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Freak Show

3.81  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,199 Ratings  ·  308 Reviews
Billy Bloom is gay, but it's mostly theoretical, as he hasn't had much experience. When he has to move to Florida, he can't believe his bad luck. His new school is a mix of bible belles, amberzombies, and football heroes -- none of which are exactly his type.

Billy's efforts to fit in and stand out at the same time are both hilarious and heart warming. In this novel from a
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 17th 2007 by Dutton Juvenile
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 11, 2007 Elece rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: young people searching for their place
Shelves: read-it-loved-it
what can i say? it's a beautiful, funny, tragic, wonderful, engaging, enchanting, delicious story.


Jul 02, 2011 Karin rated it it was amazing
Billy Bloom has been forced to move to Florida for his Senior year of High School. His mom, a little on the bi-polar side, couldn't take his flamboyant attitude toward life anymore. Billy is a self-proclaimed "Gender Obscurist". A fabulously creative drag queen and a character that is resilient, lovable, and stronger than anyone ever would have imagined, including himself.

After enduring unspeakable torture and bullying from his shell-shocked classmates, Billy ends up in the hospital and has a mo
Nov 19, 2008 h rated it it was ok
Recommended to h by: ALA 2007 list of Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers
Shelves: ya
"Mary Sue, sometimes shortened simply to Sue, is a pejorative term used to describe a fictional character who plays a major role in the plot and is particularly characterized by overly idealized and hackneyed mannerisms, lacking noteworthy flaws, and primarily functioning as wish-fulfillment fantasies for their authors. Perhaps the single underlying feature of all characters described as "Mary Sues" is that they are too ostentatious for the audience's taste, or that the author seems to favor the ...more
May 16, 2012 Tfitoby rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I could tell you why I read this but then again I couldn't really explain it. Apparently James St. James is slightly famous in reality programming but I know him from that movie Party Monster where he was played by Seth Green opposite Macauley Culkin (Mac was good in this role, I thought he could actually act.) I enjoyed the movie and apparently it was based on the true crime anecdote/biography of James St. James - Disco Bloodbath. Knowing what kind of experiences the guy has had in real life ga ...more
Mar 13, 2011 Christian rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 22, 2007 Autumn rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Perez Hilton and Hedwig fans
Shelves: teenagers, lgbtq
Super fun story of teen drag queen Billy Bloom, who is stuck in red-state Florida ALAS! Billy is a spunky hero/ine who is estranged from his parents, beaten up at school and also a bit bipolar. But his story is never downbeat -- the saddest events are frankly discussed and summarily dismissed with a La La La and another glob of glitter.

Tucked inside the first person narrative, you will find beauty tips (use surgical glue to attach metal to your skin), outlandish quips and a few canape reciepts.
Oct 13, 2015 Nicky rated it it was amazing
Shelves: love
Billy Bloom is a self-proclaimed “Gender Obscurist” living a happy life in Connecticut. When his mother sends him to live with his father in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, things take a turn for the worst. Billy is a fabulously flamboyant drag queen who doesn’t believe in toning things down, even in his new wealthy and conservative community. After his first day at the Dwight D. Eisenhower High School however, Billy comes to the realization that he is at the bottom of the food chain. He has become a ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Allyson rated it it was amazing
Freak Show is the story of Billy Bloom: Self-Proclaimed Superfreak and his journey through his senior year of high school. Told from the first person point of view, Billy invites the reader to question normalcy and encourage acceptance.

In the beginning of the story, the reader learns that Billy has been banished from his mother’s home for unknown reasons, and he has come to live with his rich father in Florida. However, Billy is not the everyday high school senior boy. He is gay, admittedly un-a
Feb 20, 2009 Sam rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Billy Bloom is a fabulous drag queen of a teenager who finds himself out of luck when his mother sends him off to live with his rich father in the rural Florida swamps for his last year of high school. Surrounded by a family who doesn't accept him, students who are horrified by him or praying on his behalf, and constant physical threats, Billy decides to take it upon himself to shake up his private institution and make progress for the GLBTQ community.

I read this book very soon after it came in
While I see why everyone enjoys this book -- Billy's voice is strong, entertaining, and often laugh-out-loud funny, and there's no doubt that it's high time we get to see a teen drag queen as the main character -- I also found that I could easily put this book down without being compelled to pick it up again. This means a book is less than successful for me, especially when it means I'm immediately drawn into another book and therefore obviously wasn't all that involved in the first title I was ...more
Mar 05, 2015 Barb rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, humor, young-adult, glbt
Let's just state it flat out: I LOVED this book. I was laughing like a loon and crying piteously on the same page, and that was just during the introduction. God bless all the Billies in this world who refuse to be reshaped and processed until they fit the proper brand. A character of enormous energy and caprice, Billy had me running to keep up with him as he careened through that mausoleum of mediocrity they called a school until I was out of breath, but I kept going because I just could not pu ...more
Ulysses Dietz
Apr 14, 2016 Ulysses Dietz rated it it was amazing
Billy Bloom may just be the most frustrating character in the history of LGBT/YA novels.

