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Totally Joe (The Misfits, #2)
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Totally Joe (The Misfits #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  4,156 Ratings  ·  338 Reviews
"Everybody says you and Colin were kissing."

"What? That's ridiculous!"

"For heaven's sake, Joe, if you and Colin want to kiss, you have every right to."

"We did not kiss," I told her.

Addie shrugged. "Whatever."

What was it with my friends?

From the creator of The Misfits, the book that inspired NATIONAL NO NAME-CALLING WEEK, comes the story of Joe Bunch....
Paperback, 224 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published September 27th 2005)
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John Egbert
How this book makes me feel:

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I can not describe in words. I just cannot. I hold so much distaste and venom for this book that I will dissect the following conversation printed on the book jacket to, indeed, show you just one reason why I hate Joe.

"Everybody says you and Colin were kissing."

"What? That's ridiculous!"

"For heaven's sake, Joe, if you and Colin want to kiss, you have every right to."

"We did not kiss," I told her.

Addie shrugged. "Whatever."

What was it with my f
Sep 14, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing
I work with middle schoolers, and every now and then I dabble a bit in adolescent literature. I have to say, I'm frequently disturbed by what I find in the genre. There are a lot of mass marketed young adult books filled with pain and angst. There are a lot of books about drug use, alcohol, abuse, pregnancy, STDs, and all of that crap that supposedly comes along with being a teenager.
I sort of understand why young adult lit can be so yucky and diactic much of the time. After all, you can't ignor
Sep 24, 2008 Eric rated it really liked it
Joe is a quirky, very gay preteen boy at a small high school in upstate New York. He's been given an assignment from his English teacher to write an "alpha-biography" detailing his life from A-Z. Each chapter, written over the course of school year follows Joe in his process of coming out to his family, falling in love, breaking up, and standing up for himself. I really identified with him, though at times it reminded me of my own uncomfortable life growing up in small town Ohio and not feeling ...more
This book is awesome! And I found it entirely by accident. I picked up a bunch of new books in my library, and recognizing the author as the "Bunnicula" author, grabbed this one. This book is VERY different, and deals with a much-needed, though sensitive, topic. Joe is in 7th grade and his teacher has assigned a year-long writing project -- an alphabiography. For each letter of the alpabet, Joe has to write about himself. Early in the alphabet, we learn that when Joe was little, he preferred Bar ...more
Jul 11, 2015 Joan rated it it was amazing
This is a really great teen story about a boy in 7th grade whose teacher gives the class an assignment to "Write about yourself from A-Z....and end every chapter with a life lesson." Joe worries about whether he can really write the truth about himself and his life since so much has happened to him the past few months. But he gives it a try, and the result is a sweet book about a gay thirteen-year-old boy and the friends and foes who are in his life. The life lessons he writes at the end of each ...more
Jan 03, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
A great story for middle school age kids who are LGBTQ.
Kirstin Glawe
Mar 06, 2012 Kirstin Glawe rated it it was amazing
This book is a multicultural children’s story that discusses the life of a middle school boy, Joe, who is gay. I loved the title page of this book because it catches the reader’s attention and is so significant to the story. The book is written as a alphabiography, or like a journal that goes through each letter where he has to write about something in his life, ending each letter with a life lesson. I thought that this was such a creative and interesting way to tell his story. It made the book ...more
Oct 29, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
Shelves: teen
Quick (read it in four hours quick), fun, and has a big heart.

Though Totally Joe suffered from some underdeveloped characters, other had some surprising depth. Joe was extremely stereotypical, and I felt it went a little overboard with the flamboyant gay teen, but after reading an interview with the author I understood what he was trying to do. Let's take the most stereotyped character, the one everyone knows about, and stick you in their head.

Yes, Joe likes "girly" things. He likes clothes, co
Jan 18, 2011 Alicia rated it liked it
Shelves: romance, male, humor, glbt
Joe's assignment is to write an alphabiography-- each chapter begins with the letter of the alphabet and in his biography, Joe describes his recent past, present, and near future of coming out. Although Joe is young, thirteen, the first-person narration really doesn't give it away unless he specifically refers to his birthday. Joe is dealing with the requisite popular boy who wants to be his boyfriend, but only when it's behind closed doors because he isn't confident. Joe realizes he's got a gre ...more
May 29, 2009 Josiah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"There's no such thing as a wasted wish."

—Joe Bunch, "Totally Joe", P. 21

"A day can start out ordinary and end up being in the top ten."

