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Freak Show Hardcover – Bargain Price, May 17, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 58 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, May 17, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 Huntington, New York Public Library
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Review

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

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (May 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525477993
  • ASIN: B001O2SDFM
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,563,492 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed St. James' previous book Disco Bloodbath, so when I saw this lovely little gem in my list of recommendations, I ordered it immediately. I finished it in 2 days flat (would've been sooner, if not for work and sleep and all that jazz.) The exploits of teen drag queen Billy trying to make it in a school full of uptight, straight-laced, super conservative rich brats had me laughing hysterically, groaning audibly, getting angry, even crying...rarely has a book elicited this much of a reaction from me. This story seemed like a mix of Mean Girls, Hairspray, Bruno, and even a little bit Napoleon Dynamite, all told with wit, humor and candor. It also sends a wonderful message about acceptance, not just of other people, but also of oneself. This book should be required reading not only for GLBT kids, but for anyone who has ever felt like they didn't belong (and quite frankly, who hasn't?)

I sincerely hope this becomes a movie. If it does, you better believe I will pull up to the premiere in a giant purple stilleto, decked out in my best SuperFreak costume and proudly waving my scarlet F in the air! EVER UPWARD, O FREAK OF NATURE!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Imagine "Disco Bloodbath" without the sex and drugs, and guess what? It's still a blast! This novel is a witty romp through the perilous high school world of one very special 17 year-old boy named Billy Bloom. It even has a happy ending, though not quite the one you might expect. I loved it. Tears, I'm telling you, TEARS WELLED!

Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland
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Format: Hardcover
whether you're gay, straight, bi, transsexual, transgender, young, old, or a little bit of everything, this book will change the way you think. i loved every minute of it. james st. james really knows how to evoke all kinds of emotions in the readers. i liked it better than party monster.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Billy Bloom may just be the most frustrating character in the history of LGBT/YA novels.

And yet, how could I not love him?

Billy is rich and oblivious. And extremely nelly. And a drag queen. At seventeen. Having been suddenly shipped to southern Florida by his crazy mother to stay with his grouchy, disapproving father in the family’s ancestral mansion, Billy suddenly finds himself in a snooty private school full of blond conformists and jocks.

Not the least of whom is Flip Kelly. Football star. Blond, blue-eyed. The whole nine yards.

But this arch, funny, harrowing and ultimately moving novel is really not about a gay teenager into extreme drag; it’s about agency. James St. James (irritating, assuredly fake name, but OK, I’ll just take a deep breath) has taken a standard LGBT/YA story about a sissy boy falling for a big gentle jock and turned it inside out.

Billy is clueless, but he’s also fierce.He is narcissistic but also kind. He is so oblivious he refers to the one girl in school who’s nice to him as Blah Blah Blah, until he finally learns her name: This is simply one step in Billy’s gradual apotheosis into self-awareness.

“The choice is yours.”

There is violence and teenage meanness of the worst sort in this book. But, as in other YA books, there is redemption and the genuine love of a few good people who literally save Billy’s life. But, in the end, it is Billy who takes charge of his own destiny.

“These moments are going to keep coming, and it’s how you react to them that defines you.”

“But God,” I asked, trembling, “how do I bring reason to the anger and chaos, when its reasons are hidden from me?” And God said: “You forgive.”

Inside the chaotic silliness that is Billy Bloom’s world, there is a powerful soul. It is about survival, not just to survive, but to make the world better with your own insane courage.

Really pretty remarkable.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a very funny novel about a drag queen in a conservative private high school in Florida. The main character is charming, his voice is unique, the pace is fast, and the writing is hilarious. After reading a lot of young adult novels, it was so refreshing to read this one. It really stands out from the pack.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
James St. James is definitely an individual among individuals. His writing style is fun and witty and his characters are lovable and free spirited. This is a nice, easy going read. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who has ever felt like an outcast or just a little different than the norm...
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Format: Hardcover
I have been a fan of James St. James for years. I had previously read Disco Bloodbath and watched Party Monster (both the Movie, and the Shockumentary). James St. James is awesome with words and has a gift of interpreting them. From the very first sentence of Freak Show, I knew the book was going to be over-the-top fabulous. I made the mistake of starting to read it right before I went to bed. I could not put the book down and as a result I only got 3 hours of sleep. I read the whole thing in one sitting. It was just too good to put down! I suggest that everyone read Freak Show. As strange as it is, one can also learn from the book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the humor and wordplay and inventiveness very much, laughed and enjoyed a lot of this book's literary qualities. However the corn-pone happy ending was a major buzz kill...as to me it hardly comes across as very honest. And I mean, what is the point of reading something? I don't want to just be treated to ... a lollipop or cotton candy or club kid fashion... Really his other book "Disco Bloodbath" aka "Party Monster" is in the end far far superior, in my opinion.
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