And yet, how could I not love him?

Billy is rich and oblivious. And extremely nelly. And a drag queen. At seventeen. Having been suddenly shipped to southern Florida by his crazy mother to stay with his grouchy, disapproving father in the family’s ancestral mansion, Billy suddenly finds himself in a snooty private school full of blond conformists and jocks.

Not the least of whom is Flip Kelly. Football star.
Book Concierge
Billy Bloom is a gay teenager who has recently moved to Florida. It’s bad enough being the new kid at school when you are a senior, but being an emerging drag queen at an ultra-rich, ultra-conservative school is even more challenging. Billy tries to make friends but the teasing, taunting and bullying he has to endure get out of hand quickly. Deciding that he has to be himself and speak up (and out loud) for all those other “shadow kids” trying to get along by not being noticed, Billy makes a mom ...more
Feb 16, 2008 Debra rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: teens who want a quirky fun read
A very funny novel about a drag queen in a conservative high school. The protagonist is charming, his voice is unique, and the pace is fast. A refreshing read.
Danielle Routh
Jun 11, 2016 Danielle Routh rated it liked it
Disagreement of lifestyle aside (why else do we read, really?), this book is amusing, well-written, and chock-full of pop culture references that, if we're being honest, may puzzle the average reader but still provide a nice flavor. Overall, however, it lacks substance, much like its protagonist Billy Bloom. The plot is rambling, cliched, and (even with suspension of disbelief) utterly unbelievable. I have no doubt that it's an important book for the LGBT community, but it's not exactly great li ...more
Kelly Herta
Sep 27, 2011 Kelly Herta rated it did not like it
Summary: This story is told by a young man, Billy Bloom, who is sent to live with his father in Florida. We get to read about his most personal thoughts and sarcastic comments. Billy starts to attend a conservative private high school for his senior year. Billy makes heads turn when he shows up dressed as a pirate, which he thought was very masculine and would win his new friends. He ends up getting laughed and and becomes a spitball target. He continues to dress outlandish and the other student ...more
Jun 24, 2013 Isaiah rated it did not like it
See more of my reviews at

I was very excited about this book and I tried hard to like it. The main problem was the main character, Billy Bloom, was so damn unlikeable that I was hoping he didn't survive. He was over dramatic, self absorbed, annoying, a drama queen (haha bad pun, yes), and probably knew nothing about actually doing drag as he was hated by everyone. There was no way that he would have been able to have the skill that the author gave him and there
Sep 21, 2010 Kassa rated it really liked it
I originally picked up this book because I saw a twitter from @booksmugglers that said “this book is fabulous.” That was enough recommendation so I went to pick it up from my local library. Little did I know I was picking a story filled with FABULOUS GLAMOUR, complete with wigs, sequins, glitter, and enough makeup to paint a mansion. Billy is not only outrageous, over the top, ridiculous, and fabulous in every possible meaning of the word, he’s also a young teenager figuring out what he is and h ...more
Jan 12, 2014 kb rated it liked it
This is one of the most touching books I have ever read. Not that it tries hard to be overly emotional or something. In fact, it is SO not because the main character, Billy Bloom, is just so hellarious. He is like literally the sunshine DURING the rain. Imagine seeing the + energies in life despite of the - vibes he was undergoing, such as the horror of bullying by his preppy classmates in his new school just because he was gay=different, a dysfunctional family and so on. He is his own hero!
Jackie "the Librarian"
May 14, 2008 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: teens 14 and up
Shelves: youngadult, humor, glbt
Billy Bloom enjoys dressing in a flamboyant style that seems perfectly normal to him, but to his new fellow students in Florida is shocking.
Billy just gets more and more outrageous in an attempt to win people over, and things come to a head the day he wears a swamp queen get up with tentacles. That's the day the football team attacks him in class, and only the intervention by the star player, Flip, saves him from the beating becoming fatal.
With Flip and a secret friendship with a girl whose name
Virginia Osborne
Mar 06, 2015 Virginia Osborne rated it liked it
This book was fabulous. But I had a hard time identifying with the main character and getting into his head. Perhaps this is an intentional effect of the smoke screen of fabulosity that he projects. Very little makes it past the curated exterior. I felt held at arms length as merely an observer through the whole Freak Show. But it was a good read that ended well, despite the earlier episodes that made me worry it would be too stereotypical. It definitely is not.
Dec 04, 2015 Amy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: home-library

I'm all for a good lgbt book, but this one just missed the mark. It author tried too hard to be funny and cool, with all the pop culture references, but it just didn't work for me. Plus, I found the main character slightly annoying.
Feb 04, 2016 Salsabrarian rated it it was amazing
The GAYEST novel in the GLBT YA genre I've ever read! Over-the-top, exuberant, wa-a-ay-out-there. But sad and optimistic, too. Oh, and the author has appeared on America's Next Top Model. Fabulous!!!!!!!

