quotes Elisquared likes

"Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."— John Green


The Order of the Poison Oak (Review)

TitleThe Order of the Poison Oak
Author(s)Brent Hartinger
Edition: Paperback, 211 pages
Publisher: HarperTempest
Publication Date: February 1, 2006
Source: Borrowed from library

The Summary
Summer camp is different from high school. Something about spending the night. Things happen.

Geography Club's Russel Middlebrook is back, and he and his friends are off to work as counselors at a summer camp. Brent Hartinger's second novel in the series is the story of Indian legends, skinny-dipping in moonlit coves, and passionate summer romance. It's also the story of Russel's latest club, the Order of the Poison Oak, a secret society dedicated to helping its members see life's hidden beauty and accept its sometimes painful sting.
My Opinion
The Order of the Poison Oak is the second book in the Russel Middlebrook series by Brent Harbringer, and it takes place the summer after Russel starts "Geography Club" and comes out to his school as gay. You can imagine that he may want to get away for awhile. Luckily his best friend Gunner goes to volunteer at a summer camp and he convinces Russel, and their other friend Min, to tag along. Little do they realize that this is a camp for burn victims, and they're whole perspective on life changes.

As with all of Brent Harbringer books, characters are what drive the story. Told from Russel's point of view, we follow the events of the summer through his eyes. What I like most about Harbringer's characters are the authenticity they have. Russel, Min, and Gunner all bring a different aspect to the experience their in and the relationships that develop. Russel is such an interesting character to follow, as he is still trying to come to terms with his sexuality when it comes to others. Being a teenager is confusing enough, but having to deal with thae added baggage society puts on you if you're gay is so much more.

There's some fights that Russel, Min, and Gunner have to go through over the course of camp which threaten their friendship. But I think, just like any other great friendship, they come out stronger on the other side because of the fights. Creating strong personal confidence and a strong relationship, this particular threesome is an example of the awesome characterization that is my book crack.

Another great aspect to this story is the juxtaposition that Hartinger adds in the relationship between Russel and his campers. Both belong to groups that are often ostracized for their differences. By placing them in this neutral camp environment, they become equals and are isolated from the outside world. I think this allows personal growth, which strengthens each character to be able to face the outside world with more courage. Hartinger does this so well that the reader often forgets that the camp is a camp for burn victims, as it should be considering the campers are people, not victims.

As with Geography Club, I really liked The Order of the Poison Oak. It has a strong message, and two great GLBT characters in the form of Russel and Min. A great addition to any collection, and a great read for the summer!

Other Covers
(I don't know which I like the best...)

Final Rating
Book Cover: 4/5
Book Title: 4/5
Plot: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Writing: 9/10
Ending: 8/10
Overall: 42/50: B

1 comment:

  1. I had no ides Geography Club is part of a series. Thanks! Great review.


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