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Totally Joe (The Misfits #2)

4.01  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,851 Ratings  ·  326 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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INTRODUCTION

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
...more
Emily
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
...more
Eric
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
Deb
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
Joan
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
Kevin
Jan 03, 2013 Kevin rated it really liked it
A great story for middle school age kids who are LGBTQ.
Josiah
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
...more
Alicia
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
Raina
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
...more
Alicia
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
Shannon
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
...more
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
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
...more
Kristian
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
Sean
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
Sydney
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.
Lydia
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
Sala Bim
Sep 24, 2013 Sala Bim rated it really liked it
This is a very sweet and uplifting read. It's such a necessary contribution to Young Adult literature as well as LGBT lit. and I wish there were so many more like it. It's a very encouraging and humorous tale of a young man's coming of age/coming out in an environment where he is both supported by some and realistically not by others. Joe is a boy like so many out there simply searching for the courage to love and be proud of himself even as he faces adversity and heartbreak. It's a witty and te ...more
Taurean Watkins
Oct 12, 2015 Taurean Watkins rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of "The Misfits", books where nontraditional boys are CELEBRATED!
I waited TOO LONG to read this book (and "The Misfits" debut outing) and while I'm not sure where and if I'm on the sexual orientation spectrum, I do know I get annoyed that boys and men still put in these boxes that we don't fit in, or even want to fit in. If you , that's great, if you don't, it shouldn't be "The end of the world."

While I'm all for the rights and humanity all in the LGTQIA community deserve and need to thrive in this world, I do want to see more boys and men who're just nontrad
...more
Sarah
Sep 12, 2014 Sarah rated it did not like it
Never has a book contained so many stereotypes.

1) The main character has a "special connection" with Cher.
2) MC is obsessed with fashion.
3) First boyfriend is the closeted jock.
4) Best friend is the feminist.
5) Halloween is favorite holiday because it involves dressing up.
6) The (implied) gay bully.
7) Likes dolls.
8) Dresses in drag
9) MC wears nail polish.
10) MC likes stereotypically feminine activities, such as cooking, clothes, etc.

Entire plot follows the stereotypical track of flamboyant main
...more
Christie
Aug 18, 2014 Christie rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
When Joe Bunch is given an ‘alphabiography’ as a seventh grade English project he thinks it’s lame. Joe’s teacher, Mr. Daly wants students to write about themselves from A-Z and that’s all well and good, except as Joe writes “I’m not exactly your average Joe.” But that, as it turns out, is just one of the many charms of Totally Joe by James Howe.

Howe is a prolific writer; he’s written over 70 books including the Bunnicula series. Totally Joe is also part of a series, The Misfits. Anyone who has
...more
Maria
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
Brianna
Feb 01, 2016 Brianna rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Salsabrarian
Feb 04, 2016 Salsabrarian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, glbt
A lively voice for young GLBTs and those who are GLBT-friendly. Joe Bunch is almost 13 and confident in his gayness even as he is teased by the "guy-guys" at school. He has a close-knit group of friends who accept him for who he is and a supportive family (to which he hasn't yet outed himself but they're aware anyway). And his first boyfriend is Colin, a jock and closeted gay not at all comfortable in his skin as Joe is. Joe Bunch's story is good for teen lit and affirmative for readers like Joe ...more
Sage
May 08, 2012 Sage rated it it was ok
I thought this book was (at best) meh.

reasons
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"



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.

Peter
Fiona
3.5 stars out of 5

Thirteen year-old Joe has a writing assignment: an "alphabiography", meaning that it's supposed to be the story of his life from A to Z. But when he finishes it, he realizes there's a lot of pretty personal stuff in there, and though he doesn't censor himself, he begs his teacher to handle it with care (and NOT make him read any of it out-loud!). Joe is gay. He's always known that he was different from other boys: he doesn't make armpit farts, he is not an expert on cars or a
...more
Sophia O.
Feb 08, 2015 Sophia O. rated it it was amazing
Shelves: grade-7
First of all this is a very openminded book. A quick summary of the book is about a boy named Joe, who becomes openly gay. He crosses many paths in the story, and many people. If your mind is closed to many things, and things that aren't necessarily normal or an expectation, you wouldn't like this book. I loved it. I never read the Misfits but I could completely understand the whole premise of this book. I loved this book because it had so many perspectives and it was different. It wasn't like a ...more
Hiba Ahmed
Jan 16, 2015 Hiba Ahmed rated it liked it
Joe Bunch, Formerly JoDan Bunch wants to fit in without fitting in. However, when things with him and Colin start to act up, he knows everything is going to change, especially when Collin leaves a note in his locker about how he can't hang out with him anymore due to Kevin Henessey spreading a rumor that they were seen kissing. So Joe decides that this isn't so bad, well, up until aunt pam tells him that she's leaving. Aunt Pam was the only person who ever understood Joe and about him being Gay. ...more
Jane
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!!!
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Do you think that this was a really good project to assign? 8 44 Aug 19, 2012 11:32PM  
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51424
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
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.” 93 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.” 56 likes
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