Billy is a gay drag queen attending a conservative prep school and living with his dad in Florida after being kicked out of his motherâs house in Connecticut (when she caught him wearing her Ungaro dress). Billy is beyond over the top for his classmates. His biology teacher looks the other way wh
Jan 31, 2015 Katherine rated it really liked it
Style of review: personal commentary

I actually enjoyed this immensely. My school had a "Blind Date with a Book" display, so I picked this book up and checked it out, not really having many expectations. It's a light read; I estimate that it took me about ten minutes to read thirty(ish?) pages. The whole book should take a reader about two hours to read.

When I read the first few pages, I'll be honest, I was thinking, "Oh, no, this guy is going to be one of the most annoying protagonists I've ever
Devin Tait
Jun 26, 2012 Devin Tait rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, but very fun and at times hilarious, other times saddening but overall it had a great message and the language and dialogue were very vivid and interesting. This book was written way before the whole "it gets better" movement and therefore may have been ahead of its time, as it's very appropriate now that bullying has been in the spotlight. Freakshow handles the themes of bullying and gay teens in such a responsible, thoughtful and insightful way.
Mar 31, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Gay Youth/Adult, closeted HS football players
Ok, OMGosh, this was so much fun to read. I couldn't put it down even if I tried. Ok, so first off, if you don't like stories that deal with gay youth or gay youth drag then this book might not be for you but if your ok with reading fun stories and wishful thinking then this book is one you should definitely give a chance to.

The story of Freak Show by the famous club kid of them all, James St. James, is about a boy named Billy Bloom who moves to florida and has to go to a school where all the te
Apr 08, 2014 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: gender obscurists, glitteroids, superfreaks
Recommended to Kate by: Rivera
Shelves: teen-fic, ischool
Annotation: 17-year-old “gender obscurist” Billy Bloom moves from his alcoholic mother’s house in Darien, Connecticut, to his absentee father’s estate in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and begins a new school year at wealthy, conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy. From the first day he is beaten literally and figuratively for the way he dresses, speaks and acts by his classmates--particularly the football team in his biology class--while the teachers turn a blind eye. After a particularly savage ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Rory rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: um, fans of teenage drama queen drama?
Shelves: kids
i really liked this book. i really liked the pacing, the language, the tension, the melodrama, and the grit. and the OTT topic, of course: 17-year-old drag queen invades his new Souther Florida prep school with forcible fabulousness. and then gets the shit beat out of him.
Jul 30, 2015 Katie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book! Very over the top and fun but also sad at times.
Dec 26, 2015 Amanda rated it really liked it
Allow me to introduce you to Billy Bloom, the fabulous and loveable narrator of Freak Show by James St. James. Billy, seventeen-years-old and originally from Michigan, is a fiery-haired, label-loathing, self-proclaimed “superfreak”. Gay and an aspiring drag queen, if you want to get right down to the nitty gritty of it.

In the beginning of Freak Show, Billy has just moved from Michigan, where he lived with his eccentric mother, to Florida to live with his standoffish and rich father in his huge e
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The Backlot Gay B...: Freak Show, by James St. James 3 8 Apr 14, 2016 05:35PM  
About Freak Show...warning: spoilers! 1 47 Jun 17, 2008 05:26PM  
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James St. James (born James Clark), is a former Club Kid of the Manhattan club scene in the late 1980s/early 1990s and the author of Disco Bloodbath (now published under the title Party Monster). He was notorious for a lifestyle of excess that included heavy drug use, partying, and bizarre costumes.
More about James St. James...

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“Love is easy; it's when you actually like someone that it gets difficult. Putting up with their odd idiosyncrasies. They way they suck their teeth after dinner, say, or the way they change perfectly good lightbulbs. It's when you like somebody despite the fact that they have every season of Reba on DVD - that you know it's something special. It's about liking someone in spite of the gaping flaws in their personality...” 4 likes
“And LO and BEHOLD, I was on BOTH the six AND eleven o’clock newscasts!
AND all the commercials, as well! (‘Day of the drag queen at one area high school, controversy at six!’)
And it must have been a slow night because I was the SECOND PIECE of the night! The granny suicide bomber got the lead. BITCH! But I managed to beat out the president’s pulled groin and day six of the Jessica Simpson chapped-lip crisis!”
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