeBrent Hartinger has written a simple wonderful story with The Elephant of Surprise This is book number four in the Russel Middlebrook series but I was easily able to come in and start reading without feeling like I was missing anything Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are such relatable characters and they're a lot of fun to read about It's funny because I've personally known people very similar to each of these characters Then again maybe it's not such a coincidence Maybe it's intentional When we're able to relate we soak in the details of the story much easily This in turn allows us to readily grasp the point the meaning the purpose within the story Ah it's coming together now ; The author uses a sense of humor to make this story as accessible and reader friendly as possible I love this Oftentimes particularly lately stories in the Young Adult genre are riddled with drama and teenage angst Some of them overly so This was a lovely change of pace for me as I suspect it will be for all those who read it There are without a doubt poignant moments in this book I'm thinking of a particular scene between Russel and his ex boyfriend Kevin However underlying it all is this wonderful sense of youthful humor The Elephant of Surprise will NOT rip out your heart and stomp all over it Frankly my favorite thing about this book about Russel and his friends is that being gay or bisexual or even a nerdy tech guy does not stop them from living their lives They're normal kids They have the same everyday problems as any other teenager But mostly they're each happy with who they are deep down where it really counts That's exactly as it should be That is exactly the way I want our youth in this country in every country to feel about themselves We ALL have things that make us a little different make us stand outALL OF US But if each of us could be so comfortable in our own skins our own lives and look at life with a sense of humor and a kind accepting heartI have to think we would save A LOT of kids That's a goal worth fighting forARC provided by the author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

  4. says:

    I had really really high hopes for this one To steal a thought from it I wanted it to validate my existence by being awesome and making sticking with the series worth it Instead it invalidated books 2 and 3 for meReading this book was very much like being kicked back to book 2 The Order of the Poison Oak only without the cool burn survivor kids that tugged at your heart strings When the story line with Wade showed up I let out a groan and just had this sinking feeling it was going to be a Web situation see book 2 At this point I have given up caring who Russel ends up with because he sure as hell has no idea what he wants and he’s likely to fall in and out of love with anyone at any timeAnd then there’s Kevin Land I was a big Kevin fan in book 1 even when he was a complete jerk I liked him so much that I found the way things ended downright depressing Book 2 featured no Kevin at all Book 3 brought back Kevin but a much changed one from what we saw in book 1 even if he still had the ability to distract Russel from absolutely everything in life The Elephant of Surprise’s Kevin is the most disappointing Kevin of them all He went from being an interesting guy to being too nice Too willing to sacrifice everything I just didn’t root for him anyThere is one upside to this book Gunnar I am actually surprised by how much I’ve come to like him in the last two books He’s had an amazing character arc going from what I consider the worst friend in the world to being the only character I didn’t want to kick in the buttI didn’t hate this book as with the other books in the series it reads easy and fast and is amusing in places I just didn’t love it either Perhaps this series would have worked better for me if I had monthsyears between each book to dull my expectations but I read it pretty much back to back I don’t know if there are any books planned or if this wraps the series up but I am personally walking away now

  5. says:

    The freeganism movement explained was interesting butSPOILERSI was disappointed on several accounts Mostly the lack of character developmentrelationships in this I don't read the series to learn about freeganism I read them because I like Russel and his friends and I want to see what happens in their lives Also several other reviewers mentioned that Wade the character explaining freeganism sometimes feels too preachy I wanted to know about Kevin was he taking those hamburgers to the homeless? Tell me about his friendship with Brian Bund his helping autistic kids his devotion to Russel don't just throw these things out there and never get around to addressing them When Russel and Kevin do get back together the chapter was too brief and felt rushed I had been a fan of Kevin since book one even though The Elephant of Surprise could be read as a stand alone I had read them all and was invested in the characters After breaking into Leah's house the confrontationbreak up between Leah and Min was barely a blimp in the book I wanted to know why Leah was planning a birthday party for Min while cheating I wanted to hear from Em and Gunnar and I was disappointed Otto got so little focus I really only bought the book to see who Russel ended up with and the reunion was not worth wading through 200 pages of Wade

  6. says:

