Addie on the Inside

Addie on the Inside

(Part of The Misfits)
For Ages: 10 - 14
  • 5
In this “artfully crafted” (Publishers Weekly) companion to the bestselling The Misfits and Totally Joe, Addie Carle confronts labels, loss, and what it means to grow up.

The Gang of Five is back in this third story from Paintbrush Falls. Addie Carle, the only girl in the group of friends is outspoken, opinionated, and sometimes…just a bit obnoxious.
But as seventh grade progresses, Addie’s not so sure anymore about who she is. It seems her tough exterior is just a little too tough, and that doesn’t help her deal with the turmoil she feels on the inside as she faces the pains of growing up.
Told in elegant, accessible verse, Addie on the Inside is a thought-provoking look at a strong, smart, and sensitive girl struggling with the box society wants to put her in. Addie confronts experiences we can relate to: the loss of a beloved pet, first heartbreak, teasing…but also, friendship, love, and a growing confidence in one’s self.
  • Atheneum Books for Young Readers | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416913849 | 
  • July 2011 | 
  • Grades 5 - 9 | 
  • Lexile ® NP
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Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Addie on the Inside

by James Howe


For Addie Carle, seventh grade means her first real boyfriend, DuShawn, and a chance at popularity. But on the inside, she’s still passionate about her causes—especially tolerance and no name-calling.  And she can’t quite put the social stuff ahead of her convictions. Dating DuShawn and being (kind of) part of the “cool” crowd may become casualties of her outspoken idealism. Despite the hurt, Addie comes to realize that she needs to be herself. This powerful verse novel companion to The Misfits and Totally Joe lets readers see inside the surprisingly soft and uncertain soul of perhaps the most outspoken “Gang of Five” member, Addie.


1.     Addie on the Inside is a novel written in verse—a group of poems that, together, tell a story. Have you ever read a verse novel before? Describe what is different about reading a verse novel instead of a traditional prose novel. What does verse lend to Addie’s story?

2.     To whom is James Howe addressing the prologue, which begins Addie on the Inside? Why do you think he does this? 

3.     Who are Addie’s best friends? Why are they her best friends? What character see more

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About the Author

James Howe
Photograph by John Maggiotto

James Howe

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (, an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at