Book Review: It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny Purmort

Book Review: It’s Okay to Laugh by Nora McInerny PurmortIt's Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort
Published by Dey Street Books on May 24, 2016
Genres: Memoir, Non Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
Joining the ranks of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened and Carry On, Warrior, a fierce, hysterically funny memoir that reminds us that comedy equals tragedy plus time.

Twentysomething Nora McInerny bounced from boyfriend to boyfriend and job to job. Then she met Aaron, a charismatic art director and her kindred spirit. They made mix tapes (and pancakes) into the wee hours of the morning. They finished each other’s sentences. They just knew. When Aaron was diagnosed with a rare brain cancer, they refused to let it limit their love. They got engaged on Aaron’s hospital bed and married after his first surgery. They had a baby when he was on chemo. They shared an amazing summer filled with happiness and laughter. A few months later, Aaron died in Nora’s arms in another hospital bed. His wildly creative obituary, which they wrote together, touched the world.

Now, Nora shares hysterical, moving, and painfully honest stories about her journey with Aaron. It’s Okay to Laugh explores universal themes of love, marriage, work, (single) motherhood, and depression through her refreshingly frank viewpoint. A love letter to life, in all of its messy glory, and what it’s like to still be kickin', It’s Okay to Laugh is like a long chat with a close friend over a cup of coffee (or chardonnay).

Book Review:

I first heard of Nora and Aaron just after Aaron’s death. I read a lot of her blog, myhusbandstumor.com, and remembered liking her writing style, especially on the subject of grief and cancer. So when I saw she had a memoir coming out, I was eager to try it.

Nora talks about a lot of different things in IT’S OKAY TO LAUGH (CRYING IS COOL TOO): death of loved ones, grief and the grieving process, sibling relationships, jealousy, finding your own way in life, etc. The book isn’t chronological at all, just 46 chapters of Nora bouncing around on those different subjects and others. She’s better on some things than others, but I did like that Nora never self-edited herself. I think her main message is that it’s okay to do your own thing, and not be constrained by the expectations of other people.

I did prefer Nora’s blog over this memoir, but that’s because I wanted to read more about her and Aaron’s relationship and how they didn’t let his cancer define their lives. I guess I expected the book to be more about that, and it does go into that a little, but not as much as I expected. I do think the author’s style is good for the twenty to thirty range, since it’s different dealing with the death of your partner then as opposed when you’re sixty.

Socialize with the author:

Nora McInerny Purmort:
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– leeanna

Book Review: The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown

Book Review: The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie BrownThe Stargazer's Sister by Carrie Brown
Published by Pantheon on January 19, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
From the acclaimed author of The Last First Day: a beautiful new period novel—a nineteenth-century story of female empowerment before its time—based on the life of Caroline Herschel, sister of the great astronomer William Herschel and an astronomer in her own right.

This exquisitely imagined novel opens as the great astronomer and composer William Herschel rescues his sister Caroline from a life of drudgery in Germany and brings her to England and a world of music-making and stargazing. Lina, as Caroline is known, serves as William’s assistant and the captain of his exhilaratingly busy household. William is generous, wise, and charismatic, an obsessive genius whom Lina adores and serves with the fervency of a beloved wife. When William suddenly announces that he will be married, Lina watches as her world collapses.

With her characteristically elegant prose, Brown creates from history a compelling story of familial collaboration and conflict, the sublime beauty of astronomy, and the small but essential place we have within a vast and astonishing cosmos. Through Lina’s trials and successes, we witness the dawning of an early feminist consciousness, of a woman struggling to find her own place among the stars.

Book Review:

Before coming across THE STARGAZER’S SISTER, I had never heard of Caroline Herschel. Now that I know more about her, I’m sad she’s been lost to history, likely because she was overshadowed by her more famous brother, and also because she was a woman.

THE STARGAZER’S SISTER is not a feel good book. But I think it is realistic of a woman’s life in the late 1700s. Lina’s early life is cruel, including an abusive mother and typhus. Typhus condemns her to an even crueller future, as it marks her face and body, leaving her unsuitable for marriage. When brother William rescues her, bringing her to England to assist his research, life is still difficult. But for the first time ever, Lina is happy — even if all of her genius does go towards supporting William and his eventual discoveries.

I did enjoy reading about Lina, especially her later life, when she had more independence and made her own astronomical observations. But I did have trouble understanding Lina’s intense devotion to William. I also wasn’t a fan of the literary style of THE STARGAZER’S SISTER, but that’s because I’m not a fan of literary books. If you’re expecting straight-up historical fiction, you might want to check out a sample of the book.

