“Billy Bloom is gay, but it’s mostly theoretical, as he hasn’t had much experience. When he has to move to Florida, he can’t believe his bad luck. His new school is a mix of Bible Belles, Aberzombies, and Football Heroes, none of which are exactly his type. Billy’s efforts to fit in and stand out at the same time are both hilarious and heartrending. In this novel from adult author and media personality James St. James, readers are in for a wild ride as he tells Billy’s fascinating story of bravado, pain, and unexpected love, inspired by his own experiences.”
I was very excited about this book and I tried hard to like it. The main problem was the main character, Billy Bloom, was so damn unlikeable that I was hoping he didn’t survive. He was over dramatic, self absorbed, annoying, a drama queen (haha bad pun, yes), and probably knew nothing about actually doing drag as he was hated by everyone. There was no way that he would have been able to have the skill that the author gave him and there was no way that many of the things in the plot that barely mattered would have happened.
I could probably rant all night about why this book was terrible, but I will break it down into a list to save time:
1. Billy Bloom needs to shut up. He is not cute like he thinks, it is a miracle that I didn’t beat him up. I was an out “tranny”, as he would say, all through high school and had no friends and even I wouldn’t be friends with him.
2. The use of transphobic and homophobic language as OK and perfectly normal by the main character.
3. The author not understanding that transsexuals (people who change their birth sex to another) and drag queens (usually gay men who dress in women’s clothing as a performance) are not the same thing. Transsexual people have a higher suicide rate and people wonder why. Drag queens can stop being queens when they feel like it (Billy did not have to wear dresses or anything else, he chose to do this). A transsexual has no choice.
4. The author not understanding basic transsexual anything. A person under the age of 18 can’t start hormones without parental consent and transwomen do not take injections. The author has one transwoman under the age of 18 asking Billy for help in a fan letter saying that she takes hormone injections. This is not how the process works and many transwomen (or gender theorists like Kate Bornstein) will tell you that transwomen and drag queens generally do not get along or they do not respect each other.
5. The inability to hold a love plot for more than a few pages is astounding. Billy is lusted after by all of the gay men in the school, I call BS. There is no way that all of the cute boys around Billy are gay and want him. He is annoying and he sexually harasses many of the boys as a way of bonding.
6. The level of sexual harassment that is seen as normal and even cute by the main character. Calling another boy “lover” loudly in the hallway and touching him without permission is not acceptable, but the character thinks it is cute.
7. Billy Bloom would likely have PTSD or refuse to go back to school. Instead he goes back repeatedly and even makes himself more of a target. That is not how being a teenager or a gay teenager works. Billy would be too traumatize to function after nearly being killed that he wouldn’t have gone in a dress again. The mental stability and character of the characters is not believable. I get more realism about humans from Dr. Suess.
Overall, this book was a waste of time and has made me incredibly angry. It sounded like a book that I would have liked and would have praised. Sadly, the author fell short, which I should have expected considering the travesty that was Party Monster (though I was hoping that it was the movie that was terrible instead of the original book, but now I see that this author has a thing for annoying and unlikable over dramatic and stereotypically gay characters). If you know anything about transsexuals or drag queens, I do not recommend this book. If you like reading books that have a main character that has some redeeming quality, look elsewhere. I wish I could say even one nice thing about this book, but the only thing I can say is thank goodness I did not spend money on this.
1 out of 5 stars. I would not recommend this book.
You can buy this book here.