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Drag Teen

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,279 ratings  ·  317 reviews
A fantastic, fabulous, funny YA debut from Jeffery Self, one of the gay icons of the YouTube generation, that follows one high school student on a drag race to his future.

Debut YA author Jeffery Self takes us on a road trip with an insecure high school senior who has one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The problem is, he
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published April 26th 2016 by Push
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  1,279 ratings  ·  317 reviews

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jv poore
Remember the first time you released your inner-most self? Knowing you, to your very core; adoring and admiring that person so much it had to be celebrated---the joyful, buoyant feeling had to be released, good vibes to everyone. Imagine being in that moment when a hate-filled, bitter person brings contempt so tangible that the light is smothered; the joy stolen. Because most of us have experienced that, it is almost intuitive to empathize with JTs predicament.

His parents do not support his
shady boots
Let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, there was a little gay kid who loved to sneak into his mother's bedroom to slather on her ruby lipstick; who loved to slip his feet into his older sister's strappy high heelsthat he could barely walk in, but gave him such a rush when he wore them; who would take T-shirts and wrap their necklines around his head so he could fling them around like wigs, and wrap towels around his body like they were red carpet couture. He would prance around his room then,
Mariah Roze
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 so I am rounding it up to a 4. I really wish Goodreads would make half ratings!

I picked up this book because I am a teacher, so I try to read as much YA as possible. However, I am just like a student because I picked up this book because I thought the cover looked really cool.

The main character was an insecure high school senior who had one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The book starts off with him having trouble trying to find a way to
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, ya, fiction
This is probably like a 3-star book but I'm awarding a bonus star because I like to feel pandered to, and I know my Drag Race-loving teens will also enjoy feeling pandered to by this.

It's a little cut-and-dried--the setback/solution formula of the roadtrip, the realizations that everyone has their insecurities and yet everyone is beautiful in their own way...but it's got some pretty good jokes and some A+ drag teen names.

Solid pick for teens looking for fun queer fiction where nobody dies!
Frank Phillips
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Listened to the audio book and would recommend it over reading, if possible. A very cute, fun ride of a book. I loved it and if you're looking for some light, fun reading I couldn't recommend it more!!
Online Eccentric Librarian
Dec 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, ya
More reviews at the Online Eccentric Librarian

More reviews (and no fluff) on the blog

Although I enjoyed Drag Teen, I admit to feeling somewhat ambivalent about the story and characters. The themes that emerged were: dealing with weight issues and hiding who you really are (whether through a drag persona, not being true to oneself, or radically remaking yourself to be different than who you were in the past). It all felt so shallow - especially considering how many really good LBGT books came out last
Apr 10, 2016 marked it as to-read
RuPaul's Drag Race literally gives me life. I binge-watched the first six seasons on Netflix in literally three weeks almost two years ago, and it became one of my favorite realities. I've had the pleasure of going on lots of amazing performances by my favorite queens this past year. So am I excited about this? HELL YEAH!!!! Please let it be as awesome as it sounds!
Nurhayati Ramlan
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites

That scene with JT and his parents outside of the Drag Teen peagent had my eyes all teary up. I love this, a lot! Cheers to the journey of discovering and loving yourself. <3
This book was a hot mess and I LOVED it. The beginning was a bit rough and I was about to stop because I was over the characters after chapter one but I continued because a) drag queens b) no, really drag queens c) did I mention drag queens?

Anyway, after the first few chapters it started to pick up and then the hot the mess that is this book really started. I loved the variety and ridiculousness of these characters. I loved all the drag references. I loved the road trip. I loved all the
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. Parts of it felt a little clichéd, or cheesy, but it was amazing. As a fairly recently out queer woman, the book really captured what it was like to feel like an outsider, even in what is supposed to be your community. Definitely a book I'd recommend reading.
I'm always a little leery of authors that also do their own audio, but holy cow - Jeffery Self's narration was amazing.

Hilarious adventure and lovely tale of finding oneself.
Kylie Kaemke
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
When I started Drag Teen I had just finished up Kissing In America by Margot Rabb, so I was on a road-trip-to-win-a-scholarship kick; which is okay with me! Im always down for a good road trip story, and while Drag Teen is less road trip and more and more self discovery Jeffery Self still delivered everything I was expecting to find in this book.

Its a great friendship story, as well as a relationship story. The MC had a lot of self-pity in the beginning, and that got a little redundant, but as
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
Even though I love drag and am an avid fan of Drag Race, I know that as a 37 year old cis lady, I am not this book's target audience. That being said, I found it fluffy and sweet and would not hesitate to recommend it to others. Party!
Trigger warnings: homophobia, fatphobia.

3.5 stars.

So here's the thing: I'm trash for RuPaul's Drag Race. Obviously I was going to read this book. And I sped through it in one sitting. It was fun, it was cute, it was enjoyable. But at the same time, it was very very simple. There's an easy solution for every challenge that JT comes across. There's no real depth to any of the characters. Everything is a little too quick, a little too surface level. But sometimes, that's exactly what you want.

Jun 17, 2019 rated it liked it
A fun book about self-discovery through drag.