Socialize with the author:

Carrie Brown:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle Moran

Book Review: Mata Hari’s Last Dance by Michelle MoranMata Hari's Last Dance by Michelle Moran
Published by Touchstone on July 19, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
From the international bestselling author of Rebel Queen and Nefertiti comes a captivating novel about the infamous Mata Hari, exotic dancer, adored courtesan, and, possibly, relentless spy.

Paris, 1917. The notorious dancer Mata Hari sits in a cold cell awaiting freedom…or death. Alone and despondent, Mata Hari is as confused as the rest of the world about the charges she’s been arrested on: treason leading to the deaths of thousands of French soldiers.

As Mata Hari waits for her fate to be decided, she relays the story of her life to a reporter who is allowed to visit her in prison. Beginning with her carefree childhood, Mata Hari recounts her father’s cruel abandonment of her family as well her calamitous marriage to a military officer. Taken to the island of Java, Mata Hari refuses to be ruled by her abusive husband and instead learns to dance, paving the way to her stardom as Europe’s most infamous dancer.

From exotic Indian temples and glamorous Parisian theatres to stark German barracks in war-torn Europe, international bestselling author Michelle Moran who “expertly balances fact and fiction” (Associated Press) brings to vibrant life the famed world of Mata Hari: dancer, courtesan, and possibly, spy.

Book Review:

I’ve read Michelle Moran’s novels set in Ancient Egypt several times, so I was interested to try something of hers set in a different time period. Mata Hari is one of those names I’ve always known without knowing much about the actual person.

The book starts with a news article detailing Hari’s conviction as a spy and death by firing squad in 1917. I think that’s what everyone knows about her, so it makes sense to start there. Then MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE goes back to 1904, when Mata Hari starts creating the legend of Mata Hari in Paris.

The beginning of MATA HARI’S LAST DANCE was great. I thought the author did a good job of developing Mata Hari’s character and the glitzy pre-war period. Mata Hari isn’t always likeable, but I understood her choices and actions.

I think the summary for the book is a tad misleading, as I expected a chronological account of Mata Hari’s life. Instead, she recounts her past in flashbacks, sharing with her lawyer/agent, Edouard Clunet. Is she sharing the truth, or merely how she remembers events? Mata Hari’s a somewhat unreliable narrator, which I enjoyed. I never knew when she was telling the truth or lying or embellishing.

And it’s her habit of lying and embellishing that gets her into trouble. As the book went on, I could see how Mata Hari’s actions and words led to her conviction as a spy. Michelle Moran neatly planted that stake in the ground, raising the tension until Mata Hari’s trial and execution. But I do wish that more time had been spent explaining the political tensions of the war, as the last third of the book went too quickly for me. I felt like I was missing some critical connection or plot thread. Which does make sense in a way, because Mata Hari was unable to hear much of the crucial evidence against her because it was classified. But I wish there had been some way for the author to make everything clearer to the reader.

Socialize with the author:

Michelle Moran:
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– leeanna

Book Review: 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert

Book Review: 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert32 Yolks by Eric Ripert
Published by Random House on May 17, 2016
Genres: Memoir
Pages: 272
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
For readers of Jacques Pépin’s The Apprentice and Marcus Samuelsson’s Yes, Chef, here is the coming-of-age story of a true French chef and international culinary icon. Before he earned three Michelin stars at Le Bernardin, won the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef, or became a regular guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef, and even before he knew how to make a proper omelet, Eric Ripert was a young boy in the South of France who felt that his world had come to an end. The only place Eric felt at home was in the kitchen. His desire to not only cook, but to become the best would lead him into some of the most celebrated and demanding restaurants in Paris.

Book Review:

I first saw Eric Ripert on Top Chef, and was instantly intrigued by his mastery of fish as well as his calm, cool personality. I immediately requested the book on Le Bernardin, where Ripert is head chef, from my local library and was entranced even though I don’t like fish. Anyway, all of this led me to thinking Eric Ripert’s memoir would be just as interesting to me.

32 YOLKS starts with Ripert’s difficult childhood, where a love of food was one of the only good things in his life. His parents divorced when he was young, his stepfather was a beast, and Ripert understandably had anger issues. Although he always loved food, he wasn’t encouraged to be in the kitchen — it wasn’t a boy’s place. Eventually, he started culinary school, and then his first job in a kitchen, but things just got harder from there.

32 YOLKS gives a good look inside the kitchens of 1980s France, where some chefs ruled by intimidation and some by fear. It was interesting, to see the difference between La Tour d’Argent and Jamin: how the brigade worked, the head chef’s ruling style, how the dishes were created, etc, as well as the effect of everything on Ripert.

