Howe, James. Totally Joe.

Author:Rohrlick, Paula
Position:Brief Article - Young Adult Review - Book Review

HOWE, James. Totally Joe. Simon & Schuster, Atheneum. 208p. c2005. 0-689-83957-X. $15.95. J*

Howe continues the story of 13-year-old Joe, one of the protagonists of his fine novel The Misfits, in this "alphabiography." As an English assignment, Joe is told to write about his life over the school year from A to Z, with each alphabetical chapter ending in a "Life Lesson" to be shared with others. At first he thinks this is "lame," but soon he embraces the format and starts to reveal his life in short, funny, touching vignettes. As he'd be the first to proclaim, Joe is not exactly an average Joe: he's gay and comfortable with it, and in the course of the novel he acquires his first boyfriend and comes out to his supportive (and unsurprised) family. Joe's lively voice is charming and funny, and it's refreshing to get the point of view of a (mostly) happy gay character in YA fiction.

As in The Misfits, Howe's real topic is the devastating effects of intolerance, and...

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