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Book Review: Drag Teen by Jeffery Self, reviewed by teen reviewer Lexi

dragteenPublisher’s Book Description

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.

Lexi’s Thoughts:

‘I guess that was the whole secret to being confident: the ability to blend.”

It’s to say that this book has made me stop and think about my own life and how I view myself as a person. Many a time have I closed this book and sat in deep thought about how I feel about my body and about being of the non-straight variety. And I come to the realization that I still have issues with who I am and that the only way towards true self love and acceptance is to face these issues face on and to stop being scared of humiliation and mistakes.

Much like JT, all of us have experienced some sort of displeasure with who we are and what we look like and who we like and what we like. We are told to be cookie cutter perfect. But we aren’t meant to be molded to fit what people want. We are meant to mold ourselves into a person we were meant to be all along and this is the lesson JT is struggling with in Drag Teen.

We are given an image of a dumpy gay boy with a stunning boyfriend who is too good for him and a bestfriend who is three times bigger than him and is stuck in the 2000’s. From the get go the insecurities are very known and present.

– His insecurities about being fat.

-His insecurities about being stuck in Clearwater, Florida for the rest of his life pumping gas at his family’s gas station.

-His insecurities that he will inevitably lose his boyfriend because he isn’t good enough.

But it isn’t just his insecurities that are shown but also his friends, Heathers who also struggles with her weight and compensates with sass and a mask of unrelenting will towards what she eats and how much.  Even his perfect boyfriend, Seth, has insecurities about who he is. Because if anything we all fear something or another.

The discovery of a drag teen competition for a full ride is what sets this whole adventure on the road towards New York but it is their struggles to find who they are and the ability to love who themselves. With each obstacle they face JT comes a step closer to being who he was really meant to be, The next Miss Drag Teen USA.

He was born to be glorious and fierce. And much like JT the readers connects in the way that we all struggle to love who we are. We all struggle to accept ourselves and to accept that we aren’t meant to blend: we are meant to stand out and be individuals.

And I am confident in saying that this is one of the most inspirational and funny, heartwarming books I have read. It’s not very often that I walk away from a book and take a life lesson with me but with this one i have and i encourage everyone else to also.

Recommended song: Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

Stay weird, readers