Ripert’s time in the brigade at La Tour d’Argent and Jamin was the best part of the book for me. I found his stories about his childhood somewhat disjointed, but they almost all did have something to do with food. But 32 YOLKS ended just when it really got going for me — when Ripert went to America for his first job there. I expected that the book would go further, to talk about how Ripert started at Le Bernardin, but it ends just as he gets on the plane. I don’t know if the publisher is planning a second book for the next part of Ripert’s journey, but I feel like 32 YOLKS ended too early.

Socialize with the author:

Eric Ripert:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Night Shift by Charlaine HarrisNight Shift by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #3
Published by Ace on May 3, 2016
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 308
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Goodreads
3 Stars
At Midnight’s local pawnshop, weapons are flying off the shelves—only to be used in sudden and dramatic suicides right at the main crossroads in town.

Who better to figure out why blood is being spilled than the vampire Lemuel, who, while translating mysterious texts, discovers what makes Midnight the town it is. There’s a reason why witches and werewolves, killers and psychics, have been drawn to this place.

And now they must come together to stop the bloodshed in the heart of Midnight. For if all hell breaks loose—which just might happen—it will put the secretive town on the map, where no one wants it to be...

Book Review:

NIGHT SHIFT is the final book in Charlaine Harris’ trilogy about Midnight, Texas. While the book ties up most of the loose ends left hanging by the other two books, I do find myself wishing the series wasn’t over. It took some time for the series to hit its stride, and now it’s finished. I’ll miss my time in Midnight.

In MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD and DAY SHIFT, individual characters faced danger. In NIGHT SHIFT, the entire town of Midnight is threatened. People are being drawn to the crossroad to commit suicide, and while the press interest isn’t welcomed by the town, it’s the hidden danger that’s the big worry. What’s causing the deaths? And who is talking to Fiji?

Lemuel plays a bigger role in this book than in previous ones, which I liked. Part of the fun of this series is all the different characters that live in Midnight. Seeing how they co-exist and have formed friendships. Plus I just like vampires, what can I say? There’s also angels, shapeshifters, a witch, and a psychic. I’ve said before that Midnight’s a town I’d want to live in — everyone minds their own business, but they also come together when necessary, and there’s just enough danger without it being too overwhelming.

Fiji really came into her own in NIGHT SHIFT. I wasn’t a fan of the whole Fiji/Bobo misunderstanding romance, but otherwise, A+ for Fiji. There’s this great scene where she gets revenge on someone who violated her privacy, and then another when she tells her sister off. It was great to see that she wasn’t a pushover and could stand up for herself, as well as take a few for the team.

I do think too much of the action/revelations in NIGHT SHIFT took place off the page, or if they were shown, there wasn’t a lot of processing. Manfred learns about an important ancestor, but I can’t recall reading about his feelings after the reveal.

Some of the events also seemed out of place, based on the characters’ actions in the previous books. Take Olivia for example. She’s nearly killed by her father’s henchman, but then gets a phone call from her dad that hints at future making up. And this is after her father not believing that stepmom and friends molested Olivia when she was a child. Olivia thinking that she might talk to her dad in the future just doesn’t jive with the way she’s been characterized in the other books.

Overall, NIGHT SHIFT and the Midnight, Texas trilogy as a whole is okay. Good, not great. I did expect more from Charlaine Harris because of the hype of Sookie Stackhouse. But Midnight is a good trilogy to read when you want something a little slower, not full of feeling like the characters are going to die every other page.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Day Shift by Charlaine HarrisDay Shift by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #2
Published by Ace on May 5, 2015
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 307
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular — and very wealthy — clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight...

Book Review:

DAY SHIFT is the second book in Charlaine Harris’ trilogy about Midnight, Texas. Midnight is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town, important only to the locals. So, of course it’s a town where there’s a lot going on underneath the surface: there’s a vampire, witch, and psychic in town, and that’s only the start.

Midnight is a series that grew on me. It’s great for when you’re in the mood for a slightly slower paranormal mystery, with a lot of focus on everyday life in a small town. The characters aren’t in danger every single second, which is sometimes a nice change.

The mystery of DAY SHIFT showed up earlier than the mystery in book one, MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD, which helped the pacing. When Manfred travels to Dallas for a weekend of in-person readings, his first client dies in the middle of the appointment. Accused by the woman’s nasty son of stealing her jewelry, Manfred needs the help of his fellow Midnight citizens to clear his name. And while that’s going on, there’s also a mysterious new hotel built in town, one whose purpose might be sinister…?

