Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: The Elephant of Surprise, by Brent Hartinger

Even though I haven't read the first three books in the series, The Elephant of Surprise was an entertaining story about some realistic teens.

At the beginning of The Elephant of Surprise Hartinger gives the reader a quick summary of the characters and what happened to them, relationship-wise, in the first three books. This made it very easy for me to jump right in to the story with some understanding.

Russel is the narrator, and he's having relationship trouble which is understandable, given that his boyfriend lives 800 miles away.  Min and Gunner are Russel's best friends, and Min is worried that her girlfriend is hiding something.

These three meet Wade dumpster diving outside the school and discover a whole new organization of people called "freegans" who are people that live off what others throw away. Russel becomes enamored with this group, and especially Wade, who is very hot and is flirting with Russel.

The trio finds out that some things aren't what they seem, and they have some adventures to keep the plot moving. Let me just say that I don't like books that are "about" being gay. I've read books before that are LGBT romances and nothing else. They are boring. If the story was about a heterosexual relationship, no one would read it, and the fact that the two people in love are the same sex just isn't enough to make it exciting. The Elephant of Surprise isn't like this. Of course, these teens (whether LGBT or not) are always thinking about their relationships -- it's a hormone thing -- but there are other aspects to the plot that add to the romance and make it a real story with substance.

 I could relate to the teens in The Elephant of Surprise. They have their struggles and insecurities. They do stupid and sometimes dangerous things. And they are always learning and growing. The title, The Elephant of Surprise, refers to a combination of "The Element of Surprise" and "The Elephant in the Room." The kids come up with this phrase to describe the things that happen that are totally unexpected and kind of throw you for a loop. Several of these things happen in The Elephant of Surprise.

The Elephant of Surprise is short and easy to read. I would recommend it to my teens who are interested in a light contemporary with some humor, romance, and a little danger.

Published by Buddha Kitty Books, January 10, 2013
eARC obtained from the author
226 pages, qualifies for my Books You Can Read in a Day Challenge!

Rating: 4/5

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  1. That's nice that you were able to pick this book up in the middle of the series. I feel like there are so many books out there that you have to read the entire series to know what's going on.

  2. Really good review. I'd love to read this one.

  3. This sounds like an interesting read, not one I'd normally pick up. Glad it has a nice balance of romance and substance. I'd never heard of this series before, but it's very encouraging that you could start it with this book and not be lost. Sometimes when I see a great review for a later book in a series, I have to sigh and move on, because I don't have time to catch up, but here it sounds like I could just dive in. Great review, Annette!


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