Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Black Flamingo” as Want to Read:
The Black Flamingo
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Black Flamingo

4.42  ·  Rating details ·  655 ratings  ·  154 reviews
Fiercely told, this is a timely coming-of-age story, told in verse about the journey to self-acceptance. Perfect for fans of Sarah Crossan, Poet X and Orangeboy.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen - then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we
Hardcover, 360 pages
Published August 8th 2019 by Hodder Children's Books
More Details... Edit Details

Win a Copy of This Book

  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
    The Black Flamingo
    Release date: May 26, 2020
    A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, from acclaimed UK poet and performer Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth ...more

    Format: Print book

    Giveaway ends in: a

    Availability: 5 copies available, 1542 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Mar 17 - Apr 14, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

  • Friend Reviews

    To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

    Community Reviews

    Showing 1-30
    Average rating 4.42  · 
    Rating details
     ·  655 ratings  ·  154 reviews

    More filters
    Sort order
    Start your review of The Black Flamingo
    Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: owned, queer
    who else did not know they needed this drag queen origin story??

    I first saw Dean Atta talk and read at a poetry event in Berlin. I had previously read his poem "How to come out as gay" in the queer anthology Proud (that you should definitely read cause it's perfect and super gay) and couldn't believe my luck when I found out that I would be able to see him perform live. The reading was fascinating and Dean's poetry touched me deeply. He has a way of stringing words together that just made me
    Emer (A Little Haze)
    I haven't loved verse novels in the past. I have found them hard to connect to...
    Until The Black Flamingo.

    Men are sand castles made out of pebbles
    and the bucket is patriarchy: if you remove it,
    we fear we won't be able to hold ourselves
    together, we pour in cement to fill the gaps
    to make ourselves concrete constructions

    This book is truly beautiful.
    It's about understanding your own identity and knowing that you are the one in charge of the terms and conditions of such.

    He is me, who I have
    Aug 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A beautiful coming-of-age story about a gay biracial black boy as he find his voice through poetry and drag.

    For me, it's always a breath of fresh air to read about marginalized characters who are not from the US. Yes, Michael is British, and it's not difficult to find stories set in England, but stories about marginalized characters in contemporary are overwhelmingly American. In this story, you'll see Michael come to terms with what it means for him to be British and Jamaican and Cypriot; to be
    Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I wish literature like this had been around when I was younger.

    A Bildungsroman about Michael, from childhood to fully flocked flamingo, we follow the ups and downs of coming out at school, first crushes, first high heels, first drag. All told through verse. Its beautiful, powerful and executed perfectly. I fell completely into Michaels world and the rollercoaster that was his life. The words wrapped me up in Michaels story and made me care for him and his family and friends more than some 500+
    Lucy Powrie
    A beautiful, seamless verse novel about growing up, coming out, and finding your place in the world. The powerful words are enhanced by Anshika Khullars thought-provoking illustrations. Amazing! ...more
    CW (The Quiet Pond) ✨
    Raw, vulnerable, and fierce, The Black Flamingo is a coming-of-age poetry book I'll probably never ever forget. Wow, what a book!!

    - Follows Michael, a mixed (Jamaican and Greek-Cypriot) Black teen, as he grows up from a young child to going to university, and how he navigate the intersections of his identities and incredible moments in his life.
    - I'm marveled by how this book explores so many things so tightly without compromising an iota of depth and emotion. This book is packed with emotive
    Jane (whatjanereads)
    I have the worst headache today because I started this last night and couldnt put it down.
    I loved it!

    Its written in verse, which I didnt know before I started it, but its so beautiful and perfect for this story.
    All the feels for this story and Mike. Go read it.

    Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing

    I honestly picked this one up last minute at YALC. I had met Dean Atta the day before and was immediately in love.
    However, I have never really been into poetry.
    I always felt like they were a bunch of pretty words put together to maybe rhyme but most of all sound good.
    "The Black Flamingo" is the first time that I could ever really connect with a piece of poetry, a novel written in verse.

    Now I have to say that I'm neither black nor a cis-man. I will never 100%
    Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    RTC, but let's just say I adored this, and I already can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy and reread it and put sticky tabs all over it.

    CWs: physical abuse, absent father, racism, homophobia, drug use, alcohol consumption, bullying, toxic masculinity
    Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favourites
    Michael, the main character in The Black Flamingo, deals with racism and exclusion. Michael learns how to find himself as ever since a young age he has not been a male stereotype. With expectations about who hes meant to be, Michael joins a drag group and fits right in, although he knows its okay to stand out. ...more
    Lauren James
    Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: lgbtqia, ukya, poc-author
    A beautifully written, empathetic look at a young boy searching for who he really is. Absolutely wonderful.
    Kate (GirlReading)
    This is without a doubt one of the most beautifully portrayed coming of age stories Ive ever had the pleasure of reading. It delves into the nuances of self discovery, acceptance, expression and identity in such an endearing and accessible way. I was truly captivated, so much so that I devoured this in one sitting, unable and unwilling to put it down.

    TW: racism, homophobia, homophobic slurs.
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: young-adult, poetry
    I reread the book in March 2020 because I found the audiobook on Audible read by the author. *Highly recommend!*

    There are so many passages I want to quote from *The Black Flamingo*, a book I picked up after it was awarded The Library Association's Stonewall Award last month.

    And friends, let me tell you, it's so good! So affirming of gender and sexuality identities, of the beauty in being different, of owning your body.

