Kings, Queens, and In-betweens

Kings, Queens, and In-betweens

Book - 2019 | First Simon Pulse hardcover edition
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Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother's unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town. Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests, and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be--one that can confidently express and accept love. But she'll have to learn to accept lost love to get there. From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colorful worlds that await when we're brave enough to look.
Publisher: New York : Simon Pulse, 2019
Edition: First Simon Pulse hardcover edition
ISBN: 9781534430655
1534430652
Branch Call Number: YF BOTEJ-T
Characteristics: 374 pages ; 22 cm

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ArapahoeJennieB May 29, 2019

This was a quick, and enjoyable beginning of summer/end of spring read.

I had hoped, with this being a novel written by someone who had done drag themselves, that they wouldn't fall into some of the tropes that straight authors fall into. Diedre, while completely wonderful and lovable, is also serves as the magical fairly drag queen that introduces Nima to the drag world, becoming her drag mom. Gordon serves as the archetype for the confused bully.....and it is here that the story gets a little muddled, as it is suggested that Gordon is trans and so is Diedre. Boteju does not take the time to explain the differences between being a drag performer and being trans, which is a very important distinction, and one I was hoping that a queer author would take the time to explore. I realize that the author themselves is not trans, but to not make the distinction between drag and being transgender is very disappointing.

*That being said, I did enjoy this book, but I expected better of the author and of a story that actually features AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) performers.

liljables May 27, 2019

This was a fun, summer-y read about a queer, biracial teen trying to find herself (aren't we all?). Nima's bad decisions - of which there are many - were SO realistic, and I really appreciated that; so many teen characters in contemporary YA are heroically sensible, but not Nima. I particularly appreciated the author's treatment of teen drinking as social lubricant - the reader isn't hit over the head with an anti-drinking message, but it's made quite clear that Nima is NOT at her best when partaking of liquid courage. I also loved Nima's relationship with her dad.

As per a lot of the reviews I've read, I do wish that some of the side characters were more fleshed out - many of them are one-dimensional archetypes; Nima's love interest, Winnow, is particularly Manic Pixie Dream Girl-ish, and her best friend Charles is woefully underdeveloped. But, since this is a debut novel, I have VERY high hopes for this author's subsequent work!

Tigard_LisaE May 11, 2019

This truly is an own voices narrative from and author who did drag herself before writing about Nima, a budding drag king. It's a fun introduction to a world that, to many people, is the only place they can be their true selves. Nima is a nuanced teenager who makes realistic yet frustratingly poor choices in her quest for both romantic and familial love. Many of the secondary characters are archetypes that lack depth and dimension- the confused bully, the nerdy best friend, the manic pixie dream girl, the fairy drag mother. However, it's an enjoyable story and a window into a world not often portrayed in YA fiction.

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OPL_KrisC Jun 04, 2019

OPL_KrisC thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over

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