—Joe Bunch, "Totally Joe", P. 184

I would give this four and a half stars, and for weeks I considered giving it five (I'm still considering it).
This book is somewhat difficult for me to review, as I disagreed with a lot of it personally. Still, I loved this story. It contains exceptionally funny material and empathetically heartbreaking moments that resona
Dec 05, 2009 Alicia rated it it was amazing
Joe Bunch's 8th grade English teacher has given his students an assignment to write an "alphabiography" over the course of the school year. With each letter of the alphabet representing a different chapter, Totally Joe tells the story of a year in the life of a gay adolescent boy. Joe falls in love, has his heart broken, comes out to his family, and finds love and support among his friends and family. Howe does such a wonderful job of writing in the voice of a 13-year old boy that the reader can ...more
Mrs. Reed
Feb 23, 2012 Mrs. Reed rated it liked it
My book club raised the question that our title character might be overly stereotyped, and I welcome insight from others who have read this. Personally, I think that part of the point of the book is that Joe is trying to be himself. One other character does sort of accuse him of being a stereotype, so I think that Howe acknowledges this.
Mostly, I think the point is that there are lots of books for athletes, lots of books for kids with divorced parents, lots of books for nerds, lots of books for
Jan 07, 2010 Raina rated it liked it
Shelves: ya, realistic, funny, gltbq
Joe is 12. His teacher has assigned his class an "alphabiography" - each kid has to write about their lives using the 26 letters of the alphabet to inspire each entry.
Joe is gay. His friends and family know it before he does and in the course of his alphabiography he offically realizes this, comes out, and starts to make positive change in his school.
I enjoyed this as a portrayal of a relatively normal gay kid who has a relatively easy experience coming out. In some ways I think we need more st
Feb 16, 2009 Kristian rated it liked it
this book is about a gay kid joe and he is a weird child. he plays with dolls a.k.a barbies and he enjoys it and he has a big crush on some high school popular boy named colin and he likes joe to but joe doesnt know that. after a party they both hook up and begin to date but everyone makes fun of them because they feel weird that a no body is going out with colin the joc. after some time a rumor goes around that them 2 were kissing but it was not true. they were bugging out and getting really an ...more
Apr 24, 2012 Lydia rated it it was amazing
Howe has written a book of a 12 going on thirteen year old boy, who has always exhibited rather flamboyant gay behavior and has an assignment to write an alphabiography. Just the concept of having a pre-teen write such a thing is outstanding. This assignment leads Joe towards understanding himself, his environment, his family and his friends as he puts down "on paper" what occurs in his life (and yes, X is for Xylophone!). As Joe discovers he can be gay, that he can come out, that he does not ha ...more
Jun 16, 2012 Sean rated it liked it
Shelves: glbt
A fun read. A bit too sweet perhaps. It seemed like the author asked himself, "How can I improve somebody's self-esteem today? I'll write a book!" But there are times in life when a boost in confidence is just what is needed. I can easily picture a kid needing the feel-good "be yourself" message this book offers. Some people have complained about the stereotypical portrayal of a gay kid in the character of Joe, but I have known kids just like him. They need to read about someone like them. What ...more
LFPL Teen Services
Joe is assigned to write a biography in alphabetical order. As he does, he reveals what life is like for an openly gay twelve year old boy. Joe gets his first boyfriend, but is crushed when he breaks up with him. Joe discovers his family and friends are important, and that there is no equal to being yourselves.

May 08, 2012 Sage rated it it was ok
I thought this book was (at best) meh.

1) STEREOTYPES- to quote my friend Kat "LIKETOTALLYHOMO" (yeah no spaces)

2) WRITING- (I'm sorry but I can't read something written like this)(it makes me think of math)

3) THAT SMILEY FACE THING- just a pet peeve...

4) "So how about extra credit?'- really? NO TEACHERS GIVE EXTRA CREDIT FOR USING "BIG WORDS"

