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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  1,710 ratings  ·  427 reviews
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
Hardcover, 374 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon Pulse
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  1,710 ratings  ·  427 reviews

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Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)
This took a bit to get into but I don’t think I stopped smiling for the last 100 pages. Delightful, messy, and perfect. I cannot wait to see what Tanya Boteju writes next.
Larry H
Jun 16, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars.

Tanya Boteju's debut novel, Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is an unabashedly charming book about finding yourself and being true to who you are. It's a book with humor, sensitivity, and so much heart, and it definitely left me with a smile on my face. (It's much less conspicuous to smile on a plane while reading rather than cry your eyes out!)

Nima Kumara-Clark has just finished her junior year of high school, but she doesn't see much excitement on the horizon this summer outside of
Julie Zantopoulos
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arc, read-in-2019
*This arc was provided by Simon Pulse via Netgalley in return for my honest review.*

"With each passing moment, I'd get that feeling you sometimes have the moment you're about to flip the final page of a really good book, when your anticipation for what happens next overwhelms you, but you also know that turning the page means you're closer to an end. This was a story I didn't want to end."

I kinda didn't want this story to end because saying goodbye to such vibrant, leap off the page, characters
I loved the depiction of drag, the first blush of meeting other queer people, and exploring your place in the LGBTQ community. At times this YA about little awkward baby dyke Nima really brought me back to that period in my life. I loved the supportive adults in Nima's life: her hippie dad, lesbian family friend Jill, and drag mentor Deirdre. But: the plot about her mom who's abandoned her was underdeveloped and the characterization of Deirdre was confused: she's constantly referred to as a drag ...more
madeline ♡
Feb 09, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: lgbtqia

did someone just say biracial queer girl because THAT’S ME AND I’M ALL FOR IT.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is a contemporary story following Nima Kumara-Clark, a biracial Sri Lankan lesbian, as she learns the benefits of going out of her comfort zone through the local drag scene.

I have read a lot of queer books, but none of them prominently featured drag performers. In this novel, the main character, the love interest, and various side characters have been drag performers at some point. With every year we get more YA books about so many different sides of the queer expe
Ivy Moore
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: came-soon-18-19
Full review:


Overall, I really enjoyed Kings, Queens, an In-Betweens. It was a diversely queer novel, with a fairly original concept and uniquely real characters. Tanya Boteju has a lot of talent, so her future is infinite. My hope for Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is that it can at least change some people’s mindset regarding the benefits of drag, and introduce young people to a new art form they didn’t know they needed. Rating: three/five

For fans of
Everything about this book was good, but not quite polished enough for me. My main issue is that not much actually got resolved and left me wondering why the book stopped where it did...

Not every plot point of a story needs to be resolved, but most of the interesting ones we spent time going through in this book ended up not being even slightly talked about.
Mostly the mother's story but also Gordon's.
I am VERY interested in getting proper explanations about what's up with them, the repercussi
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
CW: homophobia, homophobic slurs, bullying, parental abandonment

I picked this up on a whim having no expectations whatsoever and ended up loving it SO MUCH!! This books fills my heart with so much joy because of the wonderfully awkward and shy lesbinan black main character who opens up little by little, the inclusivity of it, the drag scene, the found family aspect and even the romance!!! Everything about it was so good and heartwarming
Maybe an “it’s not you, etc. etc.” type read for me, but I really struggled to get into this. I think I need to come to terms with the fact that, with rare exceptions (God bless you, The Perks of Being a Wallflower), I can’t do YA contemporary. Even if there’s drag in it. ...more
Feb 12, 2018 marked it as to-read
holy shit? am i reading this right? a desi girl whos queer? this has HIGH hype for me now even though i know NOTHING about drag so this will be interesting
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
Ugh, this book took me soooo long to get through! (I guess you could say it…dragged. Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

When I first heard about this book, I knew it was a must-read for this year's Pride Month. You don't come across many, if any, books about drag culture in YA. And not only were we getting a book about drag queens, but one with drag kings as well, which also isn't seen or discussed too often in mainstream LGBTQ+, so I was doubly excited to learn more about drag kings. Also, just look at
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
this book was mostly sweet, but also, in parts, very frustrating. spoilers below, but generally: if you're looking for a pretty standard coming-of-age tale, and an #ownvoices story about realizing who you truly are and who you belong with, definitely check this one out! it's very queer and very big-hearted and warm.

-will i read more by this author? yes, definitely, because #ownvoices stories are important, and i think most people will have issues with their debut. but there were some things i f
Jesse bowtiesandbooks
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: diverse-reads

Nima's life closely resembles a wildfire. She's in love with a straight girl, her mom split (leaving both her and her loving, goofy dad), and she's bored to death with her life - but when a chance encounter with a dazzling drag queen sends Nima head first into the drag scene, Nima discovers just how incredible - and complicated - life can truly be.


Are there even enough "wows" or "stars" for this book?! Besides the jaw dropping cover which is *truly* fab, I fell in love with
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019, lgbtq
This was a enjoyable and fluffy debut from an author I am looking forward to reading more of.

Here we meet Nima, a young woman trying to expire her identity and her past in a sleepy town. It’s not an original concept by any means, but the plot was so soft and made me smile that it was enjoyable albeit coasting along at times.

The storyline just seemed to be hurried along a little too much for me, everything happened to quickly and nothing was explored regarding sexuality and identity as deeply as
May 26, 2019 rated it it was ok
More of a 2.5 star rating. I want to say that my rating doesn't mean this book was bad , I just though it was O.K and didn't get the enjoyment I wanted to from it. I think The Final Empire wrecked me a bit. I felt like I needed more.

