Thursday, June 11, 2009

Finished: "The Order of the Poison Oak" by Brent Hartinger

Finished: The Order of the Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger, 2005, 97800600567317.

Another book complained about in West Bend. Sequel to Geography Club. Russ has had a crappy year at high school after becoming known as the "gay student". Russ has felt like an outcast - heck, he has been an outcast - all Spring and jumps at the chance to join his best pals, Gunnar and Min, to be a camp counselor and stop being the "gay kid" to everyone.

The three head up for their orientation and meet the other counselors. Russ instantly sports wood for one of the dudes, Web. But, the highly competitive Min zeros onto Web and swoops in before Russ. Meanwhile, nerdy Gunnar has given up on chicks after trying for naught for so long.

The first kids at the camp show up a few days later. All the kids are either burn survivors or kids with other disfiguring injuries. Russ has trouble being tough with the kids. He is expecting the kind, reserved and angelic movie version of injured kids. His lack of authority makes the kids ignore him and misbehave. Russ slowly gets control and in a late night ceremony enrolls the kid's into Russ's invention, The Order of the Poison Oak. The Order is for kids who have been outcast but who now have the hard, scarred skin that allows them to withstand the abuse of others.

Anyway. Web tells Russ he isn't dating Min and the two dudes tongue wrestle. Web is a lying bi-sexual dude and Min gets way upset. Russ hooks up with other counselor dude. Everyone else figures out Russ is gay. Gunnar hooks up with equally nerdy broad. Russ saves a couple of his kids from a forest fire with the help of Gunnar and Min. Neat storyline about the burn survivors and Russ getting to know them.

Russ learns lessons. Russ sticks to his safe sex resolve. Russ is self-deprecating. Russ is foolish at times. Russ has both friends really angry at him. Russ does do more than swap spit but never says exactly what he does. Hartinger uses awful similes, "glaring at him like a disgruntled store detective." (page 158).

A good YA book.

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