For the May Queen
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For the May Queen

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  63 ratings  ·  34 reviews
It's 1981 and 17-year-old Norma Rogers' parents drop her off at the college dorms. Soon, Norma finds herself drunk and nearly naked with three strangers. The strip poker event is the first of many experiences that prompt Norma to question who she is-and who she wants to be. Norma's relationships with an array of characters induce her to grapple with society's messages abou...more
Paperback, 309 pages
Published September 10th 2008 by Vanilla Heart Publishing
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Oct 17, 2012 Nancy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Nancy by: Kate
It is 1981. Norma Rogers is 18 years old, a college student, and on her own for the first time in her life. As someone who was only a year older than Norma in 1981, I can relate to having too much freedom, too many choices, and not enough guidance. “If it feels good, do it” was definitely the motto of life in the 80’s. Or at least it was for many young people at that time.

Right from the beginning, I was drawn into Norma’s life – the parties, the friendships, the joy, the struggles, and the sadn...more
Oct 24, 2008 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: books-by-kate
Okay, I know my rating's not fair since I wrote this book. But I wrote it out of love for these characters, so I can't give them anything less. If you like edgy, fun-to-read, coming of age type stories, you'll probably dig this. Norma's kind of like Holden Caufield with a sex change.

You can read the first chapter here:

For book club questions go here:
Collin Kelley
I had the pleasure of reading "For The May Queen" while Kate was still sending it around to publishers. I loved much so that I agreed to write a blurb for it:

"The 80s were all about drugs, alcohol and casual sex, and Kate Evans deftly conveys the uncertainty of the era as her feisty Norma Rogers leaves a sheltered home life and dives headfirst into a series of hedonistic adventures at college, including falling in love with Chuck, who just doesn't seem to be that in to her. The clever di...more
Oct 23, 2008 Cyndi rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Cyndi by: Kate Evans - Chicks on Lit Group
Shelves: read-in-2008
I really, really enjoyed this book. Having not made it past the local community college, which was more a continuation of high school, I have always wondered what it would've been like to have gone off to school and lived in a dorm. Kate's book really gave me what I had been looking for.

Through reading some of this book, it felt like I was in the room with the characters. Kate has a way of making them all seem so real, I'm sure each of us has had a Stacy or Liz in our lives.

Thank you, Kate for...more
I started reading For The May Queen disliking the title and cover. That’s an early and easy prejudice to get through. The title made sense after I read the line of the song it had been taken from, referring to lyrics from Stairway to Heaven. I especially didn't like the cover photo. The model didn't look young at all, with dowdy looking clothes she looked about thirty years old, staring at a wilted flower. I would have preferred a photo of a punked up looking rock girl with a stoogie and attitud...more
AJ Paris
Oct 24, 2008 AJ Paris rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who like pop culture who grew up in the seventies and eighties
For the May Queen
A Novel by Kate Evans

If you liked Paul Fieg and Judd Apatow’s short-lived but critically acclaimed series Freaks and Geeks, then chances are you will enjoy Kate Evans’s new novel, For the May Queen. Peppered with nostalgic homages to the late seventies and early eighties, this debut novel follows lost but liberated Norma Rogers through her freshman year at Sacramento State. Norma comes from a loving home, not unlike the Brady Bunch’s quirky suburban enclave (sans four siblings...more
Sep 22, 2008 Bev added it
Move over Holden Caulfield --- there is finally a female character who is not afraid to tell us what it really is like the moment you leave the safety net of your home and your parents’ inquiring eyes. For the May Queen by Kate Evans is a powerful new debut fiction novel that is destined to secure a place in bibliophile mania, equal to that of Catcher in the Rye. I did something I rarely do and that is fell in love with Norma Jean Rogers, the central character after reading the opening lines. By...more
Oct 01, 2008 Robin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
I just got this book 2 days ago in the mail and I stayed up almost all night last night finishing it off!!! It's addictive and I don't really know why, maybe it is because the characters are so great and funny, maybe because there's one turn after the other and just have to keep turning the pages to find out whats next. You keep wondering whats going to happen to Norma and you keep feeling like there are some secrets lurking somewhere but you're not sure exactly whats going to pop up.

