Author: Jo Ramsey
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Length: Novel (210 pages)
Publisher: Harmony Ink, Dreamspinner Press (22nd August 2013)
Heat Level: Nil
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥4 Hearts
Blurb: Sixteen-year-old Evan Granger has no problems with being gay. Despite his mother’s objections, he wears nail polish and makeup to school and pursues his goal of becoming a professional drag queen.
TV drag star Taffy Sweet gives encouragement and Evan’s cousin Holly tries to protect him, but school bullies abuse him so badly because of his sexuality and the girly way he dresses that he ends up at the hospital emergency room. After that, even his new crush, a closeted football jock named Moe Garcia, is unhappy about Evan’s choice to live his life openly gay. But even in girly clothes and nail polish, Evan is a force to be reckoned with, and he soon shows the bullies—and everyone else—that beating a drag queen up does not mean the queen is beaten down.
Review: Evan has lived with scorn, hate, and bullying for longer than he can remember because he refuses to conform to everyone else’s idea of normal. Evan is gay and likes pretty things, when he grows up he wants to be a drag queen, but now he is a sixteen-year-old boy just trying to make it through high school. With the bullying getting worse Evan has to cope with being told to change by his family, teachers and his new boyfriend Moe, but all he wants is to be himself and when he is viciously attacked he shows everyone that he will never be beaten down.
This is a wonderful story that is all from Evan’s perspective, it shows the ups and downs and the hopes and dreams of a young man who knows who he is, and the victimization and bullying he has to live through. Evan is only sixteen, he is already used to shielding himself from the verbal abuse, the physical abuse ratchets up, and Evan finds himself a protector in the shape of football jock Moe. Moe is gay but in the closet, he is interested in cute and one of a kind Evan but is too scared of the repercussions if he comes out, so they start a secret relationship.
While we follow Evan in his story, we see the many faces of those around him, his mother who will always have his back but reacts badly when he is attacked, his father who is determined to turn Evan into a real man and his school who only do the minimum to stop the bullying. We see the pressure that Evan faces from people saying they support him but want him to change. We see Evan’s sheer determination to be who he wants to be and not what others want him to be. We see him share his pain with a TV drag star and hope for words of encouragement in return and we see the slow development of his relationship with Moe, a relationship that must be kept secret.
I recommend this to those who love young adult stories that are filled with pain and suffering, who love a young man who just wants to be himself, a young man who stands up for himself in the face of huge opposition and a young man who sees a glimmer of hope in the future.