Becoming a Queen by Dan Clay is a coming of age debut about loss and rebirth. High schooler Mark Davis puts on a dress for the talent show and gets promptly dumped for his efforts by his mas-centric boyfriend. Suddenly unmoored from what he thought his life was supposed to be, he leans on his older brother Eric who has always been his greatest supporter. But then tragedy strikes, and Mark is forced to face the world without the help he was always able to rely on before.
Becoming a Queen is a heartbreaking but ultimately empowering and hopeful tale about overcoming the trauma of loss and picking up the pieces of who you thought you were going to be in order to become something entirely new.— Simeon
A vibrant and emotional novel from debut author Dan Clay about a boy who turns toward love, self-expression, and drag when the unthinkable happens, perfect for fans of Jandy Nelson and Julie Murphy.
If only Mark Davis hadn’t put on a dress for the talent show. It was a joke—other guys did it too—but when his boyfriend saw Mark in that dress, everything changed.
And now, fresh on the heels of high school heartbreak, Mark has given up on love. Maybe some people are just too much for this world—too weird, too wild, too feminine, too everything. Thankfully, his older brother Eric always knows what to say to keep Mark from spinning into self-loathing. "Be yourself! Your full sequin-y self.”
But Mark starts to notice signs that his perfect older brother has problems of his own.
When the source of Mark’s strength suddenly becomes the source of his greatest pain, the path back to happiness seems impossible. Searching for a way out, Mark slips into a dress to just, briefly, become someone else, live a different life. His escape, however, becomes an unexpected outlet for his pain—a path to authentic connection, and a provocation to finally see other people as fully as he wants to be seen.
Beautifully written, heart-wrenching, and ultimately uplifting, Dan Clay's Becoming a Queen is a stunning story about love, loss, and the ineffable power of a purple princess dress.
Dan Clay is a writer and drag queen thrilled to be making his debut as a novelist with Becoming a Queen. Until now, he focused on spreading love and positivity online through his drag persona, “Carrie Dragshaw.” His writing as Carrie has been featured in hundreds of magazines, newspapers, and television shows–from Cosmo to People to Watch What Happens Live–and his TED Talk on being your “whole self” details his first-hand experience with the healing power of drag.
Dan graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in philosophy and went on to get an MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania. When he’s not writing, he works for a climate change nonprofit and a New York-based branding agency. He lives in New York.
“A stunning tale of grief, friendship, loss, and love, Becoming a Queen wraps you up in emotion like the most precious of dresses. Dan Clay’s debut will resonate in the hearts of queens, kings, and everyone in between!” — Jason June, New York Times-bestselling author of Out of the Blue and Jay’s Gay Agenda
"Becoming a Queen is all about finding your true self, even when the path is rocky at times. Real, tender, heartbreaking, and joyful all at once, Dan Clay has delivered a delight of a debut that will keep you turning the pages. Put this one on your shelves!" —Jennifer Mathieu, author of Bad Girls Never Say Die and Moxie
"A mosaic of well-drawn characters people this realistically rendered telling about healing, loss, and self-acceptance." —Publishers Weekly
"It’s a complicated story but one that buoys up well thanks to its mix of humor and realism. Readers who love wit that practically crackles with energy will be drawn to Mark’s first-person narration and may be surprised by the depths of emotion in his story. . . Enjoyable, tragic, and very real." —Kirkus Reviews