DAY SHIFT also expands some of the “minor” characters from the first book, such as Olivia Charity. I was super intrigued by Olivia, so I was happy to see her play a major role in this book. There’s also more about Joe and Chuy, as well as the Rev, who ends up watching a friend’s son. Diederik was a lot of fun.

I read the entire Midnight, Texas trilogy in a weekend, which I recommend doing if possible. Now that I’m finished, I miss spending time in Midnight. It’s the type of town I’d like to live in if I were in an urban fantasy book, because there’s spooky stuff going on and some danger, but there’s also a feeling of community and small town life without destruction raining down every day.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Book Review: Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine HarrisMidnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris
Series: Midnight, Texas #1
Published by Ace on May 6, 2014
Genres: Mystery, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 305
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Goodreads
3 Stars
From Charlaine Harris, the bestselling author who created Sookie Stackhouse and her world of Bon Temps, Louisiana, comes a darker locale - populated by more strangers than friends. But then, that’s how the locals prefer it...

Welcome to Midnight, Texas, a town with many boarded-up windows and few full-time inhabitants, located at the crossing of Witch Light Road and Davy Road. It’s a pretty standard dried-up western town.

There’s a pawnshop (someone lives in the basement and is seen only at night). There’s a diner (people who are just passing through tend not to linger). And there’s new resident Manfred Bernardo, who thinks he’s found the perfect place to work in private (and who has secrets of his own).

Stop at the one traffic light in town, and everything looks normal. Stay awhile, and learn the truth...

Book Review:

MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD is the first in a trilogy set in the quirky town of Midnight, Texas. It’s the perfect place to psychic Manfred to settle in and get down to work. Manfred bullshits sometimes, but he also has a real gift. But it doesn’t take psychic ability to see Midnight isn’t what it appears on the surface.

I found the pace of MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD to be somewhat slow. The mystery doesn’t show up for a long time; the book kind of meanders about, much like the town of Midnight. There’s a lot of detail on ordinary life: Manfred settling in, meeting the locals, going to dinner, that sort of thing. At first it bored me, but after I thought about it, I realized I liked the ordinariness. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD isn’t as in your face as say, Kate Daniels or Mercy Thompson, and that’s a nice change.

The book is told from three perspectives: Manfred, pawnshop owner Bobo, and witch Fiji. At first I thought Manfred was the main character, but he isn’t. I liked all the perspectives, because I got a better view of Midnight that way, and the author handled switching characters in a clear way. I was also super curious about some of the other characters, such as Olivia, Lemuel, Joe, and Chuy.

Once the body of Bobo’s missing girlfriend was found and the mystery kicked off, the book sped up a bit. I had my suspicions for the killer, but I was totally wrong. I always like when I can’t predict the outcome, and the outcome of this mystery… it really cemented what sort of town Midnight is and who lives there.

I’ll be honest — at first I wasn’t sure if I would continue this series. MIDNIGHT CROSSROAD was my first Charlaine Harris book, and I did expect a little more. But I got sucked into the book, intrigued by the town and the characters. It also helps that all the books are available, so I was able to read all three in a weekend, which I recommend doing if you can.

Socialize with the author:

Charlaine Harris:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Frontier Grit by Marianne Monson

Book Review: Frontier Grit by Marianne MonsonFrontier Grit by Marianne Monson
Published by Shadow Mountain on September 6, 2016
Genres: History, Non Fiction
Pages: 208
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Goodreads
3 Stars
These are the stories of twelve women who "heard the call" to settle the west and who came from all points of the globe to begin their journey: the East Coast, Europe, and as far away as New Zealand. They endured unimaginable hardships just to get to their destination and then the next phase of the story begins. These are gripping miniature dramas of good-hearted women, selfless providers, courageous immigrants and migrants, and women with skills too innumerable to list. All the women in this book did extraordinary things. One became a stagecoach driver, disguised as a man. One became a frontier doctor. One was a Gold Rush hotel and restaurant entrepreneur. Many were crusaders for social justice and women's rights. All endured hardships, overcame obstacles, broke barriers, and changed the world, for which there are inspiring lessons to be learned for the modern woman.

Book Review:

FRONTIER GRIT tells the unlikely but true stories of twelve women on the frontier. The author defines the frontier as “a place where your people have not gone before (p. vii),” and to me, that seems accurate. Also, by broadly defining “frontier,” the author isn’t limited to the American frontier.

The women included in FRONTIER GRIT are absolutely incredible, and I think it’s a real pity I’d never heard of any of them before. That’s whitewashed, male history for you. I liked that the author included women of different nationalities and backgrounds in this book. There’s a Mexican-American author, a freed slave, a Native-American activist, and so on.

