When the only exit from Floridian monotony is winning a drag contest, beggars can’t be losers.
Why would 17-year-old JT Barnett want to live in the moment? His moment is a future assessing pesky love handles, pumping gas, dealing with despondent parents, and being left behind by his best friends in Clearwater, Florida. He wants nothing more after graduation than to go to college and become a writer and drag queen, but with grades as lackluster as a gown sans sequins, his prospects are flatter than a broken stiletto. When his too-good-for-him, gorgeous boyfriend and best girlfriend convince him to enter a drag contest in NYC (even though he has only performed once with disastrous results), a road trip to Manhattan—and to learning some self-love—is born. JT has no issue with being gay, so this isn’t about the trials of coming out. Instead, it’s a learn-to-love-yourself odyssey in which a diversity of secondary and tertiary characters appears only after they've crossed through the Holland Tunnel. On his pilgrimage, self-deprecating JT’s conflicts tend to lead easily to solution (a rich benefactress materializes after a flat tire; one makeup lesson results in a skill no seasoned queens question), making his struggles more a series of mended broken nails than catastrophic ripped couture before curtain call.
Even frothy fun needs a deep bass line that isn’t found here. (Fiction. 12-18)