Sep 05, 2015 Sydney rated it it was amazing
This book was awesome because it very accurately portrayed the life of a kid in middle school, who is gay, and closeted (well, at least for a little while), and is very relateable. I felt it could have been a bit longer, but I liked the idea of writing the book as an alphabiography.
Jul 01, 2009 Jane rated it it was amazing
This is my all time fave book!!!!!!!!!!! It has a lot of voice and character. It is also a heart warming story that I personally love!!! READ THIS BOOK!!!
A sweet, funny book -- I feel like I would have appreciated it more were I in the target age group this book was written for. Not amazing, but lovely.
Jan 18, 2017 Emma rated it really liked it
I am currently reading Totally joe by James Howe. In this book joe bunch is struggling with what he exists of, and is experiencing teasing and taunting in the endless misery of middle school. He flashes back to when he meets an excepting girl named Addie who appreciates who he is and asks no further questions. Joe soon goes through a phase of his life where he wants to act like a guy guy, not like a boy with identity issues. He has two supportive guy friends named Bobbie and skeezie who support ...more
Reagan Giese
Dec 16, 2016 Reagan Giese rated it really liked it
"Totally Joe" was such a significant book. I loved the way how the author set the book up in chronological order. This book taught me so many life lessons. The most important lesson I learned was that it's okay to be different. You don't have to look or do things the same way as anybody else. Also, James Howe is such an amazing person to look up to. In my opinion, he has a very interesting life (in a good way) and doesn't care what others think. Totally Joe was a book about a kid who discovered ...more
Rachel Grover
Dec 29, 2016 Rachel Grover rated it really liked it
What a great book. It's really unusual for a MS main character to be gay and figuring out his life, his coming out, and his first boyfriends. I was surprised it came out in 2005 and never heard of it until a few weeks ago. I can think of several students I could booktalk this to. Will purchase the entire series for my MS library. Refreshing!
Tracy Holland
Dec 29, 2016 Tracy Holland rated it it was amazing
James Howe delivers another great middle school book about coming of age. Joe, the main character, is challenged with the assignment of writing an alphabiography, which turns into a hilarious account of life as a gay middle school student. Told with humor and heart, this is a great read for all.
Siddharth D'Souza
Dec 14, 2016 Siddharth D'Souza rated it really liked it
Shelves: grade-8
This book was really good for probably ANYONE.
Totally Joe by James Howe is about a delightfully quirky gay seventh-grader named, you guessed it, Joe. This book really shines in how it paints the picture of Joe and his misfit bunch of friends: they’re a charmingly awkward, dorky group of kids who are a great support system for each other. You’ll have no trouble believing that Joe and his friends are real, genuine kids, warts and all. Totally Joe follows Joe throughout the school year as he completes an “Alpha-biography” assignment, detailing ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Mirabelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-quarter
"Totally Joe" was actually a really good sequel to "Also Known as Elvis". The format of "Totally Joe" is very unique, it is organized by the ABCs and James Howe made up an important to Joe that represented each word. Since "Also Known as Elvis" was in Elvis's point of view, it's really interesting to listen to Joe's point of view; especially since he is different than other kids!
May 11, 2014 Maria rated it liked it
Shelves: 4-quiltbag
This would be a great book for someone around middle school age. Especially someone who is questioning their orientation, or who knows someone who is. Well-written with enjoyable characters with a light & humorous tone, my rating is more reflective of me than of the book itself. If I would have been closer to the ages of the characters when I read this, I would have loved it. Reading it as an adult, I simply wasn't the right audience, but that doesn't mean I don't think it would be a terrifi ...more
Emily Dybdahl
Dec 18, 2016 Emily Dybdahl rated it liked it
Shelves: ya-literature
This is a fun story about an outgoing, optimistic boy named Joe Bunch. He writes his story as an "alphabiography", where each chapter is titled after a letter from the alphabet and the theme is that word (A is for Addie, B is for Boy, etc.). It's a class project for his English teacher, Mr. Daly. It's both a coming-of-age and a coming-out story, as Joe figures out who he is throughout the time he's doing his alphabiography. Joe comes from a super supportive family who has known all along that he ...more
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Do you think that this was a really good project to assign? 8 44 Aug 19, 2012 02:32PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Howe has written more than eighty books in the thirty-plus years he's been writing for young readers. It sometimes confuses people that the author of the humorous Bunnicula series also wrote the dark young adult novel, The Watcher, or such beginning reader series as Pi
More about James Howe...

Other Books in the Series

The Misfits (4 books)
  • The Misfits (The Misfits, #1)
  • Addie on the Inside (The Misfits, #3)
  • Also Known as Elvis (The Misfits, #4)

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“Life is short and there will always be dirty dishes, so let's dance.” 95 likes
“I hated that the soldier doll had my name. I mean, please. I didn't play with him much. He was another Christmas present from my clueless grandparents. One time when they were visiting, my grandpa asked me if G.I. Joe had been in any wars lately. I said, "No, but he and Ken got married last week." Every Christmas since then, my grandparents have sent me a check.” 55 likes
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