• The Elephant of Surprise

  • The Russel Middlebrook Series
  • By: Brent Hartinger
  • Narrated by: Josh Hurley
  • Length: 5 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (159 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Book 4 in the Lambda Award-winning Russel Middlebrook Series!

People aren't always what they seem to be. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves. So discovers seventeen-year-old Russel Middlebrook in The Elephant of Surprise, a stand-alone sequel to Brent Hartinger's landmark 2003 gay young adult novel Geography Club (which has now been adapted as a feature film co-starring Scott Bakula and Nikki Blonsky). In this latest audiobook, Russel and his friends Min and Gunnar are laughing about something they call the Elephant of Surprise - the tendency for life to never turn out as expected. Sure enough, Russel soon happens upon a hot but mysterious homeless activist named Wade, even as he's drawn back to an old flame named Kevin.

Meanwhile, Min is learning surprising things about her girlfriend Leah, and Gunnar just wants to be left alone to pursue his latest technology obsession. But the elephant is definitely on the move in all three of their lives. Just who is Wade and what are he and his friends planning? What is Leah hiding? And why is Gunnar taking naked pictures of Kevin in the shower?

The Elephant of Surprise includes Hartinger's trademark combination of humor and romance, angst and optimism. Before the story is over, Russel and his friends will learn that the Elephant of Surprise really does appear when you least expect him - and that when he stomps on you, it really, really hurts.

©2013 Brent Hartinger (P)2013 Audible Inc.

What listeners say about The Elephant of Surprise

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Please write about their senior year one day!

Such a great ending. We've all grown up with Russel. It's hard to let him go. What a great character.

3 people found this helpful

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Amazing!!

Amazing story! I hope there will be more! Kevin and Russell deserve happiness, even if it arrived a little too late lol

2 people found this helpful

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Meh

If I am being really honest, this is my least favorite Russell Middlebrook book. While I was happy to return to the only Russel perspective, this one didn’t have as much punch as the other ones dead. I wasn’t too crazy about Russell falling in love with a homeless kid who ate out of dumpsters and what not.

Also, why can’t Russell be with a good guy like Otto but he lives nearby? All these recent boys tricking him and making him feel bad.

Overall this installment was OK. Hoping the next one is better.

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Great stories!

I really enjoy The series, as well as the others that I’ve listened to! I want to follow Russell Middlebrook through his entire life, lol.

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such a great series truly one of the best.

loved every minute of this book such a greeat writer. Its truly a mesmerizing book and such a great love story.

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Alot of fun

Narrator is excellent. He makes the lead character, Russell, come alive. Russell's running narration is sweat, witty, insightful & occasionally overly dramatic (but in a hilarious way). I recommend this and all the Russell Middlebrook series

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  • richard
  • 12-13-21

it's very simple, I love it.

Beautifully narrated, believable and utterly charming, funny and heartbreaking, I have the whole series, I don't want them to end

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  • Wide Eyes, Big Ears!
  • 04-28-22

Satisfying ending to Russel’s excellent 1st series

Russel, Min and Gunnar are back for their final teen story. Min is concerned about Leah’s remoteness, Gunnar is busy documenting EVERY aspect of his life, and Russel feels he’s in a rut with Otto. Things are shaken up when they meet Wade and Venus, a couple of freegans who introduce them to new ways of thinking and Russel takes a shine to Wade. I enjoyed spending more time with the gang but this started to feel like a YA version of the Goonies (no spoilers) - the adventuring was a little OTT. I think the strength of this series is its focus on Russel figuring himself out, when he makes mistakes and learns from them, when he shows he’s human, and I love the Futon Years series and the Otto Digmore series for carrying on that tradition. These are characters I hold very fond feelings for and that’s due to the excellent writing. I hadn’t come across audio narrator Josh Hurley before these series about Russel. I average an audiobook a day and I think Josh is one of the best narrator I’ve come across. He’s a revelation.