Jenna Rideout's Reviews > Boy Queen

Boy Queen by George   Lester
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-netgalley

I received a free ARC of Boy Queen from the publisher in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley. Thank you so much to NetGalley, publisher MacMillan, and of course author George Lester for the opportunity to read this gem early!

Is the world ready for a drag queen's coming of age story? It had better be ready because Boy Queen is here serving high school senior baby drag realness that you don't want to miss out on! I read this book in a single day because I absolutely could not put it down!

This is the story of Robin Cooper, a turning-18-year-old theatre student from the UK whose hopes and dreams of attending drama school in London in the fall are about to be dashed. It also doesn't help that his secret boyfriend, a still-closeted gay boy from a homophobic family and friend group, is less than supportive, ever the flake, and occasionally a bully. But when Robin's friends take him to watch a drag show at a gay bar for his birthday, one queen in particular catches his eye and sparks a burning need to perform in drag. Robin spends much of the rest of the school year trying (and failing) to balance school, friends, romance, and his relationship with his single-parent mother with his newfound love of drag. He also spends a great deal of this time learning who he is (and who she is when in drag) and, as one of his teachers advises early on, learning to take up space.

The entire cast of this book is written so well. Robin's friends Natalie, Greg, and Priya are believable teenagers with their own hopes and worries, and like any teen friends, they get mad at each other sometimes. Natalie and Greg are a little more fleshed out than Priya, but that's likely because they're also Robin's school mates, while Priya is a friend from the dance studio. New boy Seth is intriguing, and the process of Robin and Seth getting to know each other is so beautifully organic.

I'd also like to say that I'm a 32-year-old mom reading this young adult novel, and I feel called out by the characterization of Robin's mother in all the best and most humorous ways! I have so many highlights made on the mom moments because they made me smile. And yes, I absolutely do the weird meercat thing, too.

As I mentioned, I did read this book all in one go. I absolutely could not end my day without finishing it and getting my thoughts down! That said, I wasn't sure how much I was going to like it in the first couple of pages. This book starts in the middle of a dance class with quippy teenage snark flying everywhere, and I honestly couldn't quite tell until the practice number was over whether Robin was about to dance or sing. It immediately gets better when dance class ends and Robin and Priya start talking, and then it's gold from there. Mood readers and those who DNF very early, give this book more than just the first scene. You won't regret it!

I would also like to make a note for North American readers and parents: As this book takes place in the UK where drinking laws are different, these teenage characters spend quite a bit of time at a bar, and some drinking does take place. Remember that this is legal and normal in the book's setting. I think this is handled well, and should not be a concern for readers from countries with different laws.

Trigger warning for moderate violence in a couple of scenes (fistfight style, no weapons.)

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Reading Progress

July 8, 2020 – Shelved
July 8, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
July 22, 2020 – Started Reading
July 22, 2020 – Shelved as: read-netgalley
July 22, 2020 – Finished Reading

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