Amy’s Thoughts On…Boy Queen by George Lester

Boy Queen by George Lester

Published By: Macmillan Children’s Books

Released: 6th August 2020

Amazon / Book Depository / Waterstones

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Life’s a drag until you try . . .

Robin Cooper’s life is falling apart.

While his friends prepare to head off to university, Robin is looking at a pile of rejection letters from drama schools up and down the country, and facing a future without the people he loves the most. Everything seems like it’s ending, and Robin is scrabbling to find his feet.

Unsure about what to do next and whether he has the talent to follow his dreams, he and his best friends go and drown their sorrows at a local drag show, where Robin realises there might be a different, more sequinned path for him . . .

With a mother who won’t stop talking, a boyfriend who won’t acknowledge him and a best friend who is dying to cover him in glitter make up, there’s only one thing for Robin to do: bring it to the runway.

Amy’s Thoughts

Trigger warnings: homophobia, physical abuse, emotional abuse.

From the moment I heard about Boy Queen I knew it was going to be a book that I wanted to read. LGBTQ+ UKYA has been so good recently and Boy Queen is no exception. This was a feel-good, strong contemporary that had me engrossed.

Boy Queen follows 18-year-old Robin, who after getting rejected from drama school starts to wonder where his life is taking him. That is until after going to a drag show at a local gay club, Robin starts to release that his future may lie in the art of Drag. However, with a boyfriend who ignores him, a mum who won’t stop talking and the threat of a future without his friends, will Robin be able to bring his act to the forefront?

Well, this was such a fun read that also delves into serious topics such as homophobia, identity, friendship and coming out. The way the author captures Robins internal struggles is very reminiscent of what I was like at 18. It is accurate and dealt with realistically, and I feel that especially in the current climate many teens will also be able to relate to this. Homophobia is also an issue that isn’t shied away from in Boy Queen and we see Robin have to deal with this not only from the bullies at his school but also from his secret boyfriend, Connor, who is in no way ready to come out. This yet again is dealt with in an extremely sensitive way and I commend the author for this.

Well-paced is a way I can describe the plot and overall storyline of Boy Queen. From the very first chapter, I was immersed in Robin’s story and found myself smiling, laughing, gasping in shock and also sobbing. Robin is written in such a poignant way that you feel as if you are following him on this journey of what is essentially a journey of self-discovery. By the time the story reached its climax, I was utterly absorbed in this world. I also want to mention Drag – which is primarily one of the main plots of the story. I didn’t know much about the art of Drag and found out a lot about it through Boy Queen. My eyes were opened substantially and it made me realise how much work does go into it, and all in all, it was fabulous! All the Queens you meet are exceptional, each with their unique personalities. and the way they take Robin on is admirable. In my opinion, they help Robin gain the confidence to become a fully-fledged Drag Queen, and if I’m honest I would love to read a story all about them.

Robin, as a character was one that you did feel sorry for, but also one that you did find yourself rolling your eyes at. However, this just proved that he was flawed, just like anyone. He worked on his flaws and essentially became stronger for it come to the end of the book. Robin’s relationship with his friends was so heartwarming and just felt natural. They loved him for who he was, even when he wasn’t being the best friend around. We all need a secure friendship group, and this was what Robin’s was. We also see him learning to stand up to the toxic relationships in his life, I won’t go into any spoilers but there’s a moment in the book where I found myself applauding Robin for finding the strength to break free from one of them.

Boy Queen was a phenomenal read, that left me in awe. For a debut, it just blew me away, and I need more from this world full of glitter, love, friendship and drag.

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