    "The Black Flamingo looks in the mirror of the salt lake's surface and
    Robin Stevens
    Dec 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    A beautifully-crafted, heartfelt verse novel - this is a stunning debut from Dean Atta. (12+)

    *Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
    Megan Ashcroft
    Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: young-adult, lgbt
    Definitely recommend, a beautiful story about identity and self-discovery!
    Stacey (prettybooks)
    Note: I read this for the YA Book Prize 2020 (I'm one of the judges, hooray!).
    Nenia ⚡ Aspiring Evil Overlord ⚡ Campbell
    A YA about drag??? YES PLS
    So who is The Black Flamingo? asks Katy with genuine curiosity.
    I reply,
    He is me, who I have been, who I am, who I hope to become. Someone fabulous, wild and strong. With or without a costume on.

    Actual rating: 4.5☆

    Calling this book a coming of age story might be a simplification, because despite being a coming of age story The Black Flamingo is so much more.

    Told in verse, The Black Flamingo follows Michael in his journey towards becoming himself. Michael is a boy who believes he doesn't fit
    Alfie Rowland
    Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    I was unfamiliar with Dean Attas work until I read Stripes Proud anthology earlier in the year and his contribution of How To Come Out As Gay was absolute standout for me. Its probably one of the only poems that has ever spoken to me and made me cry (Im not poetically cultured). When I saw that he was bringing out a full length novel told in verse I knew I had to have it thank you to my friend Bella who gave me her early copy.

    The Black Flamingo follows Michael a half Greek-Cypriot, half
    Oct 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Shelves: favourites
    Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan South Africa for sending me a copy of this freaking beautiful masterpiece!

    I want to start off with, this book is amazing! I have not read many books written in verse, but I love poetry and have desperately been wanting to get more into it. So this book is entirely written in verse, and it was so good!

    We follow our main character Michael and we watch as he grows and develops throughout childhood all the way to college, grappling with familial struggle, internal
    Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
    Michael, the main character, has had male stereotypes and expectations thrust on him his whole life but, when he attends university and discovers the drag club, he finds the people he best fits in with.
    "Black Flamingo" contains lots of messages about gender, identity, self-discovery, acceptance of everyone etc. It is written in verse form and is a great read.
    May 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    "Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers - to show ourselves to the world in bold colour."

    And this verse novel does all of that and more. Beautiful, bold and brilliant.
    Eleanor Grace
    Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    This book was so beautiful and powerful. So glad I picked this up, even though its totally different from my usual reads. I loved it wholeheartedly. ...more
    Vivek Tejuja
    Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    I got to know of this book as it was long-listed for the Jhalak Prize (which is a prize given to the book of the year by a writer of colour), for the year 2020. Luckily, I received a review copy from the good folks at Hachette India and I finished this book in one sitting. I think a lot had to do with the fact that the book is written by a queer person, so it became so relatable, and I often found myself either crying or smiling.

    The Black Flamingo is the story of Michael half-Jamaican,
    Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    So beautiful and powerful! I need to spend some time reflecting before writing my thoughts down!
    Circus Hufflepuff Rosa
    Feb 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
    This book is soooo good!
    It is a coming of age, coming out, race, verse novel!
    So good!

    Tom (T.J. Reads the Stars)
    A really powerful introspective coming out story which discussed some really important topics such as identity, internalised racism, homophobia and masculinity. However, the book felt very self-indulgent to read at times and my main issue being that the relationships between the characters were not as in-depth as Dean Atta was clearly trying to make them. This may have been an unfortunate result of the often restricting verse format. Nevertheless, so glad this books exists and it has an ...more
    Mary Adeson
    Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: young-adult, glbt, poetry
    The Black Flamingo is a bonus book, its a coming of age novel where you experience Mikey spreading his wings to define his identity. Plus Atta has provided poems in the form of extracts from Mikeys notebooks, I felt as if I had a front row seat witnessing Mikey discover his voice. Not to mention to the artwork through the characters.

    My favourite scenes are from chapters Barbies and Belonging and Glitter Ball. In the respective scenes Mikeys mother explains the importance of never accepting

    Beth, BooksNest
    Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Michael's story is told by Dean Atta through prose of beautiful poetry, displaying his character perfectly in artists forms across the pages of this book. Michael is a mixed-race, gay teen living in London with his mum and sister. He is figuring a lot out about himself and really coming into his own. We join him from age 6 to being at university and see many of his joys and struggles along the way. 

    This book perfectly reflects the painful feeling of liking someone who doesn't like you back, of
    Janelle Dazzlepants

    What a beautiful fucking love letter to black queer kids and drag artists everywhere!!!

    Im mixed but not black, so I cant speak to the black queer experience. Nonetheless, elements of Michaels family dynamic and that discussion around half-ness really resonated with me. This book perfectly navigates that sense of otherness and lack of cultural/social capital you feel as a mixed kid when you visit the motherland and see your family (for me its Samoa,
    « previous 1 3 4 5 next »
    There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

    Readers also enjoyed

    • Lark
    • Becoming Dinah
    • Girl. Boy. Sea.
    • Toffee
    • Gloves Off
    • Rose, Interrupted
    • The Deepest Breath
    • Wranglestone (Wranglestone, #1)
    • High-rise Mystery
    • Somebody Give This Heart a Pen
    • Chinglish
    • Where the River Runs Gold
    • The Boxer
    • Clap When You Land
    • Heartstopper: Volume Three (Heartstopper, #3)
    • The Deathless Girls
    • Proud
    • Date Me, Bryson Keller
    See similar books…
    Dean was shortlisted for the Polari First Book Prize for his debut poetry collection, I Am Nobodys Nigger. His poems have been anthologised by Bad Betty Press, Emma Press, Stripes Publishing, Team Angelica and have appeared on BBC One, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and Channel 4. Dean was named as one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK by the Independent on Sunday. He regularly ...more

    Related Articles

    Sometimes it seems hard to make time for those things you really want to do more of, like our favorite activity: Reading. ...
    152 likes · 239 comments