Synopses & Reviews
The kids at school call Jinsen Buddha Boy”he wears oversize tie-dyed dragon T- shirts, shaves his head, and always seems to be smiling. Hes clearly a freak. Then Justin is paired with him for a class project. As he gets to know Jinsen and his incredible artistic talent, Justin questions his own beliefs. But being friends with Buddha Boy isnt simple, especially when Justin realizes that hes going to have to take sides. What matters more: the high school social order or getting to know someone extraordinary?
"Koja (Straydog) accomplishes quite a feat with this novel narrated by high school sophomore Justin: she explores the tenets of Buddhism via an unlikely friendship between two classmates. Justin does not understand the odd behavior of transfer student Michael Martin, why he has a shaved head and begs for his lunch ('Like a monk, you know?' says Michael). But after a teacher pairs Justin with Michael who goes by 'Jinsen,' his spiritual name for a project, he begins to gain some insight into Jinsen's actions. The author cleverly structures the novel as a flashback, even as events unfold chronologically, so that readers can benefit from Justin's newfound knowledge of Jinsen's spiritual practice. For instance, the second chapter begins with a brief explanation of 'karma' ('Karma means that what you do today, and why you do it, makes you who you are forever: as if you were clay, and every thought and action left a mark in that clay... but there are no excuses,... no I-didn't-really-mean-it-so-can-I-have-some-more-clay'), allowing Justin to circle back to this idea throughout the narrative. Koja convincingly paints Justin as 'somewhere in the middle' of the high school social strata, so that when he takes a risk for Jinsen, who is taunted (called 'Buddha Boy') and physically threatened by his classmates, readers see how far Justin has progressed in his own self-realization. A compelling introduction to Buddhism and a credible portrait of how true friendship brings out the best in people. Ages 12-up. (Nov.) " Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
A compelling introduction to Buddhism and a credible portrait of how true friendship brings out the best in people. (Publishers Weekly
, starred review)
A compelling tale of friendship and of finding oneÆs own inner strength. (VOYA)
A compelling tale of friendship and of finding ones own inner strength. (VOYA)
Condemned as a freak at his high school, Jinsen, called "Buddha Boy" by his classmates, is paired with Justin for a class project. While Justin discovers Jinsen's artistic side, he is forced into a cruel contest with the jocks who won't leave Jinsen alone.