By Kathe Koja
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), Hardcover, 9780374309985, 128pp.)
Publication Date: March 2003
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How to survive being good
Like a flashback memory, he’s there in my mind: skimming up the stairs at school, his sloppy old T-shirt big as a sail, red tie-dyed dragon T-shirt, who wears stuff like that? No one. Jinsen.
The kids at Edward Rucher High School call Jinsen “Buddha Boy” and condemn him as a freak. With his shaved head and perpetual smile, Jinsen certainly doesn’t help matters when he starts begging for lunch money in the cafeteria. So when Justin is paired with Jinsen for a class project, he plans to get done with it as soon as possible, and climb right back into his safe social niche. Then Justin discovers Jinsen’s incredible artistic talent and becomes curious about his beliefs. But being friends with Buddha Boy isn’t simple, and Justin is forced into a cruel contest with the jocks who just can’t seem to leave Jinsen, or his artwork, alone.
Kathe Koja introduces an unforgettable young man who will remind readers of the true meaning of friendship and demonstrate how to draw strength from the little gods inside each of them.
Kathe Koja is the author of Straydog, which Booklist called “a searing, beautiful book for young readers.” She lives in the Detroit area.
"Koja accomplishes quite a feat...A compelling introduction to Buddhism and a credible portrait of how true friendship brings out the best in people." -- Starred, Publishers Weekly
"A marvelous addition to YA literature." -- School Library Journal