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Buddha Boy

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  1,063 ratings  ·  172 reviews
The kids at school call Jinsen “Buddha Boy”—he wears oversize tie-dyed dragon T- shirts, shaves his head, and always seems to be smiling. He’s clearly a freak. Then Justin is paired with him for a class project. As he gets to know Jinsen and his incredible artistic talent, Justin questions his own beliefs. But being friends with Buddha Boy isn’t simple, especially when Jus ...more
Paperback, 128 pages
Published November 18th 2004 by Speak (first published March 4th 2003)
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Chloe Mae 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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3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,063 ratings  ·  172 reviews

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Jul 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
Magda Żmijan
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
A tale about a strange boy transferred to a new school, about an unlikely friendship and bullying.

Oh yes, a realistic tale with a hard topic – another type of books I avoid. I use books as an escape from reality, an opportunity to visit new worlds and not to crush into a tough reality.

Maybe this book is just like many others, but it is a well-told story worth checking out. It shows the strengths and weaknesses of schoolkids. It helps to realize some of the reasons behind the bullies’ thinking. I
David Mejia
Jan 02, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bullying, crap
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
Joy Kirr
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I read it in two sittings, so it kept my attention... On the HEHS summer reading list, I believe, so I had to read it before I brought it to my 7th graders. There are a couple of foul words, but nothing they haven't heard before. I liked Jinsen (Buddha Boy), and even more once he told Justin more of his story. I also had an urge to see the art they made. Solid story about how to live - even if your life isn't the best.
Jul 13, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to elissa by: Gail Giles said she likes Koja a lot
This was the first book that I've read by Koja, and I was slightly disappointed, because I was expecting more. I don't remember much about it a few days after finishing it. Maybe I started with the wrong one?
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, youngadult, cultural
I wished this was better written.
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought the book was ok, i was not very intresting to me.
Shawn Thrasher
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is really good. It is quick and should be required reading by 9th graders.
Jessica Rush
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: eng356-13-25
Justin fits comfortably in the middle of his school, just insignificant enough to avoid unwanted attention and avoid being picked on. That is, until a new kid, nicknamed "Buddha Boy" comes to school and is assigned to be his partner for his economy class. As the two become friends, they have to withstand bullying and hold tightly to their values to make it through.

I don't know much about cultural appropriation, but I suspect this book might be treading the line. (Possible spoilers ahead) It's no
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Katy O'Brien
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
The message in this book was great but the writing was just very strange. This was the author's debut (I think) so I'm going to try another one before I write the author off completely.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I may have just found my new 9th grade summer reading book! I just loved it!
Nov 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charlotte Tracey
Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have so many emotions after reading this!!! It's just a simple story and you can kind of guess what's going to happen, but it's written so beautifully and just makes my heart ache.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book is a good read. It also made me think of my childhood and how I was in high school. The story would you think. I really enjoy it and would recommend it to my friends.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, ya
A powerful story about bullying and finding your own peace.
Mar 22, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
Stronger in the 2nd half than in the first. Overall enjoyed the book although it was a bit "preachy" at first.
May 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I brought this and only this along on my retreat - oh dear god, it is positively dreadful for me to operate at this level of cognition... but in any event, the reason this was a one-day read is that I focused energy on it, which I probably would benefit from trying again in the future.
I am talking about it now, though, since I feel very passionate about it, so I think that it will wake me up.
Maybe since I know I don't think as well late at night I rethink everything so that it overall comes out
Mar 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Koja's writing style is effective - it's loose, not always in complete sentences because that's how people think. It helps to get the reader into the consciousness of the main character. Some may say the overall plot and themes of the story are predictable, but it is presented really well. Coming from Justin's point of view you see the various struggles he goes through with how to respond to Jinsen's predicaments, as well as other parts of his life.
Neia Beck
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i love this book so much
Franki D
In the novel, Buddha Boy, by Kathe Koja, a high school boy, Justin, is paired for a project with a new boy in school, Jinsen, who wears a t-shirt to his knees and sports a shaved head making him an easy target for most at Rucher High School. At first Justin wants to just get this over with and be done as soon as possible, but while working on the project Justin discovers that Jinsen has incredible artistic ability, so he insists that Jinsen joins the art class at Rucher. Justin also takes an int ...more
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I picked 5 stars because this was a good book and it shows that karma is real. Someone else should read this book because it's about a boy and bullying. You should read this book because in this generation bullying is a big thing that is happening in schools and the same thing is happening in this book. A group of boys are picking on Jinsen because he's different from everyone else instead of being "normal". Jinsen is a good artist and him and his friend justin were working on a project. Jinsen ...more
Sep 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another YA book worth reading, especially if you know what it's like to bully or have been bullied . . . or have stood up for someone being bullied.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
A pretty decent, is short, tale. There is a lot of depth in the 117 pages. Really a fun read.
Feb 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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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Kathe Koja is a novelist, playwright, director and independent producer. Her work crosses and combines and plays with genres, from YA to contemporary to historical to horror. Her novels–including THE CIPHER, SKIN, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, HEADLONG, and the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy–have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance.

She creates immersive performance events, sol
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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.” 13 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.”
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