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The Black Flamingo

The Black Flamingo

Book - 2020
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"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"
Publisher: New York, NY : Balzar + Bray, an imprint of HarpercollinsPublishers, 2020
Edition: First US edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780062990297
Call Number: TEEN F ATTA
Characteristics: 403 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

Beautiful thought-provoking novel in verse of the self-journey of a young biracial exploring self identity and the nuance of drag.

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JCLCherylMY Feb 20, 2021

What an amazing affirmative book. Not just for teens but for everyone. A must read.

Feb 05, 2021

Ok, I'm going to be honest and say I only read 10 pages into this book, and knew without a doubt that I was going to LOVE this novel. Everything about this book was stunning from start to finish. I have never loved a character the way that I love Michael. In this novel we follow Michael from a very young age all the way to adult hood. Michael has known from the start that he was different from the other boys. Michael has always known that he prefers Barbie's to teenage mutant ninja turtles. When he plays "house" at school Michael only wants to play the "wife," never the husband. Michael has always known that he likes boys. This character, I think since we follow him from such a young age, was just so endearing and captivating to read. I grew very fond of this fictional character. We follow him as a child playing with Barbie's, then to middle school where he has found his love of musicals and singing and is now getting bullied for his "feminine" hobbies. Then to high school and "coming out," getting bullied and having his first real crush, all the way to finding himself and his love for drag in college. To me Michael is a real person and Dean Atta did an incredible job of bringing this character to life! This book was so well written and goes into such depth that we literally go through every emotion alongside Michael. I am genuinely attached to this character and I wish there was MORE! This was an easy 5 out of 5 stars. There was absolutely nothing that this book was lacking. It was complete perfection and I can't wait to read everything by Dean Atta. This book is also written in short verse, so it was an incredibly quick read, and well worth my time. I loved it so much I wish there was a sequel.

Jan 11, 2021

Loved it! I could not put it down!!

Dec 21, 2020

Totally amazing and intense story. One that everyone needs to read.

Dec 01, 2020

Wonderful Y.A. book. There are quotes & snippets throughout it that are still sticking with me, and it’s been awhile since I read it. This is the sort of Y.A. book that honors & is suited for the audience, and also has the depth to grow with a person & be appreciated at other ages as well.

Also, note to whoever is doing the “Subject Headings” and put this book under “Female Impersonators”: that strikes me as both wrong for this book (heartbreakingly so if you read & understood the book), & offensive to categorize all books with characters doing drag, under that phrase. Whoever is categorizing things like this...I suggest giving this book a read. It might give the sort of insight that would help a person understand that all drag performance can’t & shouldn’t be assumed to be “female impersonation.” Drag performance can be performances that are outside of societal gender norms, but the only option isn’t people “impersonating females.” Ugh, the way the phrase is rooted in and reinforces harmful assumptions towards various people in the LGBTQIAP+ community is so upsetting. There are so many layers there...just please don’t use that phrase as a blanket description for all drag. Try the subject heading “Drag Performance,” if you want a blanket subject-heading to put any books under that have characters doing drag performance, without knowing the details.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Oct 23, 2020

This novel in verse told from the POV of a gay Black young man in the UK is a lovely look at intersectional identities. Celebration of identities and taking the time to define and be true to oneself are central themes.

LPL_MargoM Jul 23, 2020

The more I read books in verse, the more I adore them. I'd been curious about this book since it won the Stonewall award at ALA Midwinter 2020. Since then, I'd seen the book around and wanted to read it but hadn't gotten around to it. Once I finally picked it up about a month ago, I absolutely regretted not doing so sooner. Black Flamingo tells the story of Michael, a young gay biracial person growing up in England. The book tackles identity, friendship, art, dating, and so much more and does it spectacularly. It's a very quick read so if you're looking for something you can get through fast but has a lot of heart, this is the book for you. Also, it has one of the better and more nuanced descriptions of a drag I've seen in YA literature. Instead of focusing on what the typical conception of drag is, it talks about what drag can (and quite honestly should) be despite taking up a very small portion of the book. Dean Atta has written something remarkable that sticks with you. Trust me, you'll love this book. I did.

Jun 25, 2020


IndyPL_ShannonO Jun 23, 2020

A wonderful read and a great addition for any Pride display. What I really enjoyed about this book was the main character's journey to understanding what being queer meant to him. I think so often people don't think they can identify as LGBTQ+ because they feel that they don't adhere to a specific type of queerness. But to be a part of the LGBTQ+ community is about a journey of self discovery and understanding, and I think this book did a wonderful job exploring that. It's also all in verse which makes it a quick read for those looking for shorter or less word-heavy YA titles.

Jun 07, 2020

This is an absolutely stunning novel in verse focused on self acceptance and becoming comfortable living as the person you truly are.


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