Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens

A middle grade novel by Tanya Boteju.

Tanya Boteju

Perpetually awkward Nima Kumara-Clark is bored with her insular community of Bridgeton, in love with her straight girlfriend, and trying to move past her mother's unexpected departure. After a bewildering encounter at a local festival, Nima finds herself suddenly immersed in the drag scene on the other side of town.

Macho drag kings, magical queens, new love interests and surprising allies propel Nima both painfully and hilariously closer to a self she never knew she could be — one that can confidently express and accept love. But she'll have to learn to accept lost love to get there. (From Simon & Schuster)

From the book

The first time Ginny Woodland spoke to me, I vomited all over her Reeboks.

At the time, I was a haphazard assortment of 14-year-old body parts — frizzy black hair sprouting from an unruly ponytail, bug eyes, wide nose, ashy dark skin, practically inverted breasts and a variety of other genetic hilarities.

She, on the other hand, was a year older, and her body parts were decidedly better suited to one another. Fair skin, freckles, a cascade of fiery red hair — from the neck up alone she was a Botticelli to my Picasso.

Her artistic head bobbed along beside me now — even more beautiful three years later. She'd just finished her shift at Old Stuff, the thrift store where she worked part-time, and I'd biked over to meet her and walk her home — part of a petrifying plan I was no longer sure I could carry out.

Sneaking sideways glances at her as we walked, I could tell she was in a good mood. She was humming some tune I didn't know and tapping a pebble forward with her toe each step she took. I wished I was as at ease as she seemed. But as my bike rattled along beside me, my heart rattled even more inside my chest. I was trying to generate some magical source of courage to say what I came here to say, but all I seemed able to do was plod along beside her like a dolt, listening to her hum.

Though we'd known each other for three years, somehow that initial nausea had never fully disappeared, even though our relationship had managed to move past that early, revolting debacle.

From Kings, Queens, and In-Betweens by Tanya Boteju ©2019. Published by Simon Pulse.



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