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Freak Show
     

Freak Show

4.2 30
by James St. James
 

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Soon to be a major motion picture with Bette Midler, Laverne Cox, and Abigail Breslin

"Freak Show has it all. It's hilarious, sad, sexy, and glamorous—just the way life should be."—Perez Hilton

"Gutsy, funny, over-the-top Billy Bloom is a profile in courage."—The Washington Post

Meet Billy Bloom, new student at the

Overview

Soon to be a major motion picture with Bette Midler, Laverne Cox, and Abigail Breslin

"Freak Show has it all. It's hilarious, sad, sexy, and glamorous—just the way life should be."—Perez Hilton

"Gutsy, funny, over-the-top Billy Bloom is a profile in courage."—The Washington Post

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.

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)
From the Publisher
Readers will relish his conversational voice, naughty humor, celebrity put-downs, unabashed exuberance, and ALL CAPS expletives.
-School Library Journal, starred review

In Billy Bloom, St. James has created an archetypal hero for outsiders and freaks.
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780525477990
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/17/2007
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.12(d)
Lexile:
660L (what's this?)
Age Range:
13 - 12 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
Readers will relish his conversational voice, naughty humor, celebrity put-downs, unabashed exuberance, and ALL CAPS expletives.
-School Library Journal, starred review

In Billy Bloom, St. James has created an archetypal hero for outsiders and freaks.
-Publishers Weekly, starred review

Meet the Author

James St. James lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Freak Show 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Cazie96 More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
J_NewtoNook More than 1 year ago
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.
melissaIvory More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definutly read this if youre looking for something different. Party monster is amazing too.... and true!! I also highly recommend the party monster movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing. It made me laugh until I cried and I wished I was best friends with the characters. I totally recommend it.
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DNE12 More than 1 year ago
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.