Freak Show [NOOK Book]

Overview

Meet Billy Bloom, new student at the ultra-white, ultra-rich, ultra-conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy and drag queen extraordinaire. Actually, ?drag queen? does not begin to describe Billy and his fabulousness. Any way you slice it, Billy is not a typical seventeen-year-old, and the Bible Belles, Aberzombies, and Football Heroes at the academy have never seen anyone quite like him before. But thanks to the help and support of one good friend, Billy's able to take a stand for outcasts and underdogs ...
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Freak Show

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Overview

Meet Billy Bloom, new student at the ultra-white, ultra-rich, ultra-conservative Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy and drag queen extraordinaire. Actually, ?drag queen? does not begin to describe Billy and his fabulousness. Any way you slice it, Billy is not a typical seventeen-year-old, and the Bible Belles, Aberzombies, and Football Heroes at the academy have never seen anyone quite like him before. But thanks to the help and support of one good friend, Billy's able to take a stand for outcasts and underdogs everywhere in his own outrageous, over-thetop, sad, funny, brilliant, and unique way.


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Editorial Reviews

Elizabeth Ward
Gutsy, funny, over-the-top Billy Bloom is a profile in courage.
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

As big a splash as St. James (Disco Bloodbath) made on the Club Kid circuit in the 1980s and '90s, his entree into the YA world may prove to be equally fraught with controversy—and over-the-top fabulousness. Billy Bloom, a scrawny, pale redhead, plays the novel's underdog and champion—a 17-year-old for whom the phrase "drag queen" is scarcely sufficient. Frenetically narrating with a tongue seemingly dipped in both acid and silver, Billy recounts his abrupt transplant from life with his mother in Darien, Conn., to Fort Lauderdale, where he now lives with his wealthy and distant father. Billy finds himself a high school senior enrolled at the Eisenhower Academy, populated with "Stepford teens in full preen. In your choice of blond or blonder." St. James pulls no punches in describing the escalating verbal and physical abuse Billy suffers at the hands of his classmates. On a day when he comes to school outfitted as a primeval swamp queen ("This is not a dress, it's an ecosystem"), Billy's peers so brutally attack him that he goes into a coma. Yet he finds an unlikely ally in the gorgeous and universally adored football player Flip Kelly. Rather than leave the academy, Billy takes a stand for outcasts everywhere by running for homecoming queen, and attracts statewide media attention. In Billy Bloom, St. James has created an archetypal hero for outsiders and freaks. Though the subject matter and language will likely prove controversial, it's nearly impossible to remain untouched after walking a mile in the stilettos of someone so unfailingly true to himself and so blisteringly funny. Ages 14-up. (May) Agency: World of Wonder.

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
VOYA - Kimberly Paone
Billy Bloom has just moved from liberal Connecticut, where he lived with his unstable but usually fun mother. He now lives with his very serious and not fun at all father in a conservative Florida town. Billy is a teenage drag queen. Needless to say, his new classmates, the Barbies and Kens at Dwight D. Eisenhower Academy, are shocked to see Billy on the first day of school-sashaying in a ruffly pirate ensemble. They also do not appreciate his goddess of the swamp gown or his pink-and-green country club clam-diggers and matching sweater set. This introduction begins a painful new year for Billy-starting with spit balls and rude whispered taunts and ending with a beating that puts him in the hospital. Billy's physical wounds heal, he gains a new friend along the way-hunky quarterback, Flip-and he decides to run for homecoming queen. One can imagine the chaos that ensues. St. James knows of what he writes; he is the author of Disco Bloodbath (Simon & Schuster, 1999), which was made into the 2002 movie Party Monster. Although this first effort for teens is noble and Billy is a loveable but sometimes clueless character, the book is more A than YA, a tad too drawn out and containing many references to '80s pop culture that today's teens just will not get. But because readers have not seen anything like this book in YA lit and if a collection's other GLTBQ books circulate, this one probably should be added.
School Library Journal

Gr 9 Up
Teenage drag queen Billy Bloom explodes onto the conservative scene at Eisenhower Academy, where he finds love and a band of blond sadists. St. James tells the oldest story in the book, the one where an outcast seeks the homecoming crown, only this time a queen wants to be Queen. Billy's bold, bawdy narration makes Freak Show not only cohesive but also immensely entertaining. Readers will relish his conversational voice, naughty humor, celebrity put-downs, unabashed exuberance, and ALL CAPS expletives. Beneath the sequins, feathers, and foundation, Billy nurses an ardent desire for acceptance. Teens will quickly identify with his worries and needs, even as he dons lip gloss and a beehive wig. Billy shirks labels (he calls himself a "Gender Obscurist"), and this book also refuses to be defined by sexuality. Yes, Billy falls for another boy, and yes, they do kiss. Teens will find this romance fresh and fun, but they will also enjoy exploring complicated issues of empowerment, bigotry, self-esteem, and fear. Freak Show visits these difficult regions of adolescence with gracious candor and humor. More buoyant than weighty, this book flows as a fast-paced, snarky story of high school horrors. Mature readers will love St. James's playful rendition of a conventional American tale.
—Shelley HuntingtonCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Kirkus Reviews
On the first day of school, Billy Bloom arrives on the scene decked out in full Vivienne Westwood pirate regalia, complete with tights, pearls, a sword, gold teeth and a Cap'n Crunch hat. He's an artist, a rebel, a metamorph and self-described gender-obscurist-the first and, to date, the most lovably entertaining and fully realized of his kind to grace the first-person protagonist role of a YA novel. To say that he's out of his element at his new high school-in a Stepford-ish, swampy, podunk Florida town-would be an understatement, and he's met with the to-be-expected slew of verbal torments from his classmates. Soon the homophobia escalates to violence, and, after recovering, he devises a plan to barge his way straight through the close-minded hearts of his community to Prom Queen notoriety. His platform? "Tease hair, not homos," and "Gender is a choice, not a life sentence." Only St. James, an artist not unlike Billy, could compose such an accessible, deliciously outrageous, machine-gun barrage of bitchy, button-pushing drag queen humor packed with snarky innuendos and tongue-in-cheek one-liners. The results? A groundbreaking, eye-opening, romantic, bittersweet story of one boy's determination to seek acceptance for who he is and right the wrongs of his world, one dress at a time. (Fiction. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440651557
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 10/2/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 239,911
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • File size: 533 KB

