Reading guide for I Am J by Cris Beam

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

I Am J

by Cris Beam

I Am J
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Mar 2011, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2012, 352 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Cindy Anderson

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

Discussion Questions

  1. Describe J. What makes him a dynamic character? Is he the type of person you would want to befriend? Why or why not?
  2. How would you describe J's family? Are they in any way similar to your own? If so, in what ways?
  3. In I Am J, fear both motivates and incapacitates J. Consider how he deals with his fears. In what ways does he acknowledge them? Is he able to turn to others for help? What are the consequences of his reactions?
  4. What are your earliest impressions of J's best friend, Melissa? Do you find her to be a good friend? Using textual examples, support your position.
  5. How would you characterize the relationship between J and Melissa, and how does it change over the course of the novel?
  6. Explain the significance of the title, I Am J. In what ways does it accurately describe the events and relationships portrayed in the novel?
  7. After being attacked on the subway, J vows to become a "genuine freak." Coupled with the constant misunderstandings of his sexuality, how does this experience serve as a catalyst that drives J to reinvent himself?
  8. J's mother tells him, "You can learn to love the life you're handed." Do you agree with her assessment? Why or why not?
  9. In what ways is J's life similar to Melissa's? How are they different? What are some of the unique challenges faced by each of them? Do you think one has a significantly easier life? Explain your answer.
  10. J uses his photography to help make Melissa better understand him. Consider the photograph he stages to share with her; how is this image symbolic of who he is?
  11. Compare the parent/child relationships in the story: J and his mother, J and his father, and Melissa and her mother. To what extent are the relationships of these characters shaped by the world around them? To what extent do their relationships shape that world?
  12. After a relaxed portrait session with his parents, J thinks, "I want to remember them like this." To what extent do you think J understands how the bond between he and his parents will be changed?
  13. In your opinion, does J's new school provide him the support he needs? What are the advantages and disadvantages to attending a nontraditional school?
  14. Describe J's relationship with Blue; in what ways are his actions "typical" of a player in a high school romance? What does he ultimately learn from this failed relationship?
  15. Throughout the novel, readers witness the complexities of the various relationships among the characters. Consider whose relationship seemed most similar to one of your own personal relationships. What about it reminded you of your experiences?
  16. Consider the novel's cover. In what ways is the image symbolic of the events that transpire throughout the course of the book?
  17. Blue tells J, "You've probably never wanted to be anything different than what you are." Given that readers fully understand the irony of her statement, why might Blue have such an opinion of J?
  18. J's obsession with getting on "T" is indicative of his emotional state; do you think he will be satisfied in the end? Why or why not?
  19. Consider Melissa's dancing, Blue's painting, and Jay's photography. What role does art play in the lives of each of these characters? In what ways does it allow them to express their vision of their world?
  20. Using the phrase, "This is a story about…" supply five words to describe I Am J. Explain your choices.


Click for a PDF of the full educator's guide including a list of resources

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book:
  Transgender Teens and Bullying

Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Stalin's Daughter
    by Rosemary Sullivan
    "There is something fatal about my life. You can't regret your fate, though I do regret my ...
  • Book Jacket: A Certain Age
    A Certain Age
    by Beatriz Williams
    Lovers of high-society gossip, there's a new set of players in town. A good 20 out of 23 of our...
  • Book Jacket: The Romanovs
    The Romanovs
    by Simon Sebag Montefiore
    The Romanovs chronicles the reigns of the 20 individuals who were considered members of that dynasty...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Falling
    by Jane Green

    "Readers who enjoy a love story with heart will adore this tale of homecoming and transformation." - LJ

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
The Fair Fight
by Anna Freeman

A page-turning novel set in the world of 18th century female pugilists.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!