The chapters in FRONTIER GRIT are informative, each giving a biography of the woman and what they did. Sources are included at the end of each chapter. I’d recommend this book if you want to learn a lot about some truly inspiring women.

The one thing I didn’t like about FRONTIER GRIT was the author trying to give me a takeaway lesson about each woman. At the end of each chapter, Monson tells the reader what she thinks is important about each woman’s life. I found the author’s intrusion jarring and out of place. It just didn’t fit into the idea of the book for me.

Socialize with the author:

Marianne Monson:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

Book Review: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul KruegerLast Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger
Published by Quirk Books on June 7, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 288
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
A sharp and funny urban fantasy for “new adults” about a secret society of bartenders who fight monsters with alcohol fueled magic.

College grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever—or whoever—is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore.

Book Review:

LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE is a fun, quirky urban fantasy. Featuring a squad of “new adult” bartenders taking on the dark forces of the night, the book is definitely one I’d recommend for aficionados of properly mixed beverages.

Fresh out of college and unable to find a job, Bailey’s working as a barback for her friend Zane’s bar. It’s not a job worthy of her Ivy League education, but Bailey tries to overachieve anyway. One night she mixes herself a screwdriver, walks home, and is ambushed by a gruesome creature. But that screwdriver? It gives her the power to knock the beast into smithereens.

Bailey finds herself in a secret part of Chicago, where a perfectly mixed drink gives the imbiber magic powers for as long as the drink’s in their system. Each drink gives different powers based on its ingredients. Scattered throughout LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE are pages from The Devil’s Water Dictionary, Bailey’s guide to mixing magic drinks. Those pages were quite cool; one of my favorite parts of the book. They really added to the flavor of the author’s world.

As I said above, this book was quirky and fun. I also liked that the author worked in Bailey’s underemployment and living at home, as those are things a lot of college grads are dealing with. And I liked seeing her make friends, become confident, and realize she can do more than memorize and regurgitate information from a book.I liked seeing Bailey think on her toes. Let’s just say… Dumpster tank.

But there were also a few things that didn’t work for me. Sometimes I felt like the author forgot to mention stuff, like he forgot an important thing here or there, or it was edited out. Once in a while I felt like I was missing something vital. I also thought the romance between Bailey and Zane was unnecessary, awkward, and resolved way too quickly. I think it would’ve worked better if they stayed friends, rather than getting over the Fight and jumping together. I also wanted more background on the tremens.

Right now I think LAST CALL AT THE NIGHTSHADE LOUNGE is a standalone, and while I had a few issues with the book, I would definitely read more about Bailey and the Alechemists.

Socialize with the author:

Paul Krueger:
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– leeanna

Book Review: Drag Teen by Jeffery Self

Book Review: Drag Teen by Jeffery SelfDrag Teen by Jeffery Self
Published by Push on April 26, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, LGBT, Young Adult
Pages: 256
Format: ARC
Source: Amazon Vine
Goodreads
3 Stars
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.

Book Review:

JT needs to get out of Clearwater, Florida, a town that’s too small and just not for him. But he doesn’t have money for college, and his grades aren’t good enough for scholarships. Then his boyfriend Seth finds the perfect solution: JT will compete in the Miss Drag Teen Scholarship Pageant. The only problem? JT loves being in drag — it’s the only time he feels proud and powerful — but the last time he did it, he was booed off the stage of his high school talent show.

DRAG TEEN is a breezy yet serious book, on a subject I haven’t seen in YA before. There’s no angst over JT being gay; he’s already out to his parents and everyone else. No, the focus of the book is JT’s journey to find himself. Drag is a big part of it, because that’s his confidence booster, but there’s also a lot about him learning to quit worrying, live in the moment, and not put himself down.

I liked DRAG TEEN the most when it stayed in the moment, just like JT was learning to do. Sometimes the book got a bit too serious, and it didn’t quite fit the tone of it, like the author’s intentions were coming down like a sledge hammer. Sometimes JT’s revelations were a bit too mature, like a thirty-year-old looking back at being seventeen.

I liked the message of DRAG TEEN, I really did. I saw a lot of myself in JT, as I’m sure other people will. It’s so easy to be negative about yourself, to doubt things, to refuse the help of your friends, and so on. But anytime JT got into trouble, a miracle always showed up to help him. Flat tire on country backroads? Cue rescue by a superstar country singer who was also happy to lend JT wigs and costumes. By the end of the book, I was tired of JT never having to work for anything; everything he needed to find himself was handed to him.

Socialize with the author:

Jeffery Self:
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– leeanna