Carrie (brightbeautifulthings)
I received a free e-copy through NetGalley from the publishers at Simon Pulse. Trigger warnings: homophobia, slurs, gender dysphoria, alcoholism, violence, bullying, abandonment, underage drinking, underage romance, vomiting.

Nima is tired of her boring life in small-town Bridgeton, tired of crushing on a straight girl who will never like her back, and tired of waiting and wondering why her mother abandoned her and her father over a year ago without a word. When she wanders into a side tent at a
Stella ☆Paper Wings☆
4.5 stars
Ugh, yet another unreviewed book that slipped through the cracks. I'm just going to write out everything I can remember about this little gem. I was surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did, since I just picked it up at the library on a whim, but I guess that just means this book is incredibly underrated.

I can't remember many of the specifics of my reading experience, but I remember just feeling so much warmth and fun with every page. Strangely, YA books set in the drag world are
Mar 18, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: lgbt, asian, arcs, 2019
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

I'm sorry, but I just was not a big fan of this book. I--along with many others--was first interested in the book because of the diversity and amazing representation. This book features a cast of characters of different sexual orientations, gender identities, and ethnicities. The main character is a half-Sri Lankan queer girl, who's friends and love interest are queer people of colour. As a queer girl of colour myself
Tabi  (ᕗツ)ᕗ
Jun 11, 2019 rated it liked it
'Maybe, if I could change thing up somehow, I might be able to fill some of that blank space. And maybe, if I weren’t so blank, people would actually be drawn to me. To want me.'


Accurate rating: 2.5 stars

Despite the loose, disjointed writing and uncoordinated plot, this book evoked feelings in me. I would say that is the greatest strength of it, all the feelings spinning around like a familiar tornado of longing, confusion, and the hope that your life is important and means more than just ox
mina reads™️
Jun 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
laurel [suspected bibliophile]
Nima thought her summer would be spend endlessly pining after the gorgeous Ginny, but she's swept into a world of drag kings, drag queens, and everything in-between.

This was an inclusive and welcoming debut novel that I really, really wanted to love a lot more than I did.

The representation was on point and the #ownvoices aspect was apparent in every little detail, and there was so much queer rep and people of color that my heart wanted to burst. I also really loved Deidre, who really was a fairy

I really, really wanted to love this book. The concept was so cool to me and I feel like it had so much potential.

I absolutely adored the main character, Nima. She is the awkward baby-dyke that I would have lived for in a protagonist at the age of 14. The diversity in this book spans many different genders, races, and sexualities.

That being said, there were some aspects that made me seriously uncomfortable that I just can't look past. Deirdre, the trans woman and drag queen who pulls Nima
June 29, 2020: Loved this! The main character is messy AF and I was loving every interaction involving her for all the awkwardness and slow development. The drag culture, the friendships, the romance; everything makes you so happy but only after making you feel some pretty heavy emotions. The finding-oneself aspect is PERFECT.

June 24, 2020: After more than a year of wondering when I would finally read this very anticipated book of mine from last year, I'm finally listening to an audiobook YAYY!
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, young-adult
Some thoughts:

- The fact that "lesbian" (or actually "lesbo") was only used in this book in a derogatory sense did not sit well with me
- Why does the love interest even want to pursue a 17 year old girl when she's 21 (at least)??
- That ending did not resolve any of the things I wanted it to resolve and it really.......dragged
- I feel like most people know that it's common courtesy to use she/her for drag queens in drag and he/him for kings and I'm not sure why this never came up
Enne (they/them)
2.5 stars
TW: homophobia, homophobic slurs, bullying, parental abandonment, underage drinking, underage romance, violence
Rep: biracial Sri Lankan lesbian MC

i really enjoyed the relationships that were formed in this book, but i did find the main character a bit hard to connect with just because i couldn't really get into her head. i also did find that some of the things in this book were left a bit open-ended and felt a bit like queer baiting?? although im sure it was not intended to feel that w
May 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: lgbtq, wlw-mc
I really hate to give such a low rating but I just wasn’t a fan of this book. I felt misled by the summary (‘girlfriend’ being used to mean friend when the main character is sapphic?) and I really wasn’t a fan of the main character, Nima. I didn’t like the way she treated people and she came across as kind of self centred. I also wasn’t a fan of her love interests, who were mostly older, absent and undeveloped (their main quality seemed to be their attractiveness, rather than any sort of persona ...more
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommendations, lgbt
Re-read was just as great as the first time!
2.5 stars*

Thanks so much to Simon Pulse and Netgalley for graciously gifting me with the ARC of this one!

I wanted to love much. I loved the idea of a young lesbian of color being allowed to find herself and love amongst the backdrop of drag culture. I loved the fact that we get to see so many gender and sexuality representations throughout this story. But ultimately, it missed the mark for me.

Kings, Queens, and Inbetweens follows Nima after she stumbles upon a drag show at a carniva
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Tanya Boteju is an English teacher and writer living on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations (Vancouver, Canada). She believes feminism, diversity, committed educators, sassy students, and hot mugs of tea will save the day. She is also grateful for her patient wife who builds her many bookshelves! Tanya may have been a drag king in her well-spent youth an ...more

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“With each passing moment, I’d get that feeling you sometimes have the moment you’re about to flip the final page of a really good book, when your anticipation for what happens next overwhelms you, but you also know that turning the page means you're closer to an end.” 3 likes
“As I said it, I immediately felt a twinge of desire for something else poking between my ribs, jabbing at the familiar emptiness. Like maybe, if I could change thing up somehow, I might be able to fill some of that blank space. And maybe, if I weren’t so blank, people would actually be drawn to me. To want me.” 2 likes
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