Boy Queen: SHANTAY YOU STAY
“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.”
I’d just like to start this review by giving a shout out to the publishers, MyKindaBook, for sending me a proof copy of this book… they always do AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL proofs and the proof copy of Boy Queen is absolutely NO different. JUST LOOK AT IT.
Okay, so Boy Queen tells the story of lovely Robin. His life is falling apart a little bit. All of his friends are ready to scooch off to uni, but he’s just not having quite as much luck as they are. He keeps getting rejection letter after rejection letter. He just wants to go to drama school, but they don’t seem to want him. He’s told EVERYONE about his applications, and when things don’t go the way he thinks they would, he starts to doubt everything. He’s going through it all, so his best friends take him to a local gay bar for his birthday. While they’re there, they see a local drag show and that changes absolutely everything for Robin….
Reading this book brought me SO SO SO MUCH joy. I am a massive fan of contemporary YA, so pair this with Drag Race and you’re in for a total winner. George is an absolute babe so I knew this book would be incredible and I wasn’t disappointed.
Poor Robin. I absolutely loved him as a character. He’s going through it all. He’s got a secret boyfriend who refuses to acknowledge him in public, a lovely mother who can be a bit overbearing and a gorgeous group of friends who are now planning their futures. A future he thought was dead set for him. When things stop going his way, he starts to push away the things he loves most: his friends, performing and his family. He makes an awful lot of mistakes in this book, but he finds something that he loves: drag.
Friends. My Drag Race loving heart was ALL ABOUT THIS BOOK. There are SO many things that made me just SHOUT WITH JOY. There’s pop culture references a plenty. There’s delight and joy. Mama Ru would approve wholeheartedly I feel! There’s glitter and hairspray; wigs and make up. The names of some of the drag queens absolutely made me hoot. I had such a lovely time reading this LOLing at the names of the queens that George made up.
I absolutely loved the relationships that developed in this book. You watch Robin go from breaking down a whole lot of relationships with people he loves, to rebuilding them and creating some new ones. A local drag queen comes along and is a bit like Robin’s fairy-drag mother. A new boy (who has a bit of a reputation) comes along at school who is just the sweetest thing (I proper proper proper love him). I loved watching Robin learn and change through the book. He really develops as a character and I’d love to be his IRL friend. He learns to stand up for what he believes in, and he learns that you really do have to love yourself before you can love someone else.
I wanna give a shout out here to Robin’s mam. I remember reading this thinking “man, she’s so lush”.
George’s debut has given me such joy. This book tackles all sorts of things including friendship, identity, finding yourself, homophobia and LGBTQIA+ life. I’d love to see more from these characters… like gimme a novella thanks!
This book feels like a love letter to being queer, to drag culture, to UKYA and to UK Drag and I am SO HERE for it. Each and every single second of it.
My Goodreads review:
|This is just BRILLIANT. It made me laugh and cry. It’s full of fun and expression. It’s learning from others and being yourself. It’s romance and heartbreak. It’s lies and friendship. It’s Drag Race and queer. It’s just bloody brilliant. Team Seth all the way. Sometimes everything’s gotta fall apart for it to come back together. I really loved Robin and his crew. I thought his mam was great too.|
A massive thank you to MyKindaBook for sending me a proof copy of Boy Queen. AND a massive thank you to George for being such a love. I have already preordered my finished copy. It’s out now!!
p.s. George, if you’re here: hello. I think you’re great!