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336 pages, ebook
First published June 5, 2018
“You’re thinking about it the wrong way. Maybe you don’t have to fit in with them, maybe you have to make space for yourself.”
I was so excited for this book, and I wish I enjoyed it more... it wasn't that I disliked it, necessarily, than just kind of tired at some parts. A lot of the dialogue and thought between the main characters just kind of felt like the rants we have in our head and/or articles we read about cultural politics today; comparisons of privilege, who's better off than the other, here's all the ways we're discriminated against for being gay or confident in ourselves... and these are all good things to think about, absolutely, but this is more of a book that you throw at someone who's off in their own little world and doesn't understand/think about these things already. I already read about and think about these things a lot, and I just felt bored. The same old ramblings that I have and read with others on a regular basis, not once, but several times throughout the book.
I did not care for another case of "our gay best friend isn't out yet, let's make him more comfortable by taking him out to drag shows!" I never really liked this concept to begin with, and especially now it feels tired and outdated. I feel like I'm in the minority part of the LGBT community where I think it's time to just let drag go/be its own separate thing. I don't feel like it's good representation, I feel like it's problematic and transphobic, and I don't know if the author is in the LGBT community or not, but I could tell she was trying to do good with it... but I guess for me, it's personal when I read the word "queer" thrown around, regardless of whether someone is LGBT or not, it's a sore point with me. And given the diversity of the community in these times, I just don't understand how drag still fits in, and I don't like how it's assumed that every gay boy is automatically interested in it.
All that aside, it's a quick read, brings up some good points, shows a lot of social issues regarding being Muslim and how racist people will react to their existence, whether outright or a microaggression, and issues that people also face from their Muslim family members for not being desi enough. I think it's an entertaining book, as well as thoughtful, and a good choice to put out there both for kids to see themselves in its pages, and for others to learn about different communities that they might not think much about.