REVIEW: The Elephant of Surprise, by Brett Hartlinger

Jul 15, 2021 | 2013 Summer - What Happens Next? Pt. 2, Reviews

Review by Robyn Ochs

The Elephant of Surprise is the fourth book in Brent Hartlinger’s “Russel Middelbrook Series.” Russel, the protagonist, is a gay high school student. The two other major characters are Russel’s best friends Min, who is bi, and Gunnar, who is straight.

Another bi activist recently criticized this series because Min’s bi identity was not central to the plot. It just is, just as Gunnar’s straight identity just is. Min is dating another girl, and her bisexuality, while clearly stated early in each book as a demographic fact, is never a problem or an issue or central to a plot twist. And that is precisely what I liked about the series. If you enjoyed The Geography Club, The Order of the Poison Oak, or Split Screen, or if you just enjoy young adult literature, this new book is worth checking out.

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