Book review by Aarene Storms: Drag Teen

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Drag Teen by Jeffery Self

18 year old JT is stuck in Clearwater, Florida where the water isn't clear. He dreams of life somewhere -- anywhere -- else, but his family is content running a roadside gas station and eating food from the dollar store, and they consider a few classes at Clearwater Tech School sufficient "higher education" for their vision of JT's future. No support there.

JT's boyfriend Seth proposes a solution: a drag queen competition for teens in New York City. The prize for first place is a four-year scholarship. Why would JT, a talented singer and drag-queen wannabe, not want to participate?

The answer to that, and some other stuff, is the guts of this book.

Part unlikely-road-trip adventure, part fish-out-of-water drama, part coming-of-age story, Drag Teen is a fun read. 

Sure, the plot relies too heavily on coincidence, and some of the characters were so two-dimensional that it's a wonder they could get Spanx to stay on, and clearly the narrator's personal arc was copied from some old "afterschool special" formula, and the ending was completely non-credible.

But for all the weaknesses, I enjoyed reading this book.

Recommended for readers ages 12 and up.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true. --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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