Then when...more
This book was hilarious and touching at the same time. I loved the characters. I meant to read just a few chapters, but I couldn't put it down and read the whole thing in two sittings.

It takes place in 1981 in college dorms. That makes for a very fun yet tension-filled setting, especially when all these young people don't have any boundaries about what do with their bodies. It's like Hedonism 101 is their most important class. Yet, it's not an easy class to pass. They have to figure out how to...more
The setting of For the May Queen by Kate Evans is dorm-life culture in the early 1980s, focusing on drinking, drugs, and sex prevalent in such a context. As a 60-year-old woman who came of age in the late 1960s, I admit to feeling a sense of disturbing recognition as well as powerless disappointment as I read, particularly during the first 2/3rds of the story. And yet Evans presents this as a valid context for a rite of passage without minimizing it as a societal problem.

And she employs a wry s...more
Oct 17, 2008 Sydney rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Sydney by: the author, Kate Evans
Norma is about to embark on the the most intense year of her life... her freshman year of college. She will experience love and hate on levels she has never known existed. Intense friendships unfold as she lives apart from the safety of her parents home for the first time.

Though this book is set in the early 80s, it resonates clearly today. Norma discovers freedom in her freshman year and learns with that freedom, you need a healthy dose of responsibility. There's no one to make sure you go to c...more
Chelle Cordero
Nov 14, 2008 Chelle Cordero rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Chelle by: Kimberlee Williams
Having commuted to college while living in my parents' Bronx apartment, I never got to experience dorm life although I didn't miss out on many parties. But I did send both of my kids off to dorms some 30 years later.

Reading Kate Evan's vivid descriptions, i have to admit I cringed several times wondering - and then deciding maybe I'm better off not knowing (for sure).

Kate's writing is so real, you can get totally absorbed in the story. You can experience the carefree freedoms and the heartrendin...more
Oct 28, 2008 Kristie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kristie by: Kate Evans, author via Chicks on Lit
Shelves: 2008
WOW!!! It's been a very long time since I gobbled up a book like this one. I read it in about 8 hours (maybe less). This book is the type that you sit and read and the next thing you know, you're 50 pages in.

The characters in this book are VERY easy to relate to. If you don't know a Chuck, a Norma, a Liz, or a Stacy, you know someone that knows one. From the first word of the first sentence, I was captivated by Norma. Although my dorm experience was very different, I could totally relate. I coul...more
Thrust into a world of dorm parties and unbridled liscence, Norma must look beneath the surface of others, and thus herself. Is she a high schoolish academic good girl? A college student who parties and gets wasted every night? Or does she have hidden talents beneath her multitude of surfaces? As she asks herself these questions, torn between her atraction to writing and the endless temptations surounding her, she learns to understand and love those around her, and thus, herself. A wonderful boo...more
Honestly.....this was a REALLY good book. Thank you so much Kate for sending it to me and letting me have this awesome experience. And it truly was an experience. I felt as if I were going back in time to when I was 18 and 19 and god even 20 and all the crazy things my friends and I did. Kate sincerely captures "the college experience" and by doing so also captures how everyone felt at that age. Its a book about life and love and learning. I loved this book....I highly recommend it.
Oct 22, 2008 Jan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone but parents of college freshmen
Witty and engaging, this debut novel from Kate Evans is a page-turning good read about sex, love and sexuality in a freshman dorm. An awful lot of the action takes place under the influence of drugs and alcohol, to a late-seventies, early-eighties soundtrack. I remember the songs, but where were all the good substances and promiscuity in MY dorm?
College-age Norma takes you on a wild romp through the 80s as she searches for her place in a world that is bigger than she ever imagined. Raw. Real. Poignant.
A fun and quirky coming of age tale that takes the reader on a journey through college life in the 1980s.
This book is Great! I couldn't put the book the down! So entertaining! Must read!
Ellen Young
A young woman goes off to college and lives it up in the dorm, drinking a lot, having sex with whoever she likes at the moment, falling in love and losing her way academically. And that's not such a bad story! Kate Evans handles this realistic material deftly and honestly. What I most admire is how she lets her characters be true to themselves. The emotion is genuine, and the way the characters interact in this maelstrom of dorm life is very well-drawn. (I remember wanting everything to be INTEN...more
Jan 25, 2009 Namid rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!!!!!
Recommended to Namid by: Kimberlee Williams
What an interesting story. This wasn't at all what I expected, but in the best way possible. It is a true coming of age story, and shows us how much we grow and learn as human beings. With descriptions and events beyond compare, this is a BEAUTIFULLY written story. The end is especially touching. A wonderful book!! :)
Oct 31, 2008 Akajerrygarcia added it
Recommends it for: Californicators
A very fun read, characters were very believable, and I was able to read very fast. For me, shorter is better, having ADHD, it is difficult for me to stay with a task for very long. I also am familiar with setting since my oldest daughter was considering Sac State for her college experience.
Gary Shapiro
Listen to my great conversation with this author:
This is one of the most readable books I've had my hands on in a while. I read it in almost one sitting, and I am not a fast reader (or a long sitter for that matter, these days).

