Totally Joe

Totally Joe

by James Howe
4.0 54

Hardcover(Library Binding)

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Totally Joe by James Howe

Meet Joe Bunch. Lovable misfit and celebrity wannabe from Paintbrush Falls, New York. Like his longtime best friends Addie, Skeezie, and Bobby, Joe's been called names all his life. So when he's given the assignment to write his alphabiography -- the story of his life from A to Z -- Joe has his doubts. This whole thing could be serious ammunition for bullying if it falls into the wrong hands.

But Joe discovers there's more to the assignment -- and his life -- than meets the eye. Especially when he gets to the letter C, which stands for Colin Briggs, the coolest guy in the seventh grade (seriously) -- and Joe's secret boyfriend.

By the time Joe gets to the letter Z, he's pretty much bared his soul about everything. And Joe's okay with that because he likes who he is. He's Totally Joe, and that's the best thing for him to be.

Here is an exuberant, funny, totally original story of one boy's coming out -- and coming-of-age.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439569276
Publisher: Baker & Taylor, CATS
Publication date: 11/11/2008
Pages: 189
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (, an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at

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Totally Joe 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
As an English class assignment for his seventh grade class, Joe writes an 'alphabiography' - the story of his life from A to Z. In the process Joe finds the courage to come out as gay to his parents and friends, to deal with school bullies, to find not one, but two boyfriends, starting a Gay/Straight Alliance in his school and so much more. It is truly rare to find a positive voice for young gay kids (and their family and friends). Joe comes across as just a normal young teen. Joe is no hero, he's just himself. totally Joe. Joe's life lesson for parents :" Love your kids. Let them play with Barbies. Let them pick out the stuff in their bedroom (Hello). And don't tell them that 'people like that' make you uptight, because for all you know your kids could be 'people like that' as well." Out of the mouth of babes... An excellent book for all young teens (and pre-teens) who are gay or lesbian or are unsure; (or even those whose friend or family member might be). I'm glad I met Joe. I'm sure you will be too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book in one day- I couldn't put it down. Joe just seemed so much like a real person, I wanted to find out more and more about him and his life. I recommend this book to anyone- gay or straight- because it shows you how you should just be yourself, whoever you are and it helps you to understand how, if we just try, we can overcome all of the discrimination.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Totally Joe is the fictional "alphabiography" that middle school student Joe Bunch is asked to write for a class. Joe's writing reveals him to be personable, funny, and optimistic. Much of his "alphabiography" addresses the opposition he faces as a gay student. Throughout history, people have tried to dehumanize or demonize suppressed groups in order to justify their discrimination. This book does an excellent job promoting respectful treatment of GLBT individuals by humanizing them. Young adults of any sexual orientation will find Joe Bunch extremely likable and exuberant. The book helps young heterosexual people to realize that young people that are gay are people too. This book is also excellent for young people who are battling with their sexuality. They may be able to relate to the trials that Joe faces and find hope and help in how Joe handles those situations. Though some of Joe's problems may be solved a little too easily, this book still raises awareness of problems pertinent to young people's experience in twenty-first century schools, such as bullying, name-calling, and intolerance.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a wonderful take on just how hard it is to be a kid these days. I may not be gay, but he makes me understand him so I don't get lost in all the delightful writing. This book is worth reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, joe does get romantically involved with a boy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so great and incredibly real! Joe is such a postive representation of the struggle of finding who you are and where you fit. I think it is refreshing to see a book with a young character coming out as gay. It is more common of a topic than some may realize and Joe is a good rolemodel that children, young adults, and beyond can relate to and appreciate.
Darrell_T More than 1 year ago
Three stars for Nook format, pulled up to four stars by an eminently readable story. In dead-tree format I would give it five stars. I haven't read The Misfits; based Totally Joe I plan to. I definitely want to read more about the Gang of Five. Unfortunately, the Nook does not handle footnotes. At all. So the last sixth of the book (on the Nook) is the footnotes from the first 5/6 of the book, one footnote per page, with no connection between a footnote and the point in the body of the story where it is referenced. This may be a limitation of the e-book format, but it makes some (relatively minor) aspects of the story nearly inaccessible. Buy this book! Joe Bunch is a totally engaging main character, and the book left me wanting to know more about each of the members of the Gang of Five. But buy it in print - the e-book format just doesn't work in this case.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tim-Mouthy More than 1 year ago
James Howe's Totally Joe is written in the form of an Alphabiography (a biography in which each chapter is represented by a different letter of the alphabet) written by the main character, Joe Bunch, for a school project. Through it, we gain an intimate into the characters innerworkings. The reader is allowed the privilege of watching an especially charismatic young man form his sense of self which is hindered by his closeted homosexuality but even more so by his tormentor, Kevin Hennessey. I especially enjoyed reading this book. I was enveloped by the story and ended up reading it in one sitting. It is a great story and on top of that it is chock full of morals. Totally Joe is the sequel to the book, The Misfits, that inspired No-Name Calling Week. Appropriately, the theme of tolerance plays a prominent role in this story as well. I would recommend this book to most everyone. The only possible objection I could see someone having to this book is the fact that the main character is gay. In my opinion, that is a rather trivial point to object to because the message the story conveys is enormously important.
Sarah_SVSU More than 1 year ago
