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)