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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Review: Poison Oak by Brent Hartinger

The Order of the Poison Oak (Russel Middlebrook, #2) by Brent Hartinger
169 pages, Kindle Edition
Finished on 4/4/2013
Genres: Young Adult, GLBT, Realistic Fiction, Romance
Goodreads page

Motivation to Read It: Loved the first book of the series, and was excited to get to the second.

Review: It took me a while to get through the second Russel Middlebrook novel because of my busy-ness. It was even funnier than the first, and the new setting fit wonderfully into the plot of the story.

Russel, Gunnar, and Min are finally out of school and go to volunteer as counselors at a summer camp. Almost all of the story takes place during the first session of kids, which is where all the "fun" happens. The first group is special: they're burn survivors, and have come to camp to get away from all their "misfit problems" at home. And, of course, the group of kids affects the main guy the most.

The plot was great, just as I expected (or was hoping for, because anything can happen I suppose). Russel was really having the worse time of his life. There was constantly something going on with him that was giving him trouble. The plot seemed as if it was fast-paced and the days were flying by, but that surprisingly wasn't the reality. As I said earlier almost the entire novel takes place during the first (two-week?) session. However, I think this is a great thing because that means the book had lots of action, I guess you could say.

The characters in Poison Oak, especially the burn survivors and the role they played, were fabulous (or magnificent since the ones with Russel were guys; "fabulous" might be too girly for them). But anyhow, I really liked how Russel tried to get on and stay on his kids' good side. Because he knew how it felt to be a social outcast, he didn't want them to feel like one or to even feel uncomfortable while they were at the camp. Ian was one of my favorite characters, I think. He was the leader of all the ruckus Russel had to deal with, but like the other burn survivors he had a scary past and he wanted to fit in. And he was very stubborn at some points, particularly when it came to acknowledging that Russel was running the show and not him.

Overall, I really liked this book. I'm excited to get to the third novel already! Look out for my review of Double Feature within the next week or so!

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