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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya…
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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens (edition 2019)

by Tanya Boteju (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations
695281,017 (3.64)None
"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.… (more)
Member:Axmyman
Title:Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens
Authors:Tanya Boteju (Author)
Info:Simon Pulse (2019), 384 pages
Collections:Your library
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Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju

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Showing 5 of 5
The descriptive bit: Nima is “brown and queer”, in love with her straight best friend, Ginny and awkward as hell. The day she met Ginny, Nima threw up on her Reeboks; that’s the way her life goes. At the exact moment that she finally gets the courage to tell Ginny how she feels, Ginny stops her by telling her that she “loves her as a friend.”

Finding herself stuck in, what she perceives to be a rut, Nima vows to spend her summer … differently. She wants to try new things, change her world and be someone interesting. She wants to make new and different choices!

My thoughts bit: Determined as she is to have a non-boring, not-bland summer, Nima is convinced she needs to try new things. She heads to a local festival and one of the shows is announced as boys in dresses and girls in suits. Intrigued, Nima gets into the line up for the show and meets my favorite character in the book, Dee Dee La Bouche (Deirdre). This glorious gender-defying being takes Nima under her wing and introduces her to the world of Drag Kings and Drag queens.

The show is all sequin gowns, Lady Ga-Ga, fairy wings, glamour, tattoos, black silk, and dancing. In the midst of the craziness of the show, Nima sees Winnow perform and feels a strong attraction to her. The problem is that Nima feels she isn’t good enough for someone like Winnow to be interested in and is convinced she needs to change herself.

There are some marvelous characters in this book. I loved the way that the performers welcomed Nima into their world. They were all very respectful about gender and sexual orientation and it was a joy to read about a group of people being so inclusive.

While the main plot of the story is about Nima exploring who she is, exploring her sexuality and gender, there are a couple of other interesting stories happening.

Nima’s mother left her and her father without a word. As Nima learns about herself she learns some truths about her mother that are shocking and hurtful. The storyline wasn’t as resolved as I might have liked … but life doesn’t always get tied up neatly with a bow on top.

Another interesting story is about Gordon… the local bully. He comes from an abusive home and while he was once on friendly terms with Nima, he has become an aggressive bully. Nima runs into Gordon one day at the art room and discovers that he is clearly having identity issues. I enjoyed reading about Gordon interacting with Deirdre and frankly, would have enjoyed a book about him. Again, Gordon’s story didn’t resolve itself at all – so I was a little disappointed in that because Boteju had created such an intriguing character. I’m guessing that Gordon is queer just from the limited things he says, but it’s difficult to guess how his life will have played out. I would really like to have read more about him.

Overall, the story is lovely. There are some parts that are difficult to read. Some of Nima’s misadventures were quite heart-wrenching and I found myself concerned for her safety on numerous occasions. It was lovely to read the way that she found a way through the puzzles and trials going on in her life to a new beginning.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: mentions of potential Body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse, domestic abuse, Queerphobic behavior, and name-calling, underage drinking, binge drinking ( )
  KinzieThings | Jun 16, 2020 |
Great, empowering story, but too many loose ends at the end, and whatever happened to her dad? ( )
  bookwyrmm | Aug 22, 2019 |
The descriptive bit: Nima is “brown and queer”, in love with her straight best friend, Ginny and awkward as hell. The day she met Ginny, Nima threw up on her Reeboks; that’s the way her life goes. At the exact moment that she finally gets the courage to tell Ginny how she feels, Ginny stops her by telling her that she “loves her as a friend.”

Finding herself stuck in, what she perceives to be a rut, Nima vows to spend her summer … differently. She wants to try new things, change her world and be someone interesting. She wants to make new and different choices!

My thoughts bit: Determined as she is to have a non-boring, not-bland summer, Nima is convinced she needs to try new things. She heads to a local festival and one of the shows is announced as boys in dresses and girls in suits. Intrigued, Nima gets into the line up for the show and meets my favorite character in the book, Dee Dee La Bouche (Deirdre). This glorious gender-defying being takes Nima under her wing and introduces her to the world of Drag Kings and Drag queens.

The show is all sequin gowns, Lady Ga-Ga, fairy wings, glamour, tattoos, black silk, and dancing. In the midst of the craziness of the show, Nima sees Winnow perform and feels a strong attraction to her. The problem is that Nima feels she isn’t good enough for someone like Winnow to be interested in and is convinced she needs to change herself.

There are some marvelous characters in this book. I loved the way that the performers welcomed Nima into their world. They were all very respectful about gender and sexual orientation and it was a joy to read about a group of people being so inclusive.

While the main plot of the story is about Nima exploring who she is, exploring her sexuality and gender, there are a couple of other interesting stories happening.

