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Buddha Boy

3.57 of 5 stars 3.57  ·  rating details  ·  602 ratings  ·  107 reviews
How to survive being good
Like a flashback memory, he's there in my mind: skimming up the stairs at school, his sloppy old T-shirt big as a sail, red tie-dyed dragon T-shirt, who wears stuff like that? No one. Jinsen.
The kids at Edward Rucher High School call Jinsen "Buddha Boy" and condemn him as a freak. With his shaved head and perpetual smile, Jinsen certainly doesn't
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Hardcover, 128 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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Chloe I think the protagonist would be Justin because he is the narrator of the entire story. I think the antagonist would be McManus because he is harming…moreI think the protagonist would be Justin because he is the narrator of the entire story. I think the antagonist would be McManus because he is harming Jinsen and Justin both. Hope this helps! (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 995)
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Alex
This book was a random recommendation while I was book shopping and the title was quirky enough to catch my interest. It was worth it.

I think on audio it was 2/2.5 hours. I could have read it in 1, I'm sure. The story is fairly simple, the setting familiar. A boy (sophomore, I believe) in high school is just trying to keep his head down and not be noticed (in the bad way) by the popular kids. He's doing pretty good, has his friends and is happy. Then he meets Buddha Boy.

Through chance, and a lit
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David Mejia
I would pour gasoline and set myself on fire if I ever have to recommend this book. Preachy, whiny, and long winded plot, characters were boring and unrealistic, nothing stood out. It felt as if it was a brochure advocating Buddhism. I have nothing against Buddhism but it really felt as if it was forced down my throat only to be regurgitated at the end. Boring read. Do not recommend
Madeleine
This is a good example of when an author tries to be poetic but fails miserably. What was supposed to be lyrical ends up being dry and boring. Putting language aside, the plot was SO typical of anti-bullying stories that I could and did predict what would happen (I was right). A fairly popular boy meets another boy who is different because of religion, dress etc. They end up working on a project together and the different and bullied boy ends up being really talented and having great insight int ...more
Dan Curley
This was a predictably boring book to say the least. This book is based of off the same formula for a summer reading book. Kid is bullied for being different, other semi-popular kid pities him, semi-popular kid discovers the different kid has a hidden talent, they become friends as out casts together. And not to mention the characters. Different talented kid, semi-popular sympathetic kid, his jerk friend, his sympathetic other friend, the popular bully, and last an authority figure to help the n ...more
Owen
What I like about Kathe Koja is that in her writing, she doesn't try way too hard. I'm not saying she doesn't put effort into writing a good book, but in so many more modern YA books the authors try to make their characters and plot so jaw dropping and full to the brim of surprise and literary gold. Most of the time, these books aren't so great, which is why I like Kathe Koja because her writing is a lot more nonchalant.

I first read Buddha Boy about five years ago maybe (it was published in 2003
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thebaronessofbooks
If I had to sum up what Buddha Boy is about I'd say both bullying and religious tolerance. Which I think are two things that go hand in hand, since many children and teens who have different beliefs than their peers do tend to be harassed and bullied for it. And are two things that need to be taught more in both the schools and by adults.

Jinsin is the Buddha Boy in question, spending his lunch hour begging for food or spare change. The protagonist of the book, Justin, is wary about befriending
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Shawn Crown
While reading Buddha boy you get to see a type of culture a boy portrays that is very unique. Usually when someone new comes to a school, the first couple days is very scary. The person tries to fit in with everybody with the best of their abilities. Once he comes to the school the people think he is very unusual and not normal. So right off the bat people are starting to judge him. An average kid would care about the other kids opinions, but Buddha Boy isn't a regular kid. That is one of the ma ...more
English Education
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Shawn Thrasher
A friend convinced me to keep reading, and I'm glad I did. These high school bully stories always bother me though, they hit too close to the heart.
Missy
The Basics

A boy named Jinsen is the new kid at school, and he’s instantly singled out for his shaved head and tie-dyed dragon shirts. They call him “Buddha Boy”, and with his calm demeanor and tendency to turn the other cheek, he seems to fit the description. When Justin, our narrator, is paired up with him for a class, he has to decide if he wants to be Jinsen’s friend and become a target or if he’d rather take the easy road.

