Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens” as Want to Read:
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  768 ratings  ·  217 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, 384 pages
Published May 7th 2019 by Simon Pulse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

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

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  768 ratings  ·  217 reviews

More filters
Sort order
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.
Elise (TheBookishActress)
queer brown girl learning about drag and nightlife seems like a really good concept thanks
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 h
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
sapphic 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.
Jan 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: coming-soon-19, arcs
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:
Jun 18, 2019 rated it really 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
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
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
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
Aug 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
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
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
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.

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
Shelves: 2019-arcs, lgbtq, ownvoices, ya
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
♠️ TABI ♠️
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 oxyg
N (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
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
Rhiannon Watkins

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
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt, recommendations
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
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
Jun 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Recommended to Kazen by: Yvette
I love this book for all of the own voices elements and the loving depiction of drag, but it doesn't escape some first book shakiness.

The good:

- Nima's father is awesome, never a given in YA. He's absent later in the book so she can do her thing, which is more usual, but yeah. At least he's awesome.

- Diedre is a fairy godmother of a drag queen. It toes the line of believability for me, but I know there are good people in the world like this, helping queer kids find their way.

- The drag scenes
Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

3.5 Stars

Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens is a book I had been anticipating for its unique premise. This book about new experiences and self-exploration is uplifting, and there is a strong cast of characters within. That being said, parts of the plot lag, which dulls the shine of what could have been a fantastic story.

Admittedly, I don’t know much about the drag scene, but this book really opened my eyes as it follows a girl who learns about nightlife herself. The co
Stella (Paper Wings)
4.5 stars??
I don't know why I'm so surprised to have enjoyed this but I want to be a drag king now
This story is just as messy as real life is, and that makes it very realistic. But it also made it, well, a messy read. There are so many themes and plotlines that the author could have easily filled three separate books with them, and as a result none of them get the attention they deserve. This made the book feel confusing and tiring to read at times. But I did love the way the main character gets to explore her own identity and how she fits in the LGBTQ+ community.

Rep: biracial gay MC, multip
Avery (Book Deviant)
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
actual rating 4.5!! As someone who just recently met the drag community, I have to admit that I related to this book A LOT. there was a lot going on that was mostly resolved, but a little bit *more* would've been nice. full review to come!!
mina reads™️
Jun 29, 2019 rated it did not like it
Jul 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
To read more reviews check out MI Book Reviews.

So I almost got an ARC of this book, but then I missed out due to my inability to prepare for a vacation and make sure I download everything in time. Please forgive me publishers! I still got a copy of the book and I am glad I did. 

When I first came out as a lesbian when I was like 12. I learned about drag kings on Youtube. There was one king, Rider Gently, that just amazed me in so many ways. There was no way I was ever going to see him perform, bu
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tell Me How You Really Feel
  • I Wanna Be Where You Are
  • Going Off Script
  • The Revolution of Birdie Randolph
  • All of Us with Wings
  • Frankly in Love (Frankly in Love, #1)
  • The Grief Keeper
  • Color Me In
  • Technically, You Started It
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club
  • Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me
  • Symptoms of a Heartbreak
  • If It Makes You Happy
  • Earth to Charlie
  • This Time Will Be Different
  • Starworld
  • The Pursuit of Miss Heartbreak Hotel
  • Ziggy, Stardust and Me
See similar books…
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
“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
“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.” 2 likes
More quotes…