Nima’s mother left her and her father without a word. As Nima learns about herself she learns some truths about her mother that are shocking and hurtful. The storyline wasn’t as resolved as I might have liked … but life doesn’t always get tied up neatly with a bow on top.

Another interesting story is about Gordon… the local bully. He comes from an abusive home and while he was once on friendly terms with Nima, he has become an aggressive bully. Nima runs into Gordon one day at the art room and discovers that he is clearly having identity issues. I enjoyed reading about Gordon interacting with Deirdre and frankly, would have enjoyed a book about him. Again, Gordon’s story didn’t resolve itself at all – so I was a little disappointed in that because Boteju had created such an intriguing character. I’m guessing that Gordon is queer just from the limited things he says, but it’s difficult to guess how his life will have played out. I would really like to have read more about him.

Overall, the story is lovely. There are some parts that are difficult to read. Some of Nima’s misadventures were quite heart-wrenching and I found myself concerned for her safety on numerous occasions. It was lovely to read the way that she found a way through the puzzles and trials going on in her life to a new beginning.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: mentions of potential Body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse, domestic abuse, Queerphobic behavior, and name-calling, underage drinking, binge drinking ( )
  Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
The descriptive bit: Nima is “brown and queer”, in love with her straight best friend, Ginny and awkward as hell. The day she met Ginny, Nima threw up on her Reeboks; that’s the way her life goes. At the exact moment that she finally gets the courage to tell Ginny how she feels, Ginny stops her by telling her that she “loves her as a friend.”

Finding herself stuck in, what she perceives to be a rut, Nima vows to spend her summer … differently. She wants to try new things, change her world and be someone interesting. She wants to make new and different choices!

My thoughts bit: Determined as she is to have a non-boring, not-bland summer, Nima is convinced she needs to try new things. She heads to a local festival and one of the shows is announced as boys in dresses and girls in suits. Intrigued, Nima gets into the line up for the show and meets my favorite character in the book, Dee Dee La Bouche (Deirdre). This glorious gender-defying being takes Nima under her wing and introduces her to the world of Drag Kings and Drag queens.

The show is all sequin gowns, Lady Ga-Ga, fairy wings, glamour, tattoos, black silk, and dancing. In the midst of the craziness of the show, Nima sees Winnow perform and feels a strong attraction to her. The problem is that Nima feels she isn’t good enough for someone like Winnow to be interested in and is convinced she needs to change herself.

There are some marvelous characters in this book. I loved the way that the performers welcomed Nima into their world. They were all very respectful about gender and sexual orientation and it was a joy to read about a group of people being so inclusive.

While the main plot of the story is about Nima exploring who she is, exploring her sexuality and gender, there are a couple of other interesting stories happening.

Nima’s mother left her and her father without a word. As Nima learns about herself she learns some truths about her mother that are shocking and hurtful. The storyline wasn’t as resolved as I might have liked … but life doesn’t always get tied up neatly with a bow on top.

Another interesting story is about Gordon… the local bully. He comes from an abusive home and while he was once on friendly terms with Nima, he has become an aggressive bully. Nima runs into Gordon one day at the art room and discovers that he is clearly having identity issues. I enjoyed reading about Gordon interacting with Deirdre and frankly, would have enjoyed a book about him. Again, Gordon’s story didn’t resolve itself at all – so I was a little disappointed in that because Boteju had created such an intriguing character. I’m guessing that Gordon is queer just from the limited things he says, but it’s difficult to guess how his life will have played out. I would really like to have read more about him.

Overall, the story is lovely. There are some parts that are difficult to read. Some of Nima’s misadventures were quite heart-wrenching and I found myself concerned for her safety on numerous occasions. It was lovely to read the way that she found a way through the puzzles and trials going on in her life to a new beginning.

The warnings bit: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: mentions of potential Body dysmorphic disorder, substance abuse, domestic abuse, Queerphobic behavior, and name-calling, underage drinking, binge drinking ( )
  Charlotte_Kinzie | Jun 20, 2019 |
Kings, Queens , and In Betweens was one of the most fun books I've read in a long long time. I was expecting a run of the mill book but was totally surprised by how good it was. I highly recommend it.

Nima has a crush on Ginny who is straight. Charles has a crush on Tessa who doesn't care at all about him. Nima and Charles are best friends. At the annual town festival, Nima wanders into a tent that has a drag show and immediately falls for the lovely Winnow. But, at 17 years old, Nima is waiting for her first kiss. Her inexperience and dull life bore into her soul.

She also meets Deldre, a larger than life drag queen who takes Nima under her wing in matters amorous and life in general.

Readers will fall in love with Nima and Deidre and root for Nima to break out of her shell and for her and Winnow to get together.

Kings, Queens and In-Betweens reminded me of James St. Sames' Freak Show, another over the top book that will get you going. Have fun, folks. ( )
  EdGoldberg | May 23, 2019 |
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