My Thoughts

This book sounds like it should be glurge. If you don’t kno
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Johanna
***READ FOR AUTHOR PRESENTATION***
This is the story of a cool young high school boy, Justin, whose life is interrupted by the arrival of a new student, Jinsen. Jinsen is very different, and Justin is embarrassed about being partnered with him for their project for art class. While working on the art project, Justin begins to see Jinsen for who he really is and, with the support of his artist father, goes on to defend Jinsen from the school bullies. Through art, Justin comes to learn powerful les
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Richie Partington
6 November 2002 BUDDHA BOY by Kathe Koja, FSG/Frances Foster Books, March 2003

"That's right: You can't play tug of war with someone who refuses to hold the other end of the rope."

That's how a friend of mine characterized what I was excitedly telling her about BUDDHA BOY, the superb new book by Kathe Koja. It was a foggy early morning on campus--I'd just come from voting--and I was explaining how, in contrast to the many stories where the bullies/jocks/student "leaders" had the satisfaction of se
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Handan
Summary
Justin muddles through high school, being tolerated and clinging to his two friends, neither rising to the height of popularity nor sinking to the depth of school punching bag. Until Michael Marvin, aka Jinsen, arrives with his shaved head and baggy clothes and blithe, honest approach. They connect over art, namely that Justin's dad is an artist and Justin appreciates art and that Jinsen is truly an artist. However, Jinsen has become the most popular target at Edward Rucher High School, a
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Robert Beveridge
Kathe Koja, Buddha Boy (Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2003)

I got to the point about eight years ago where I finally gave in to the temptation to predict an author. After the back-to-back triumphs that were Skin and Strange Angels, I figured that from here on out, anything Kathe Koja would release would be brilliant, and every book she released would find its way onto my top ten for whatever year in which I read it.

Then she started writing kidlit. I approached Straydog with some trepidation, but i
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James
In the book Buddha Boy the main character faces peer pressure when a new kid comes to his school. The new kid's name is Jinsen but the main character continuasly calls him Buddha Boy most likely via the title of the book. Everyone except for the main character seperates Jinsen from them because the way he acts is different because his religion. Even a girl in his school who thinks everyone is equal starts to contradicts what she believes and becomes sort of a hipercrite in my mind. Jinsen's gift ...more
Chris00
In Buddha Boy , by Kathe Koja is about a boy named Jinsen aka Buddha Boy. Other kids at the school consider him a freak. When he begs for lunch money it doesn't help the matter of people liking him. A boy named Justin is paired up with Jinsen for a class project, Justin plans to get this over with as soon as possible. But then Justin finds out about all of Jinsens artistic talent and Justin becomes curious about Buddha Boys beliefs. Justin is then forced into a cruel contest with the jocks who w ...more
Lawral
Nov 27, 2010 Lawral marked it as read-but-unowned  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, middle-grade
Buddha Boy has that feeling of hurtling towards disaster running along in the background of the whole thing. In the forefront, however, there is a great story about Jinsen and Justin. Jinsen seems not to care what anyone thinks of or does to him. Good thing, too, since he dresses, looks and acts odd, none of which gets him a bunch of friends. He practically invites kids to bully him when he starts to beg for lunch money in the cafeteria. Most of the kids do just that, either actively by throwing ...more
Jonathan
This is a good book if you want to read about high school troubles because that is basically what the book is about. It is fun to read to me because it is simple to compare with the real world. This book had a lot of meaning but it was packed in a short book. To me it was a good book since it is easier to understand if u know where the characters going to do because u might have went through this before and it might suprise you where he'll end up. The main characters name is Justin and his life ...more
Rossana Snee
This was a short, yet gem of a book. This is the story of Jinsen, considered an outcast by most of his high school. He is asked by his teacher to join Justin for a project. At first Justin is trying to figure out a way to stay away from this boy nicknamed Buddah Boy, but after working with him discovers that Jinsen is an amazing person and not who everyone thinks his is. I loved this book and would most definitely recommend it!
Heather
The story of Buddha Boy is told in first person from the point of view of teenage boy, Justin. Through him we are introduced to Jinsen, the character who others disparagingly refer to as Buddha Boy. Jinsen's physical appearance (he has a shaved head and wears oversized t-shirt in freezing weather) and behavior (he begs for money during the lunch period) make him stand out from the other students which makes him an easy target for bullying. Justin slowly befriends Jinsen while completing a school ...more
Hugh Willard
What a great story with rich character development and a beautiful message. Unfortunately, the writing style was excessively chaotic. It felt like stream of consciousness through an ADD lens. I'm certain that this was a deliberate choice by the author. I tried to follow the intention of this choice but only became frustrated. It was excessive.
Tracy
This book is a lesson in Karma. Jinsen is a boy who seems to be able to take all everything with the patience of a Buddha...thus the name Buddha Boy. He is an artistic soul with a past that you wouldn't expect. He has come to realize that sometimes Karma is the best solution, and we could all take a lesson from him.
Olivia D'Cruz
I really thought that buddha boy was a very detailed book. Although it was a bit hard to understand at times. I think if you like mystery and dramatic books then this is great for you. It also has a lot of figurative language and a great amount of imagery. You should really read this book.
Emily
i absolutely adored this book. i picked it up because it was on the boston arts summer reading list, but it had a star next to it to warn kids and their parents that it had "mature" material with which everyone might not be down. my immediate reaction, of course, was to read it, because i love racy books. and . . . i wanted to be able to give parents some info about the caution.