The most refreshing aspect of the book is its accessibility. Reading the novel, I actually felt like I was sitting in the same room with the characters, part of their conversations, in conversation with them.

It's a coming of age story in a particular time ('80s) and place (Bay Area, Cali). However, For the May Queen su...more
Lisa Allender
May 29, 2009 Lisa Allender rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all women, men, especially LGBTQ
If you survived high-school and college in the 1970's or the 1980's, then you'll get all the references in Kate Evans' sexy romp of a novel.
"For The May Queen"--the title is a line from a famous rock anthem--will surprise you with twists you'll never see coming.
It's a thrill ride with all your ex-boyfriends(or girlfriends), and just when you think you've gotten away with something wicked and fun, you're forced into being accountable. Ms. Evans never telegraphs how you should feel about a charact...more
Interesting book, well written. I can say my college experience wasnt like this at all, but the questions Norma faces are the questions I think most girls struggle with at that age.
It will be interesting to see what this author does next
Fenixbird SandS
Nov 07, 2008 Fenixbird SandS marked it as to-read
Recommends it for: college transitions
Recommended to Fenixbird by: Kate
Looking forward to reading this book...fantastic reviews by these authors (i just read them on Kate's blog

Jane Pupek, Martha Engber, Patricia Valdata & Colin Kelley
May 29, 2009 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Highschoolers who will be going to college soon.
I read it in college, though I feel as though I should have read it in highschool. It is an easy read and keeps you wanting to turn the page to experience the main character's life as a freshman.
Aileen Murphy
I found Norma annoying at first, but I grew to love her and relate to her 80's experiences. A good quick read!
this book is good. it feels comfortable being inside norma's head, and her selfishness and obliviousness are endearing and real, she is just a good character. her feminism is really fresh and not heavy-handed -- this is a book that is very much about feminism and sex positivity without ever spelling it out, and i liked that. another good thing about it (that i liked, at least) was the time period of the early 1980s... i am not sure i have ever read fiction set specifically in this time, and i gr...more
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My husband and I decided to leave home to live a traveling life; three months later I had a seizure and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. My forthcoming memoir--THE FOOTHOLDS WILL APPEAR: AN ODYSSEY OF LIFE, LOVE, SEX AND SPIRIT--tells this story.

I am the author of two novels ("For the May Queen" and "Complementary Colors"), a poetry collection ("Like All We Love"), and a book about teaching, ("N...more
More about Kate Evans...
Complementary Colors Like All We Love Negotiating The Self: Identity, Sexuality, And Emotion In Learning To Teach Rethinking Preparation for Content Area Teaching: The Reading Apprenticeship Approach

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