Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens : Tanya Boteju :The gathering around us had grown by at least thirty or forty people and the volume had risen too. A couple of other queens joined our group, along with three women dressed as men. I guessed that was what Winnow was as well? This was definitely beyond my research and reading realms. Nima lives with her father—her mother having left them both unexpectedly—and spends most of her time hanging out with her friend Charles, dealing with having a crush on her other friend Ginny, and trying to steer clear of Gordon, a local bully. When she attends a local festival, she encounters a bewitching girl named Winnow. When Nima is invited to a show at one of the tents later that night, she finds herself suddenly drawn into a world she never expected, a world of drag kings and queens, a world of possibilities and surprising new friendships.
JUNE PRIDE WRAP UP - 2019
Review: Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Thank you! A lesbian teen struggles with coming-of-age in this sassy young adult novel filled with pixies, poets, wisecracks, and drag queens. As the summer before her senior year approaches, Nima is desperate to break the patterns that keep her feeling ignored, overlooked or invisible. 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.
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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. 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.