Title: Drama Queers!
Series: Sequel to Band Fags!
Author: Frank Anthony Polito
Publisher: Kensington (2009)
Sub-Genres: 1980's, Coming of Age,GLBTQ Studies, Theatre Studies
Plot Summary: Bradley Dayton is a high school senior in the 1980's in a Detroit suburb. He's coming to terms with his sexuality, a best friend who refuses to acknowledge who he is, and not getting the lead in the school play. He just might also be falling in love for the first time, while trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.
What I Liked: Well, I liked the original book in this series enough to try out the sequel. And while there is a similar style and some of my favorite characters recur here, this book is almost too like original take. Even the two main character's voices are nearly the same. But if you hadn't read the other book, then you wouldn't know that.
That being said, I think anyone who has done high school theatre can at least appreciate this story. It's a story of learning who you are and why the most talented people don't always succeed in their artistic professions. It's a hard lesson to learn, but a valuable one.
What I Didn't Like: This book felt like fluff. And not in the good way.
There was something either hurried or incomplete about it. The first book had the same problem, but it didn't have the lack of structure that makes this book so unfulfilling. In fact, since the plotlines for both books run concurrently, this book's ending is the same as the first. (I won't spoil it here.) But in the first book, the ending felt earned in a way that it isn't here.
The structure and the narrative voice simply wander too much. Chapters jump around in time and there are constant allusions to 80's nostalgia, but it doesn't feel needed - or in my case, wanted at all. Sure, I'm not a child of the 80's, but just like I don't know as much about music as Nick Hornby, I can still enjoy the allusions he uses and learn something. Here, I felt like the allusions were too kitsch and unneeded, especially when they interrupt the story's flow for pages at a time.
Also, while I understand that the books are both based off the author's life and his real friends, there needed to be more of a character arc and resolution for not only the main character but for some of the minor characters, too. There's literally zero secondary character development in this book, making the main character (who narrates the book) read like a self-centered jerk. And his one true love? A bit too perfect, if you ask me.
Similar Books: Other Frank Anthony Polito Books: Band Fags!
Other 80's Nostalgia Trips: Remember the 80s: Now That's What I Call Nostagia!, Talking to Girls About Duran Duran: One Young Man's Quest for True Love and a Cooler Haircut, and High Fidelity: A Novel.
Buy It Here!: Drama Queers!
Last Thought: Unless you love books about the 80's, gay teens, or drama nerds, skip it.