Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Totally Joe

Totally Joe by James Howe

Joe Bunch's English teacher has assigned the class to write an "alphabiography": an alphabetical review of their lives. Joe's alphabet begins with his friend Addie, who knew him when he was a little kid and they both liked to play with Barbie dolls. His story continues on towards Colin, the boy he has had a crush on since fifth grade, and finally ends with Zachary, the new boy in school who has much in common with Joe.

During the course of the school year as Joe writes his alphabiography, he faces a lot of realities about his life. He has always known that he was different from "guy-guys" but finally is able to use the word "gay" to himself--and his mostly-supportive family. Not everyone is supportive, however: the school jock torments Joe and spreads the false rumor that Colin and Joe have been kissing, which is hurtful to Joe...and devastating to Colin, who is not ready to come out of the closet.

Joe's voice is unique and strong as he relates the story of his 7th grade year. Any reader who has ever felt different from the rest of the crowd will find a friend in Joe, and those who loved his earlier adventures in The Misfits will be happy to see him again.

Recommended for ages 12 and up.

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