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Buddha Boy

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  1,123 ratings  ·  181 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 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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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,123 ratings  ·  181 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
Joe Piccoli
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.25 Stars. Great short story.
Stephanie  Weatherly
Feb 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
I had high hopes for this book. I picked it up hoping to use it in one of my classes with my students, but it fell flat for me. The characters were somewhat boring, and I felt the language was inappropriate.
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?
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.
Jan 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: own, youngadult, cultural
I wished this was better written.
Aug 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is really good. It is quick and should be required reading by 9th graders.
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought the book was ok, i was not very intresting to me.
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
"…we're all gods…Gods inside, all of us."

2 Stars! “Buddha Boy” is my first book by Kathe Koja and with a statement pertaining to everyone inhabiting Gods within themselves, I was hoping for more out of this novella by the rave reviews she [Kathe Koja] receives.

I had somewhat high expectations based on the description of the book and the author. As I read along, I kept waiting for something more than a short telling of events that occurred to a strange boy who was befriended by someone by acciden
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
Jedidiah Boggs
Nov 22, 2019 rated it it was ok
Typical anti-bullying story - nothing new or really exciting. At times the writing was confusing, I think they were trying to be poetic or something?

Read it in about 45 minutes so take my review with a grain of salt. Not a bad book, just not good either.
Jun 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I may have just found my new 9th grade summer reading book! I just loved it!
Cher Lynne
Apr 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Quick listen- A
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the story, although the author's use of run-on sentence got old quickly.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was an easy read and the message of the book was a cliché. It was was a little predictable, but overall there was a good storyline.
Jenifer Dugdale
Apr 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Koja writes solid stories that are short and accessible for those who might otherwise be reluctant readers. This one's got a great message and surprising character complexity for its length.
Sam Bayat
Jun 14, 2020 rated it liked it
Short story, good for teenagers, on the topic of inclusivity and understanding how others could be different than us.
Jul 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Interesting book albeit somewhat predictable. Nice prose. Satisfying conclusion in which our narrator wrestles with success of others.
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
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Kathe Koja is a writer, director and independent producer. Her work combines and plays with genres, from YA to contemporary to historical to horror. Her novels - including THE CIPHER, BUDDHA BOY, TALK, and the UNDER THE POPPY trilogy–have won awards, been multiply translated, and optioned for film and performance. She creates immersive fiction with a rotating ensemble of video artists, dancers, mu ...more

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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.”
More quotes…