Thursday, March 1, 2012

Totally Joe by James Howe

I hope everyone is experiencing a productive first day of March. I finally have begun the first edits on my YA novel, Michaela’s Gift, and the adrenalin is flowing around here. However, I’m still taking time to read.

I don’t know why the last three books I’ve picked up at the library have all been boy books, but that’s the way it turned out. It wasn’t anything I planned. I usually go to the new books section in the children’s area and sort through the meager choices until I find something I haven’t read or that looks interesting. I guess that says something for great, eye-catching cover art.

Totally Joe, by James Howe, was a surprising read. I didn’t think I was going to like it. It’s written as a type of journal, or an alphabiography, I think is how the MC refers to it. The young boy, who is nearing his thirteenth birthday, has been given an assignment by his English teacher, and the book is the daily details of his life over a period of several months.

As I said, I didn’t think I would like it, but the writing was so poignant that I was sucked right into it, and the style worked perfectly for the unfolding of the story. Through the kid’s journal entries we learn about the relationships he has with his family and his close group of friends, who call themselves The Gang of Five, even though there are only four of them. They’re all a bunch of misfits, but together they make a remarkable team of, if not exactly superheroes, then at least I would classify them as world-altering powers. They managed to change their world, at least.

It’s an enjoyable read, and I highly recommend it.


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