~Written by Brent Hartinger
Russel is a high school junior and at times is a little insecure, but with the help of his friends Min who is a know-it-all, and Gunnar who's a bit "quirky" they forge their way through the jungle of life. Min and Gunnar are dating people they met at camp and Russel has just ended his long distance relationship with Otto. Russel has now sworn off love and Min is certain Leah is keeping secrets. Presently, Gunnar is the only one in a happy relationship with his girlfriend, Em. However, by chance, Russel, Min, and Gunnar meet a couple of "Freegans" named Wade and Venus. Russel is immediately taken by Wade and hopes Wade feels the same. The group is intrigued by the lifestyle of the Freegans and their desire to change the world. Russel begins spending a lot of time with them, Wade in particular. Gunnar, who is already documenting his life on social media, begins snapping pictures of the Freegans. Little does he know, but his snapshots will reveal a dark plan. Will Russel find true love with Wade? Will Min find out Leah's secrets? Will the group find out what the Freegans are really all about? Be sure to pick up a copy of The Elephant of Surprise and find out.
The author is an exceptional storyteller and The Elephant of Surprise easily engulfs readers with its fast paced plot and interesting story line. The story reminds readers that teenagers, no matter their gender or sexual preference, all encounter the same obstacle of discovering who they are and how they fit into society.
I have not read the other stories in the series, but the recap at the beginning made it easy for me to get up to speed and enjoy the story without feeling lost. I cannot wait to read the other books in the series.
The Elephant of Surprise is available at Amazon.com.
BRENT HARTINGER is the author of a number of novels, mostly for and about teens, including Geography Club (HarperCollins, 2003) and three sequels: The Order of the Poison Oak (HarperCollins, 2005); Double Feature: Attack of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies/Bride of the Soul-Sucking Brain Zombies (HarperCollins, 2007); and The Elephant of Surprise (2013).
His other books include The Last Chance Texaco (HarperCollins, 2004); Grand & Humble (HarperCollins, January 2006); Project Sweet Life (HarperCollins, 2008); and Shadow Walkers (Flux Books, 2011).
Mr. Hartinger's many writing honors include being named the winner of the Lambda Literary Award, the Scandiuzzi Children's Book Award, a GLAAD Media Award, and a Book Sense Pick (four times).
A feature film version of his first novel, Geography Club, will be released in 2013, starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky.
Hartinger is also the author of many award-winning screenplays and plays, including a stage adaptation of Geography Club, which has received regional productions in Tacoma, Salt Lake City, Edmonton, and elsewhere. A feature film version of his play The Starfish Scream, which has also received many regional productions (and was twice produced Off-Off Broadway in New York), is in active development for a possible 2014 release.
Hartinger is a sometime-member of the faculty at Vermont College in the MFA program in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is also the co-founder of the entertainment website AfterElton.com, which was sold to MTV/Viacom in 2006.
He lives in Seattle with his partner, writer Michael Jensen.