anyway, it was awesome. there was some violence and some swearing and general disrespect for inept authority, etc., but
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Nick Wong
I liked this book because it talks about how a boy named Jinsen who acts differently from other kids at school. Other kids call him a freak because he shaves his head, wears an oversize tie-dyed dragon T-shirt and he seems to be smiling. The story is also about how in the beginning of the book he has to beg for money like a Buddhist monk when people walk by. He also gets paired up with the main character who is Justin and Justin doesn't really like him but he has to be paired up with him. Jinsen ...more
Joshua
Although I started this book simply because of the short audiobook, I ended up enjoying it more than I could have imagined. If read in print, it could probably finished even faster. Speed is not the only benefit to this novel. The author does a good job not only developing characters but also creating an easy to follow storyline. The novel deals with personal strength, bullying, and friendship. Despite being meant for a younger crowd, an older audience can still find much to enjoy. I found some ...more
Hillary
There's a lot here in this little book if you take a little extra time with it. A gloss-over read, and it's so-so - but some thought went into this story about bullying that makes it larger than the sum of its parts.
Jamie
We did this as a read aloud with our freshmen Reading class, and it was a great pick. The characterizations are brief but strong, and information-building chapters alternate with action-packed chapters. The content gave us a lot to talk about with respect to bullying, nonviolence, and coping with stress.
Kevin Mai
This is a very interesting book. The main character of this book is a boy named Justin. Everything changed since he met a new student named Jinsen. Many people has been bullying him like calling him buddha boy and things like that. People think of Jinsen as a weird boy but Justin sees him as something else. He sees Jinsen as a artist, a great artist. But every time Justin sees Jinsen getting bullied and not stand up for himself he gets mad. He doesn't understand why he does that. But Jinsen know ...more
Andy
For a very short book, Buddha Boy delivered. It's anti-bullying, pro-peace and acceptance, and there was a certain charm imbedded in the story as a whole. Simple, but complex characters made for an endearing read, and I think that Koja is on to something with her novels for young adults. Current themes and topics that persist in young people's day to day is pretty much the order for her, and I fully support her writing about these issues. Now, to get her books in my classroom, because this is fu ...more
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Kathe Koja (born 1960) is an American writer. She was initially known for her intense speculative fiction for adults, but over the past few years has turned to writing young adult novels.

Koja is also a prolific author of short stories, including many in collaboration with Barry N. Malzberg. Most of her short fiction remains uncollected. Koja's novels and short stories frequently concern characters
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More about Kathe Koja...
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“Do you know the concept of karma? It’s kind of like a circle, or cause-and-effect, like a slow-tolling bell you rang maybe a year ago, five years ago, maybe in another lifetime if you believe in that. Karma means that what you do today, and why you do it, makes you who you are forever: as if you were clay, and every thought and action left a mark in that clay, bent it, shaped it, even ruined it… but with karma there are no excuses, no explanations, no I-didn’t-really-mean-it-so-can-I-have-some-more-clay. Karma takes everything you do very, very seriously.” 6 likes
“In history, in a movie, in a book, you can always tell who the heroes are;
they're the ones rushing into a burning building, giving crucial testimony in
the courtroom, refusing to step to the back of the bus. They're the ones who
act the way you hope you would, if the moment came to you.
But the movies and the history books never tell you how they felt, those
heroes, if they were angry or uncertain or afraid, if they had to think a
long time before they did the right thing, if they even knew what the right
thing was or just made a headlong guess, just leaped and hoped they landed
instead of falling. They never tell you what it's like to stand on the
brink, wishing you were somewhere--or someone--else, wishing the choice had
never come your way and you could just go back to your safe, ordinary,
everyday life.
Because you know what else the books never say? Nobody, hero or not, really
wants to rush into a fire. Because fire burns.”
4 likes
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