Totally Joe (James Howe)

"Being who you are isn't a choice."

When Joe Bunch, a 13-year-old boy desperate to be out of the closet, was originally assigned to do an "alphabiography" for English class, he thought it was a lame idea; the last thing he expected to come out of it was a rewarding exploration of himself and the world around him.

This novel, a companion to the original book "The Misfits," deals with subjects such as bullying, homophobia and the daily life of not only gay youth, but young adults in general. The protagonist, though not exactly the epitome of an "average" seventh-grader, still has the fears, flaws and yearnings everyone can relate to, at least a little bit. It's a short and sweet read that, though it's rather optimistic and comedic, has its touching, and its understandable (but not overwhelming) sad parts.

Written in a clever, alphabetical format that still is pleasurable reading, "Totally Joe" is a nice read with great morals, for readers no matter what their sexual orientation. Ages 10 and up.

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