The Order of the Poison Oak
After "coming out" at school, sixteen-year-old Russel decides to take a counselor job at a camp for burn survivors to get away from the antagonism of his classmates, but finds that ten-year-old boys have just as many problems as he does. Book 2 in the Russel Middlebrook Series that started with Geography Club. More
Book 2 in the Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series
"Summer camp is different from high school. Something about spending the night. Things happen."
Russel Middlebrook is back, in a stand-alone sequel to the 2003 teen classic Geography Club (now a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula), and he's off to work as a summer camp counselor with his best friends Min and Gunnar. He's sick and tired of being openly gay in high school, and a peaceful summer at Camp Serenity is just what he needs to relieve the stress that comes from being an "out" teenager.
But he doesn't count on sudden new rivalries with Min and Gunnar, or having to chase after a cabin full of unruly campers. And he especially doesn't count on a fellow counselor as hunky as Web Bastion.
Things do happen at Camp Serenity, especially at night. Brent Hartinger's third novel is a story about Indian legends, skinny-dipping in moonlit coves, and the mysteries of a secret society called the Order of the Poison Oak. But more than anything, this witty page-turner is about bravery in the face of unexpected danger, the passion of a sizzling summer romance, and, most of all, the courage to be yourself.
PRAISE FOR THE ORDER OF THE POISON OAK:
“[When I finished the book], I was sniffling and my eyes were moist: It’s what’s meant by the phrase ‘being moved to tears.’…the book is beautifully written, authentic-sounding and smart….all the right traditional values are underscored: honesty, cleverness, generosity, trust.”
– Philadelphia Inquirer
“A touching and realistic portrait of gay teens. The characters are three-dimensional, and Russell narrates in a perfect teen patois that is often hilarious. Teens — gay and straight — will connect.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“Hartinger is a master at crafting a high school setting, and Russel, Min, Gunnar and all the rest are just great characters … A brave, bold book.”
“I pray I can consistently deliver books of the same high caliber as I try to follow in Brent’s footsteps. He inspired me beyond belief. His work made me believe in myself, even when I wasn’t sure I could believe in myself. For this, and for all his groundbreaking work, I, we, all of us owe a tremendous debt to Brent Hartinger, and here’s to more and more books from one of my favorite authors.”
– Perry Moore, author of Hero.
“This storyline could have easily become maudlin and sappy, but he kept it crisp and authentic … While his books are aimed primarily at a teen audience, kids of all ages will love his realistic and relatable tales of teenaged angst … Must read. (Highest Rating)”
“Hartinger [is one of the] big success stories in YA lit.”
– The Advocate
“Lest any of this sounds angst-ridden, it’s all leavened by Russel’s chatty, sometimes sarcastic, sometimes enthusiastic teen voice. He addresses the reader like one teen telling his story to another, lending the story an immediacy and sense of reality, and his observations can be funny as well as refreshingly honest.”
“The story transcends queer kid romance angst … The Order of the Poison Oak, with its easygoing emphasis on the virtue of tolerance and the value of friendship, is a well-pitched novel for teen readers — but one that will appeal to grownups with a yen for intelligent, humorous coming-of-age fiction.”
– Richard Labonte’s Book Marks
“A delight … funny, touching … With this third novel from Brent Hartinger, I can see that he is an author who is only becoming more accomplished. (Highest Rating)”
– Midwest Book Review
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