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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Cover of Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
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"Poignant and important." —Refinery29 Judy Blume meets RuPaul's Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while...
"Poignant and important." —Refinery29 Judy Blume meets RuPaul's Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while...
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  • "Poignant and important." —Refinery29

    Judy Blume meets RuPaul's Drag Race in this funny, feel-good debut novel about a queer teen who navigates questions of identity and self-acceptance while discovering the magical world of drag.
    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 surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be—one that can confidently express and accept love. But she'll have to learn to accept lost love to get there.

    From debut author Tanya Boteju comes a poignant, laugh-out-loud tale of acceptance, self-expression, and the colorful worlds that await when we're brave enough to look.

About the Author-

  • 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 and knows that the queer community is full of magic and wonder. With Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens, she hopes she's brought some of that magic to those who need it most.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    March 15, 2019
    A lesbian teen struggles with coming-of-age in this sassy young adult novel filled with pixies, poets, wisecracks, and drag queens.Nima, a biracial (Sri Lankan/white) high school junior, feels like a supporting character in her own life. Gawky and socially awkward, she is the basketball team's equipment manager as opposed to a player and is relegated to the position of "good friend" with her longtime crush, Ginny, a popular redheaded senior who is departing for college. As the summer before her senior year approaches, Nima is desperate to break the patterns that keep her feeling ignored, overlooked or invisible. She gets her wish when she attends her town's annual carnival and meets a group of colorful drag queens who are loud, proud, and unapologetic about who they are. Debut author Boteju does an excellent job of depicting the awkwardness that is an inherent part of adolescent life; additionally, Nima grapples with her sexuality, unrequited love, feelings of inadequacy, and conflicted feelings about being abandoned by her mother, and at times her struggles can feel unrelenting. Interpersonal relationships between Nima, her friends, and the drag queens feel authentic and fresh. The author clearly has a profound knowledge of drag queen culture, and her love for it practically pops off the page.A bright and sparkly celebration of love and self-acceptance. (Fiction. 12-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2019) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    April 15, 2019
    One of the few things 17-year-old Nima knows for sure is that she’s gay. She doesn’t know what made her mother leave a year and a half earlier, how she’s going to spend the summer before her senior year after being rejected by her crush, or why she keeps running into Gordon, a childhood friend turned bully. Then she visits the small town’s summer festival and meets glamorous drag queen Deidre, spellbinding drag king Winnow, and a whole world—just a bus ride away—of people who perform, loud and proud, in and out of drag. All-loving, all-knowing Deidre is a fantasy possessing the power to turn Nima into the drag king she didn’t know she wanted to be, and to help Gordon, who’s drawn to drag, begin coping with his homophobic attitudes. Debut author Boteju lays on the small-town atmosphere a little thickly at times (everyone knows everyone, and Nima reads as naive), but watching Nima and her nervous stomach find the nerve to perform and maybe even pursue a girl who likes her back is satisfying. And who doesn’t need a glamorous drag queen fairy godmother? Ages 12–up. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2019

    Gr 7 Up-Nima is a biracial shy, nerdy lesbian who uncharacteristically breaks into the drag scene after getting a glimpse of a queens and kings sideshow at a summer festival. Recently wounded by a crush's rejection, Nima feels both terrified and determined when there is an obvious mutual attraction with the drag king star. A charismatic queen named Deidre guides Nima to the understanding that unconditional love is possible and labels are unnecessary. Along the way, a colorful cast of LGBTQIA+ characters welcome and/or perplex Nima, but they always help her grow her self-confidence. At times these characters are so numerous, it's difficult to distinguish them all, but a little backtracking or note-taking is worth the effort. Although the action is minimal, this is an excellent character study and a primer for drag shows. VERDICT This successful presentation of the highs, lows, and midways of a teen finding her place in queer culture will appeal to readers who appreciate a character-driven light romance.-Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH

    Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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