Totally Joe by James Howe

18 Sep

Bibliography: Howe, James. Totally Joe. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2005. 189 pages. Tr. $15.34, ISBN 978-0-689-83957-3

Plot: Joe Bunch is not your average Joe. Joe is twelve years old and gay and proud of it, he does not care who knows. When his English teacher, Mr. Daly, assigns the whole class to write an alphabiography, Joe goes all out. Joe takes us through his life and everything meaningful to him starting with letter A, for Addie, his best and oldest friend and ending with letter Z, for Zachary, his newest friend.  Throughout his 7th grade year, Joe experiences his first crush and boyfriend, Collin. However, Collin is not as open about his being gay as Joe is and does not want anybody else to know. This puts Joe in a difficult situation and he has to decide if keeping their relationship a secret is worth the trouble.

Review: Totally Joe is written through the perspective of Joe Bunch, a gay twelve year old and he may not be popular, but he who is proud of who he is and so are his closest friends and family. The whole story is an alphabiography written by Joe, so each new chapter is the next letter in the alphabet. Joe is witty, fun and full of life; his personality really brings the book to life. Joe is so infectious, by the end of the book you will want to be his friend too. This book is great for helping tweens and young teens who are struggling with their sexuality. It will show them that it is okay to be gay, bi, or straight and they will still be accepted by society.

Genre: GLBT

Reading Level/Interest Level: 4.8/5-8 graders

Similar Materials: Gemini Bites by Patrick Ryan, Boyfriends with Girlfriends, Rainbow High, and Rainbow Boys by Alex Sanchez

Reader’s Advisory: This book discusses issues of homosexuality, but I think it is done in such a way that it would be hard to be controversial. Joe is such a likable character that I found myself wanting to be his friend. This book was so fun I finished it in one night.

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Posted by on September 18, 2011 in LIBR 264-10 Digital Record


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