J.T has never felt more himself when he dresses in drag. Sadly, the one time he did it at his school's talent show, he was mocked and ridiculed in the worst ways possible. When his boyfriend finds a scholarship contest involving a drag show, J.T ultimately decides to risk it. He wants to go to college and the scholarship is the only way to get out of his small Florida town. Throughout this journey, J.T. learns several things about his friends and
May 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
Would be 100% better if Heather, the fat best friend, were not portrayed as so disgusting, desperate for masculine attention and always spilling food on herself. The book does a decent job representing the kind of casual misogyny that is sometimes understood to be okay within the gay community, but the characters never really call anyone on this or apologize to Heather for how shitty it must be to bear the brunt of this while trying to support a friend. A cute, light read that has so much ...more
Jun 02, 2016 rated it liked it
JT has aspirations of leaving his small town in Florida and become a drag superstar. His parents barely notice him and his best friend Heather has her own problems with her weight. And his boyfriend Seth is perfect...too perfect and surely he will realize that he can do much much better than JT. But regardless, Seth inspires JT to travel on a road trip with himself and Heather to New York so that JT can enter a drag competition that will allow him to get a scholarship. Along the way, they ...more
A funny and off-beat book about acceptance and self-belief.

Also, road trip!!
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: listened-to, 2018
Drag is armor, darling. No matter how you look at it. Once I become Bambi, nobody can hurt me. Not my family, not the drunk assholes at the bar, nobody. A good lace-front wig and the right contouring are as strong a bulletproof vest as Ive ever needed.

This was perfect for some good gay YA fiction where no one dies and my heart didnt get constantly broken into a thousand pieces. Instead its just a great story of discovering and becoming your true self, even if that means youre different than
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Jeffery Self tells a lovely coming-of-age story, combining a drive to leave one's home town and a road movie narrative with the fabulous world of drag. The main character, JT, his boyfriend Seth and female best friend Heather find a way for JT to go to college far from his Florida heritage: win a Drag Teen pageant in New York City. The process becomes a journey, which leads to a feel-good triumph - although not in the way one expects. The energy of the drag scene and the surprises propel the ...more
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
A YA novel centered on a gay teen where the plot doesn't revolve around accepting their sexuality or having a crush.
This is a fun road trip story about a teenager who loves drag and hopes to win a competition in New York to earn a scholarship. The characters are fun and bright and most of the mishaps along the way feel genuine. One character in particular is a bit too much of a benevolent fairy godmother but other than that the book is a legitimately enjoyable and refreshing read.
Aug 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely a fun read, but not the best!
Jun 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: ya
Sweet story, but very predictable. I could see exactly where it was going. Cute though, and extra points for inclusiveness.
Anneliese C
Oct 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-nine-weeks
JT is a gay 17 year old boy that loved being gay the only thing that he didn't love was his body, which meant that he was fat. He worked at a gas station in the middle of town. He had a best friend since 1st grade, Heather, and a boyfriend for 3.5 years ,Seth. His parents weren't his biggest fans so he went to an alternative his dead nana that was his idol. His dream was to be a drag queen. One day his boyfriend came over with a present it was a brochure for a drag completion to win a ...more
Stacy Fetters
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
"I want to do something different. I want to live in different places. I want to see the world and be somebody."
Sometimes you just need to step back and take a break. Lately, I have been reading about teenagers being posessed and killing one another as they lose their minds and bite someones ear off (Merciless... check it out) I needed to come back from hell and land in a safe place. Lift my spirits and put on a damn fabulous wig. Strut my stuff and belt out 9 to 5. And Drag Teen was the next
Krista Ivy
I adored this book. It has wonderful flow and isn't nothing but angst. It's YA where the leads are struggling with only a little bit of who they are and are not all 'woe is me, I should kill myself; I'm so lost'. It's fun. They have come to grips with their sexuality. The big deal with this is that the three leads have their own insecurities to get over. They think that they are not good enough. It's the whole: "I'll never be loved because I'm fat."
"I don't deserve him because he's a 10 and I'm
Kaleena Menke
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
5 stars because it was easy enough to read that I READ A BOOK IN 2017!! (Noteworthy because that may or may not have happened in 2016. Ooops) This stinkin' book has seen more travels as it got hauled with me on just about every trip I took in 2016. I'm sure the book will be quite content to live out it's book destiny collecting dust on someone's bookshelf (or possible in a recycling bin because of all the water damage it's endured).

As far as YA fiction? I enjoyed it but I'm pretty sure 14yo me
Jesse Nicholas
Thank you PUSH for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

I unfortunately at this time have to DNF at 66%. This story is just not for me. I wasn't able to connect with any of the characters or story-lines within the book. I just can't force myself to continue reading it.

I hope other readers find some entertainment and joy from reading this book, and that my decision to DNF the book doesn't sway theirs.
Caroline Fosse
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt
A book with a gay main character with a lot of RuPaul references, what more could you want? I enjoyed the characters, the plot and the surprising end. A really quick, easy and fun read. (And let's just talk about the characters loving RuPaul's Drag Race!!)
Hazel (Stay Bookish)
Actual rating: 3.5

Adored the ending! This was a delightful read with a bright, vibrant and diverse cast.
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Jeffery Self is a writer and performer based in Los Angeles. He recently co--wrote and starred in "You're Killing Me", a feature film distributed by Wolfe Releasing. He was the co-creator and star of "Jeffery and Cole Casserole" on Logo (with Cole Escola). He has appeared in various television shows such as 90210, Difficult People, Hot In Cleveland, Shameless, and 30 Rock. He has produced/written ...more

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