Freak Show

Freak Show
by James St. James
YA fiction. 298 pp.
Dutton. 2007.

At the beginning of his senior year, Billy Bloom's mother sends him to live with his father in Florida where he is enrolled in an elitist, private school. Moving into a new school before your senior year can just suck. But not for Billy. Because Billy is fabulous. And by fabulous, I mean he is a teen drag queen.

Now. I had issues getting into this book. The writing style isn't so bad. Billy's voice is strong. Very strong. (I guess that's to be expected of a drag queen, truth be told.) But I just don't like Billy. Then again, I have a hard time relating to characters (and, I'm discovering, people) who create their own problems because they just won't get it. Why on earth would anyone think it's a good idea to go to your first day at a new school dressed as a pirate? And not just any pirate, but a pirate that makes Captain Jack Sparrow look straight. So it really shouldn't be any surprise to him that he gets beat nearly to death when he dresses as a swamp bride.

Of course, without such setbacks, we wouldn't get to know Billy, although he really does come across as fairly shallow. The book finally gets interesting toward the end when Billy decides to run for Homecoming Queen. (Hmm. I guess I should have warned you about that being a spoiler, but I think that I might have been less frustrated thoughout the first part of the book had I known that this would be the actual plot element we working toward.) that part actually gets interesting, especially how he manages to manipulate the school political systems, demonstrating that he (or at least his fag hag) has some capacity for strategic planning.

Anyway, it's a good book to read if you want to see a character with a strong voice. But he'll likely just frustrate the hell out of you because of how little common sense he has.

1 comment:

Th. said...


At any rate, nice cover.