The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

Stonewall Book Award Winner

A fierce coming-of-age verse novel about identity and the power of drag, written and narrated by acclaimed UK poet and performer Dean Atta. Perfect for fans of Elizabeth Acevedo, Jason Reynolds, and Kacen Callender.

Michael is a mixed-race gay teen growing up in London. All his life, he's navigated what it means to be Greek-Cypriot and Jamaican--but never quite feeling Greek or Black enough.

As he gets older, Michael's coming out is only the start of learning who he is and where he fits in. When he discovers the Drag Society, he finally finds where he belongs--and the Black Flamingo is born.

Told with raw honesty, insight, and lyricism, this debut explores the layers of identity that make us who we are--and allow us to shine.

TITLE: The Black Flamingo
AUTHOR: Dean Atta
PUBLISHER: HarperCollins
YEAR: 2019
LENGTH: 360 pages
AGE: Young Adult
GENRE: Poetry

Queer Rep Summary: Lesbian/Sapphic Secondary Character(s), Gay/Achillean Main Character(s), Bi/Pan Secondary Character(s).

THE BLACK FLAMINGO is a celebration of complex layered identity (specifically gay, Greek-Cypriot, and Jamaican) as Michael grows up, comes of age and, through drag, finally finds a place that fits all of him.

It leaves room for messiness, mistakes, and the strange meandering coincidences of life as we watch Michael grow up, exploring the facets of his identity and celebrating the intersections between them. It handles a lot of topics and nuance in a way that keeps the underlying messiness while reaching for something healthier and more whole with every page. There's a lot of growth in the secondary characters as well, even minor characters learn and change in meaningful and obvious ways by the time the story is over. 

I loved reading this and highly recommend it. 

CW for racism, homophobia, drug use, bullying, vomit, violence, domestic abuse.

BTB 2021 Reading Challenge (QAOC)

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A young Black man in a black feather boa with a black flamingo in front of him, surrounded by pink flamingo feathers with a small group of pink flamingos in front of him and the black flamingo.


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