Published by Push on 26th April 2016
A fantastic, fabulous, funny YA debut from Jeffery Self, one of the gay icons of the YouTube generation, that follows one high school student on a drag race to his future.
Debut YA author Jeffery Self takes us on a road trip with an insecure high school senior who has one goal: to be the first in his family to leave Clearwater, Florida, and go to college. The problem is, he has zero means of paying for school — until his friends convince him to compete in a drag teen competition for a college scholarship.
Sometimes a book comes along that really touches your soul and this is one of those books. I bought this because it was recommended by fellow booktuber Peter Likes Books (Peter Monn). I really wish that we had books like this when I was a young adult. The characters and story really resonated with me, although I am a straight (older) female, JT’s feelings of being on the outside and never feeling he really belongs really touched a nerve with me and I empathised with him, so much so that I was in tears at one point of the story, the low self worth, the now knowing who you are or where you belong, is something, I think that we all struggle (or have struggled) with at some point, some people more so than others.
Jeffery Self explores these feelings in a sympathetic way – no one character is perfect each has their own insecurities and issues, which are explored and explained throughout the story, the three main characters, JT, Seth and Heather, care and support each other, but they also have their fallings out, which happens in real life – no friendship is ever perfect and this is reflected in the events depicted in the book, but eventually JT and Seth’s love survives and their friendship with Heather flourishes. Heather as the only female in the group feels as if they look at her as a token female and is treated badly by some of the other drag queens, which obviously upsets her greatly as she loves her friends and they clearly love her in return.
The story is extremely moving as we follow JT from Clearwater, Florida to New York city to compete in the Miss Drag Teen competition, discovering on they way, who he is and who he wants to be, and sometimes, even though it may seem like your parents don’t listen or care, deep down they do and can surprise you so completely.
Drag teen is a funny, poignant and fabulous YA read