Meet the Author

James St. James lives in Los Angeles, California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 29 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(19)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    I Adored it!

    I've always been a gigantic fan of James St. James's and this book is so WONDERFUL! I love how it's written and it's so easy to relate to, even if you aren't a drag queen. I just love it. Five stars plus a thousand invisble ones!!!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2009

    OMG! FABULOUS!

    This book is great for any teenager ..EVERY TEENAGER ! AND EVERYONE WHO USED TO BE! Youll Laugh. youll cry. you'll go to the theater store and buy liquid latex and spearmint gum. James st James is the best of the princess diaries and harder to put down than a bag a fritos. i hope they make the movie.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    MAJORLY Fab!

    This book makes you look at yourself, really look at yourself, and others around you. James St. James made me relize we're all freaks and that's the greatest part! When I first took a look at this amazing read, I found it freaky. But as I read on it was OMG FABULOUS! It has a bit of bad language, but EVERY TEEN SHOULD READ THIS! You'll laugh, cry, and won't be able to put it down 'till your done! The story had a fairytale happy ending, the perfect book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2009

    "Tease hair, not homos!"

    Billy Bloom will capture your heart with his quirky sayings and his radiating personality. You will find him FABULOUS! James St. James writes an extremely different but wonderful take on high school love. I am still repeating Billy's silly sayings in my head about Gilmore Girls and cheerios on his face. I will for sure be reading this book again!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    HOLY UNCLE PETE THIS IS THE BEST BOOK EVER

    J St James tackles a subject that other authors whould run from. The whole story is about bravery, the bravery of Billy Bloom and the bravery of the author. Billy Bloom becomes your new best friend when you read this book as you enter his hilarious world. I'll never foget him and i can't wait to read this book again and again.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2007

    Best Book Ever

    I just loved this book. Not only was funny, but it was touching as well. James St. James captured the character, Billy Bloom, in such a way that i was able to simpasize with him when at the first appearence i was skepticle. Just buy this book. I am sure that you will read it multiple times! I myself have read it four times, and plan on reading it again. James St. James is jsut a fantastic author. I hope they make the movie.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2007

    Skrinkle

    This book was incredible. The humor is great and James St. James just had a wonderful writing style, read his other book....Disco Bloodbath, he's got some great stories to tell and a very refreshing point of view voiced in his writing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 14, 2013

    Definitely worth the purchase!

    This is my second time reading this book and it gives you a little bit of everything. There's good humor, sadness and triumph. The writing style is very conversational and is written in a strong first voice from a dramatic teenager. That being said, it's still very enjoyable as you come to love the main character. A great story of a gay, gender-bending teen trying to make his way in a new environment with universal themes. Love it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read this book and felt so much for the beautifully wonderful

    I read this book and felt so much for the beautifully wonderful writing and the utter affluence that Billy has over people who can understand him.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2012

    Hilarious, a unique read

    Definutly read this if youre looking for something different. Party monster is amazing too.... and true!! I also highly recommend the party monster movie

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2010

    :)

    This book is absolutely hilarious! One of my favorites by far. It's very witty and cleverly written. I recommend this book to all my friends

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 11, 2010

    Calm Down

    I honestly did not like this story at all. The writer seemed to have too much energy and tried putting in too much detail. Half of the time I couldn't tell if the main character was lying or telling the truth. Everything in the story seemed so far fetched and unreal. With every page I read I became more annoyed. The main character Billy was like that annoying kid at school that just won't shut up. I wouldn't recommend anyone to reading this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.com

    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 month-long recuperation period. During this time, Billy develops a deep friendship with Flip Kelly, the star and golden boy of the high school.

    Flip, the one who saved Billy from the angry mob of students and whisked him to the hospital. Flip, who is feeling the pressure to be the best from his family and the entire school. Flip, the guy Billy falls head-over-heels in love with.

    Billy relates his experiences at Eisenhower Academy with brutal honesty and laugh-out-loud humor. His decision to run for Homecoming Queen proves to be a true test of his character, strength, and resolve. Billy's message of tolerance and acceptance is important for everyone to hear. After all, "Gender is a choice, not a life sentence."

    No matter your gender persuasion, FREAK SHOW by James St. James is a delightful story of bravery, trust, love, and friendship. So put on your tiara and platform shoes and settle in for a FABULOUS ride.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Gay Guys

    I thought that this bokk was a weird but it also taught you that you can find yourself no matter who you are and how you feel about yourself when you find yourself.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2009

    do you like gay guys?

    I thought that this book was pointless in a way. I dont like reading about gay guys so i did not like this book. if you dont like gay guys i would advise you not to read this book. it is disterbing. billy bloom is a freak show along with his gay partener. not the best book and i would not recomend reading it.

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2007

    kiki123

    i did not like this book at all. its slow going and not a fun or enjoyable read.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 29 Customer Reviews

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