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My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen Hardcover – May 30, 2017
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“Clawson clearly loves all of his characters, as they are eloquently drawn, with just as many reasons for readers to love them as faults. What ensues is a fast-paced, riotous, laugh-out-loud yet insightful story of secret love between two closeted gay teens, with Kimberly unknowingly serving as J.J.'s beard. ―Kirkus Reviews
“A classic coming-of-age tale with a twist, My Fairy Godmother is a Drag Queen is funny, touching, and timely. Clawson explores issues like first love and fitting in with the ease and wit of a seasoned pro. I hesitate to say that this is the most inventive retelling of Cinderella of our time, but if the slipper fits…”―Aaron Karo, author of Me You Us and Lexapros and Cons
“. . . a spot-on modern version for contemporary teens, with an artful balance of serious insights about being true to oneself and riffs on pop culture. . . A fun, lighthearted YA retelling that’s an especially strong choice for collections in need of LGBTQ romances.”―School Library Journal
“. . . Clawson has lots of clever, inventive fun with fairy-tale conventions. . . Chris, who tells the story in his own agreeable first-person voice, is a thoroughly likeable character, as is J.J.” ―Booklist
“Ingeniously plotted with a spectacular cast, My Fairy Godmother Is a Drag Queen is magical excellence.”―Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
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In this page-turning novel, I kept thinking I had it all figured out, especially after the "shoe." I didn't know how Clawson would fill the rest of the book with an interesting story. . . but he did! One meter I have for deciding if I like a book or not is if the characters show up in my head after the fact as if they are real people out there -- like them or don't like them -- if they take on a life of their own and they live on in my head, that's a plus. Clawson's characters do, especial Chris, Kimberly, and of course, Coco. This is not your typical angst at school YA novel, in fact, school is almost an afterthought.
If anything is missing, it would be some descriptions. It wasn't until after I'd put the book down that I began to realize I didn't have a clear image of some places and people. I'm not sure this is a bad thing, after all, it didn't stop me from turning pages. Still, while I could probably accurately describe Kimberly's ball gown, other areas were sometimes lacking. Perhaps the biggest gap, as of this writing, is the lack of a sequel, which I am definitely wanting to read. I'm certain JJ and Chris have plenty of time to face more conflicts, secrets, and love, as well as Kimberly and Coco.
Perhaps the best parts are the dialogue, which is often giggle worthy, and the surprises that come when least expected. I'll be looking for more books from Clawson.
Those who can't tolerate cheating in a book, especially cheating with a woman in their M/M, this is not the book for you. The whole thing is two gay men and their beard. I appreciate the way Clawson presented a gay man circumstantially unable to come out and that he never let Chris demand that J.J. do just that to prove his love. But as is almost always the case in such stories, I don't think the emotional damage possible to the woman a gay couple hid behind was considered at all.
Writing is clear and easy to read, though repetitive at times, and it's well edited. Basically it's one of those books that I liked but found problematic.
Note: I won a copy through Goodreads.
The major theme of the story is about coming out and acceptance. Chris is not exactly out, but his sexuality is basically an open secret. He still feels fear over people knowing he is gay, thinking they won't approve of him. For that part, at least, his family is supportive of him, albeit in their weird way. But his secret boyfriend JJ isn't out, and since he is a public personality, he isn't itching to be out either. He is using Chris' stepsister as an unknowing beard, and sneaking around with Chris. Between keeping it secret from the family and from the paparazzi, they have their hands full, but Chris does want more out of their relationship.
I liked Chris as a character - he is hopelessly naive, but also comes across as a doormat most times. His one saving grace is that he still stands up for what he wants out of the relationship - ultimately. J J, meanwhile, just kept rubbing me the wrong way. Dude was so self-centered, it was all about his public image and his political future - as if him being gay is going to affect his running for office some 20-3o years down the line (I am optimistic about a more tolerating future, okay?) and for that, he subjects Chris to what is akin to be like a mistress. Duane, aka Coco Chanel, is funny and entertaining, and I loved that he got his own arc about his gender fluidity and fashion designer dreams than being just a small character in the story. He was over the top at times, especially when it came to Chris's step-brother, which felt like a stereotype? I don't really know, but it felt very cliche - like, of course the drag queen is going to hit on the hot straight guy? Yeah, I wasn't that convinced.
Overall, though, I would say read it if you like to read a queer Cinderella retelling. The romance wasn't that great, for me, though.
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