    The Elephant of Surprise has been long anticipated by impatient Brent Hartinger fans and many of us are adults who are generally fans of YA novels Do we hope to recapture our own teen years why would one ever want to do that?; or is it simply that one never forgets one's teen experiences whether good or bad no matter how much of life we have lived since? Whatever the reason for our ongoing interest in YA novels Brent Hartinger never lets us downRussel Middlebrook is beginning to fully understand what he and his friends jokingly refer to as the elephant of surprise the twists and turns that life throws at you causing both happiness and pain but also offering you adventure and excitement For all the interaction with the freegans whose hidden world becomes a centerpiece of the book's action the real narrative purpose of Hartinger's latest is to continue exploring the three L's of teen experience Life as they are learning to live it; Love as they are struggling to understand it; and loyalty as they test its boundaries and strengths The new characters of Wade and Venus; as well as the long standing figures of Kevin Russel's ex and Otto Russel's current BF each bring a different perspective to the straightforward complications of high schoolHartinger's voice is refreshingly crisp and bright In a field full of endangered teens suffering terribly Hartinger's characters know pain but it is the typical pain of teen life Russel Middlebrook and his best friends Gunnar and Min are vivid and clearly drawn They are good kids and intelligent; but they make stupid choices and think in remarkably illogical ways Because endearingly all of these kids are just that still kids They still see life from that wide eyed perspective of youth all the while confident of their own wisdom and adorably clueless as to their own complete lack of adult experience And that's the point adult experience would hamper them and it is the freedom of ignorance and hope that lets them grow and learn through their adventuresOf course it is hugely important to me and to many teen readers that Russel is gay So few YA novelists take the gay teen to heart and Russel is a heroic figure simply because he is so normal He has dealt with coming out but still hasn't uite figured out love On the other hand he is fully committed to his friends and still yearns for life to be exciting than it is Hartinger's teens don't really relate to adults at all they relate to each other and to the reader So you have to read his books as a teenager whether you are or not since that's how you'll best appreciate its pleasures

  7. says:

    Insightful and WittyThis book is a continuation of Russel Gunnar and Min's story At first I really don't get the title The Elephant of Surprise? I thought it was Element of surprise Now that I know I can't stop laughingThis book is about that The Elephant of Surprises in our lives That you may or may not believe in fate it can be a btch sometimesAnd Russel is tempting it Soon after saying he is done with love he find himself having feelings for Wade the mysterious activist guy Remember when I said this book is insightful? That is the part were Wade come into the picture Min was having trouble in paradise so she drew the friendship card which in turn Russel drew to Gunnar to find out about Kevin And Gunnar? He is busy documenting his life which became really really importantWhere can you buy that friendship card so I can use it too? Anyways this book is really different the other books And I think it is good because the author's work won't feel like it is being repeatedchokengtitiktitikchokengs Russel Kevin fans don't lose hope

  8. says:

    Who says YA books are just for young adults? Brent Hartinger proves adults can like them too I've read all four books in the Russel Middlebrook series and loved them all Brent's characters become your friends and his stories hold your interest The series is one of those where you're sad when you get to the last page in book four because you want to keep reading about these characters I wouldn't want to be in high school again but visiting there with Russel Min Gunnar and the rest was a lot of fun Brent Hartinger knows how to write Don't just buy one book in this series Go ahead and buy them all You'll be hooked

  9. says:

    I've been a fan of Brent Hartinger since THE GEOGRAPHY CLUB which I'm delighted to hear is going to be a movie yayHis characters are fascinating fun and realistic As for the theme of this book surprises there are a lot of them in this story While Russell deals with issues of dating heartbreak and love he finds himself drawn into a group of teen freegans shocked at this very different side of life where scavenging for food roadkill and wild weeds are everyday meals When things get dangerous Russell discovers new strengths in himself and his friendsA WONDERFUL book about alternate lifestyles and teen romance Don't miss it

  10. says:

    Russel wants adventure and boy does he get it And not only because of romantic reasons he and his friends meet a group of freegans no I didn't know either and the story plays out in unexpected ways The strength of Brent Hartinger's series is that Russel and his friends do not exclusively mope about romantic dramas and issues that they do to a high enough level to maintain interest on that score but they experience other things to show that life even teenage life is not merely a set of romantic trysts and tribulations Lovely uite a privilege to zip through the series in slightly than a week despite heaps of schoolwork to mark prepare and process Now the seuel series awaits Jy moet soms oppas waarvoor jy wens Russel kry emmersvol avontuur as antwoord op sy versugting Hy en sy vriende ontmoet 'n groep freegans nee ek het self nog nooit van hierdie beweging gehoor nie Maar dis juis die krag van Brent Hartinger se reeks hoewel die tieners die landskap van die liefde deeglik ondersoek en beleef gebeur daar veel meer met hulle Dit was 'n voorreg om te midde van stapels nasienwerk en ander skoolvoorbereiding deur die eerste Russel reeks te blits in omtrent 8 dae Nou vir die opvolgreeks