Drag Teen by Jeffrey Self


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.

This book kind of went the way I expected it to for the most part. It was a good humorous story. I think the experiences the friends had on the road trip were some of the best parts of the book. One of the things I love about road trip books is the interesting people the characters meet along the way. JT, Seth, and Heather meet some great characters on their trip for sure.

I think this book took too long to get to the road trip. I say that because I know you are going to the Pageant JT. So the long period of time where he was telling everyone he wouldn’t and couldn’t do it was a little annoying. Especially because of the point here he finally decides he would. I didn’t think that moment would be such a big convincing moment. It only highlighted things he seemed to already know about his situation.

JT’s self-pity and lack of self-esteem probably annoyed me more than it did his boyfriend, but after the midway point in the book, it got a little more bearable. Seriously midway. I was reading the ebook and was at about 54% when it stopped bothering me as much.

Having low self-esteem is a thing. I understand that. It just felt like the reasons for it are kind of dumb in this. JT let things that were really stupid stop him from believing in himself. Homophobic jerks reactions the first time he did drag being one of those things.It just frustrated me. It made no sense. Of course, the reaction would be different in a different setting.

Seth’s big reveal is also pretty frustrating.It was so dumb.His reaction to I’m not perfect is I used to be not perfect essentially.They built it up to seem something really shocking and it wasn’t at all.You are great for being such a supportive boyfriend but get out. This is not that serious.” I think I said that out loud when I was reading the ‘reveal’ at Starbucks yesterday. I’m not even kidding with you I tend to mumble to myself as I read sometimes.Definitely said that part out loud.

I felt like Heather’s issues made the most sense.You saw what they were rooted from over the course of the book and it was logical. You saw people in the book not treating her the best they could. Her reactions to that were realistic and her reactions to that made me scared for her. I didn’t know what would happen with her in this book and still aren’t sure about where she’d progress to at the point where this book ends even with the hopeful tone at the end for all the characters really.

Not knowing what is in store for the future and living in the moment is one of the themes in this book, though. It’s something JT really needs to be able to do. You see really quickly it’s something he is going to struggle to do. Still thinking about past embarrassments or worrying about his future.

Things wrapped up okay at the end.Not exactly as you’d expect , though. One aspect of things didn’t make that much sense to me. I may have to reread some interactions down the line to see where the turnaround came from more. I really don’t like unrealistic 360’s in books.

Overall a good book. Sort of campy. Think it would make a great movie. The humor suits watching it well. Some jokes would land better hearing or seeing them out loud than reading it in a book for sure.


2 thoughts on “Drag Teen by Jeffrey Self”

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts – I had my interest peeked on this book too and ordered it… it’s currently en-route. There have been so many great titles released around identity issues recently, and I’m loving them all. Can’t wait to see how my opinion compares to yours. Great review, and thanks for posting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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