Cannonball Read IV Book 3: Totally Joe by James Howe

I hated that the soldier doll had my name. I mean, please. I didn’t play with him much. He was another Christmas present from my clueless grandparents. One time when they were visiting, my grandpa asked me if G.I. Joe had been in any wars lately. I said, “No, but he and Ken got married last week.” Every Christmas since then, my grandparents have sent me a check.”

Joe Bunch is one of the group of four from The Misfits. Joe’s teacher has assigned an “Alphabiography” in which his students have to write a biography, each chapter starting with a letter of the alphabet. Joe is a gay pre-teen and is very accepting of himself. However, he has to deal with the jerks around him who are not as accepting. The story takes us through the months of October through March of 7th grade and the story of his first relationship with another boy, coming out to his parents, and really coming to terms with who he is.

I didn’t like this one as much as I liked the Misfits but, still, I thought it was good.  Howe is really good at character development. I grew to really like Joe when reading about him in The Misfits, (from the perspective of  Bobby). It was really wonderful to see the world through the eyes of Joe. I would recommend this book to kids in 5th to 7th grade.

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