This novel is a very entertaining look into the life of a homosexual 12-year-old boy. Joe has written an "alphabiography" for an assignment in his writing class. Going from A to Z, he describes the many things in his life that take place between October and March. The trials he faces for being a gay teenager are presented in a very realistic way. The acceptance he longs for in his family and the community are relatable to all teens. Also, it is a good YA novel to show the power of individuality and a character that has enough strength to stand up for what he believes in. The novel has some interesting characters that add depth to the story and present the different struggles with being a pre-teen in school today. I would recommend this book for all ages to study the struggle of acceptance in society.
ColeR_English254 More than 1 year ago
When I looked at this book, I thought I was going to be diving into another typical teenage romance ordeal. The back cover certainly didn't help because I was on the train of thought that "Joe" was just a shortened girl's name. This was derailed once I finally got a few chapters in; Not only did I find the writing very cute, the alphabetography fun, and Joe's train of thought amusing, but I also found that "she" was a "he", and that Joe was a homosexual. I may be biased for gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals, so I don't know how legit I can be for writing about this book. I really felt that everything JoDan went through was very spot-on for how kids react even in this day and age, particularly the bullies and name-calling, and thus a lot of readers would be able to relate. To know that there are parents out there that are understanding to these situations can be what brings a young boy or girl out of the closet and into a world of self-confidence and respect, and I think that is very important to a young adult. I personally feel Totally Joe would be a great addition to a classroom's reading choices, not just because it deals with such a common ordeal, but because it also sorts out the effects of name-calling and things of that sort. There's no reason why it shouldn't be allowed -- Schools should not associate with a particular religion or belief. Then again, I also feel that I would make the worst teacher in the world, which is why I am certainly not going into the field. I really loved the themes in this book, and it brought to light a lot of different things that go around in schools. I thought all of the characters were very memorable and fun, and even the little romances made me go, "Aww." Totally Joe is a book I will be keeping around.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book gave me a better look on gay poeple becuase it shows that no matter how big, how small, or whether they want a boyfriend or a girl firend we're all the same. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How do you come out to your parents or other relatives if they might not like it? I am only 12 but I am serious about it. I have thought about if I am gay for almost a year and am ready to tell people. More than one answer is appreciated! Reply to @rainbowflagg.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So this book is the sequal to another great book "The Misfits" also by James Howe. This book describes how the main character Joe finds himself. He has 3 friends who have been through thick and thin with him. Two of his friends are dating and he has a crush. But Joe is gay and he is scared to tell his parents. This book is great; I couldnt put it down and neither will you. You will totally enjoy this boys journey and will admire how he is so fine with being himself even when he is being bullied for it. He figures he is who he is and thats that. Totally Joe. : )
APaul More than 1 year ago
Totally Joe is the remarkable story of the teenage boy, Joe Bunch. James Howe does a superb job of discussing the many bumps in which the road of puberty is paved with. This book is written from the first person perspective of Joe in the form of an alphabiography, this is an assignment that Joe was given by his teacher. Joe's quest to be accepted is a universal concept to teenagers and adults alike. In addition to this struggle, Joe is also trying to understand his place in life as a same-sex oriented individual. This book also shines light on teenage bullying and the importance of a support system. This book is a page turner and will keep readers entertained from start to finish.
KellyL_ENG254 More than 1 year ago
Totally Joe was very insightful. The creativity behind this story was intriguing and made it an easy read. Joe's humor and his story made me look forward to turning every page. The subject is a sensitive topic, however, I feel the way that James Howe presents it makes it easy to understand and appreciate. Some readers may feel uncomfortable simply because of the topic, but that should make them read it even more to understand and create tolerance with homosexuality. Totally Joe shines light to very prevalent issues in schools such as, homosexuality or just diversity in general, and bullying. This story was a great read and I would recommend it to everyone.
dJones More than 1 year ago
This is a very good story for all ages. I know it says only up to 13 years of age but this book helped me remember who I was. It teaches so many thing going through this young kids life that many forget about as they grow up.

I recommend this book for ALL AGES!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is a sequel to the misfits book, that is my favorite book. It starts that Joe like Collin and Addie like him too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is the best book ever!!!! this book let me show people that i can be a lesbian
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was drawn to this book from the cover, but what inside is so much better. This book is so unique, from the alphabiography to Joe's green high-tops. I recommend this book! Read it! Its amazing, and so interesting. One of those hard to put down books.:)))
Guest More than 1 year ago
i loved this book. its one of my absolute favorites. i read it over and over and over agan, and realized that this book really has all the pros and cons about teen issues and life. this book diserves a 10 point rating, but 5 will do for now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Joe Bunch is gay. Joe Bunch is lots of fun. Joe Bunch is a teenager. Joe Bunch is... well... totally Joe. With a voice completely of his own, Joe is quite content with who he is. He deals with his emerging sexuality, the bullies in school, the general disapproval of gays - and brings out lots of life lessons for all of us. (I liked this one the best: 'Religion is as good as the people using it'). Overall, great book! read it, it may help you solve your problems.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it was over just fun. The point of view is very dramatic and interesting. I loved the format of the story and I could relate to a lot of the situations that Joe Bunch talked about. Great book! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joe and Colin seem like a good couple!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago