Hot Best Seller

Martin McLean, Middle School Queen

Availability: Ready to download

In this bighearted middle-grade debut, Martin McLean struggles to find his voiceand his inner divaas he navigates friendship, family, first crushes, and a whole lot of glitter. Seventh-grader Martin McLean has always been surrounded by people who can express themselves. His mother is an artist, his colorful Tío Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle In this bighearted middle-grade debut, Martin McLean struggles to find his voice—and his inner diva—as he navigates friendship, family, first crushes, and a whole lot of glitter. Seventh-grader Martin McLean has always been surrounded by people who can express themselves. His mother is an artist, his colorful Tío Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle are outgoing and don’t care what other people think. But Martin can only find the right words when he’s answering a problem at a Mathletes competition—until his tío introduces him to the world of drag. In a swirl of sequins and stilettos, Martin creates his fabulous drag queen alter ego, Lottie León. As Lottie, he is braver than he’s ever been; but as Martin, he doesn’t have the guts to tell anyone outside of his family about her. Not Carmen and Pickle, not his Mathletes teammates, and definitely not Chris, an eighth-grader who gives Martin butterflies. When Martin discovers that his first-ever drag show is the same night as the most important Mathletes tournament, he realizes that he can only pull off both appearances by revealing his true self to his friends—and channeling his inner drag superstar.


Compare

In this bighearted middle-grade debut, Martin McLean struggles to find his voiceand his inner divaas he navigates friendship, family, first crushes, and a whole lot of glitter. Seventh-grader Martin McLean has always been surrounded by people who can express themselves. His mother is an artist, his colorful Tío Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle In this bighearted middle-grade debut, Martin McLean struggles to find his voice—and his inner diva—as he navigates friendship, family, first crushes, and a whole lot of glitter. Seventh-grader Martin McLean has always been surrounded by people who can express themselves. His mother is an artist, his colorful Tío Billy works in theater, and his best friends Carmen and Pickle are outgoing and don’t care what other people think. But Martin can only find the right words when he’s answering a problem at a Mathletes competition—until his tío introduces him to the world of drag. In a swirl of sequins and stilettos, Martin creates his fabulous drag queen alter ego, Lottie León. As Lottie, he is braver than he’s ever been; but as Martin, he doesn’t have the guts to tell anyone outside of his family about her. Not Carmen and Pickle, not his Mathletes teammates, and definitely not Chris, an eighth-grader who gives Martin butterflies. When Martin discovers that his first-ever drag show is the same night as the most important Mathletes tournament, he realizes that he can only pull off both appearances by revealing his true self to his friends—and channeling his inner drag superstar.

30 review for Martin McLean, Middle School Queen

  1. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    Holy Normalizing Queerness for Kids, Batman! more when I don't have to leave for work, but uh. Don't sleep on this one, kids. The casual diversity and representation of ALL kinds is fantastic, the focus on friendship and family is amazing, the conversations about exploring and discovering yourself and who you are and how you want to present that to the world are beyond wonderful--and really hit home for those of us who didn't know what the heck we were back in middle school. This book is Holy Normalizing Queerness for Kids, Batman! more when I don't have to leave for work, but uh. Don't sleep on this one, kids. The casual diversity and representation of ALL kinds is fantastic, the focus on friendship and family is amazing, the conversations about exploring and discovering yourself and who you are and how you want to present that to the world are beyond wonderful--and really hit home for those of us who didn't know what the heck we were back in middle school. This book is fabulous, and everyone should read it. Especially kids. Especially kids. I just. *hearteyes* repeating infinitely.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emily Monaco

    I had the distinct pleasure of reading this début: it's funny, it's heart-warming, it's human, and it's incredibly touching, with messages of being true to yourself and learning to trust the people who care about you. Martin is sure to captivate and dazzle readers old and young!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kristel

    At first I was skeptic because I realized the book wasn't own voices and it had an irish cuban boy questioning his sexuality as a main character. Can this author tell this story? It was enjoyable and I was happy to read in the acknowledgments how many different people helped her built this book. I've been to a few drag shows and I've been present when the magic, the transformation, happened. And it's truly magical. Drag queens are fierce and you feel it just being in the same room with them. I At first I was skeptic because I realized the book wasn't own voices and it had an irish cuban boy questioning his sexuality as a main character. Can this author tell this story? It was enjoyable and I was happy to read in the acknowledgments how many different people helped her built this book. I've been to a few drag shows and I've been present when the magic, the transformation, happened. And it's truly magical. Drag queens are fierce and you feel it just being in the same room with them. I loved how our young mc found his calling after a show. There were tons of mentions of delicious food I too eat since I'm Ecuadorian, but not so often since I live in Italy and italian food is much faster to cook, and my mom thinks ecuadorian food is really fat. Which it is, but that's one of the reasons it's delicious!! The random spanish in the conversation can be off putting but I realized that's exactly how my parents talk. It felt like home. So, I say you give this little book a chance even if you had your doubts. It can be a pleasant surprise. I will still try, as always, to support own voices. There are just so many books to read, I need more time!!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Amelia Rosegrant

    What would you call a group of drag queens anyway? A sparkle? A monarchy? A glamour? So who cares who you love? What matters is that you do love Martin McLean, Middle School Queen is such a gorgeous book. I needed this book in middle school! I loved the representation of a questioning child and how well it explored that knowing or not knowing your sexuality is a journey. There was so much in this book that I related to (adoption rep, anxiety rep), and so much that I know my students will connect “What would you call a group of drag queens anyway? A sparkle? A monarchy? A glamour?” “So who cares who you love? What matters is that you do love” Martin McLean, Middle School Queen is such a gorgeous book. I needed this book in middle school! I loved the representation of a questioning child and how well it explored that knowing or not knowing your sexuality is a journey. There was so much in this book that I related to (adoption rep, anxiety rep), and so much that I know my students will connect to as well. Martin is being raised by a single mother, and when he has a panic attack at school she invites his uncle to live with them so he has a male influence around. What Martin doesn’t know is that his uncle is a well-known drag queen. Martin decides that he wants to enter a drag competition to see if it will help him enhance his confidence and maybe figure out his sexuality. But the drag competition is the same day as his regional mathlete tournament, so he must figure out how/if he can do both. He’s also struggling with keeping his new drag life a secret from his closest friends and his mathlete team, because he fears they won’t accept him. I will recommend this book to so many of my middle school students, as well as any adult who wants to read an adorable, fun, affirming book! Also bonus points for the author being a Columbia College alum!

  5. 4 out of 5

    C.trayn

    A smart, funny and compelling book. The characters are well defined and real. Great small town life details and amazing chemistry between these middle school friends. And...Celia Cruz!? Holy Cow! How on earth does a young twenty something author know about Celia Cruz? One whole star is just for that. Go directly to YouTube and look you up some Celia Cruz before, during or after you read this book. Yo Vivre!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    https://maybesbooks.blogspot.com/2020...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ms. Yingling

    E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Martin Lives with his artist mom (who is Afro-Cuban) in Bloomingtom, Indiana, but his father, who is of Irish descent, lives with his new family. When Martin has an anxiety attack at school and his concerned teacher calls home, his mother invites his Tío Billy to stay with them and be a male influence for a while, while he and his husband are moving to Chicago. Billy takes Martin to a club near campus that puts on drag shows. Martin is surprised that Billy is a E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus Martin Lives with his artist mom (who is Afro-Cuban) in Bloomingtom, Indiana, but his father, who is of Irish descent, lives with his new family. When Martin has an anxiety attack at school and his concerned teacher calls home, his mother invites his Tío Billy to stay with them and be a male influence for a while, while he and his husband are moving to Chicago. Billy takes Martin to a club near campus that puts on drag shows. Martin is surprised that Billy is a performer (aka Cassie Blanca), but also enthralled by the idea. He explores creating an alter identity with his uncle and comes up with Lottie Leon, whom he bases a bit on the performer Celia Cruz. While he and his uncle bond over heels and wigs, Martin also has to lead his school Mathletes team to competition. He hangs out with his friends Pickle (who is very small for his age) and Carmen as well. Both of his friends are very supportive of his new interest, and they are also okay with the fact that Martin thinks he might be gay, but isn't really sure. When he starts to hang out with Chris, another mathlete, he finds him attractive and starts to think that he may be gay, but the two just become better friends. When the local all-ages drag competition is at the same time as the mathletes one, Martin must rely on his friends and family for help in taking part in both. Strengths: This is certainly the first middle grade book I've seen about the world of drag performing, although I have read a YA one years ago. Martin's family situation is interesting, with the very common fact of having his father live far away and the uncommon fact of his mother being an artist blending together well. Billy is a good addition, and his interest in introducing Martin to his world is understandable. Bloomington is fortunately more open to drag performing than Ohio is, but there is apparently youth interest in it. Playing off the extrovert activity of performing against the somewhat introvert one of mathletes was fun. Also, I got to learn about an art form that was completely foreign to me, and even looked up the video of RuPaul singing Sissy That Walk. Weaknesses: It was a bit of a stretch for me that Martin went from being a quiet mathlete to wanting to do drag so much. It seemed an abrupt shift, although his feeling of empowerment while in character was described well. What I really think: I had a brief upswing in students interested in theatrics and performing when we had a teacher who ran a drama club, but I will have to see how much interest there is now that that teacher has left. Books on this topic usually gather dust, but I do have a growing population interested in LGBTQIA+ books, so I will consider purchasing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Crouch

    I'm so grateful to have won a copy of Martin McLean, Middle School Queen. Martin is my favorite kind of introspective and curious protagonist. We meet him as he's entering seventh grade. Everyone else seems to have their lives figured out: his best friend Carmen is an outspoken and determined drama queen, Pickle is hilariousy nerdy and in love with Violet. So why can't Martin figure himself out? When he has a panic attack on the first day of school, Martin's mom calls her younger brother, Tio I'm so grateful to have won a copy of Martin McLean, Middle School Queen. Martin is my favorite kind of introspective and curious protagonist. We meet him as he's entering seventh grade. Everyone else seems to have their lives figured out: his best friend Carmen is an outspoken and determined drama queen, Pickle is hilariousy nerdy and in love with Violet. So why can't Martin figure himself out? When he has a panic attack on the first day of school, Martin's mom calls her younger brother, Tio Billy, to the rescue. Martin is thrilled to see his uncle, but less than thrilled that his mom thinks he needs rescuing at all. Turns out, he does. Tio Billy gives Martin permission to not know exactly who he is or where he sees himself yet. And just knowing that Tio Billy once felt the same way is a relief to Martin. After some time watching Martin mope around, Tio Billy decides to bring him to something new and exciting: a drag show. This changes everything for Martin. Readers will root for Martin from the first page and every page thereafter. His uncertainty about who he is will bring you right back to those middle school days of judgment and scorn for anyone outside the norm. All Martin wants to do is fit in, but in drag he learns to stand out in the best possible ways. I am so excited to booktalk this book with my students!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jessie Bond

    Martin McLean and his drag alter ego, Lottie León, stole my heart and I don't want it back. Martin is an anxious, awkward middle schooler who finds a whole new world when his Tío Billy takes him to a drag show. Enthralled by the queens' glamour and confidence, Martin sets out on a journey to learn drag and compete in All-Ages Night at the local coffee shop. The only problem is, the competition is the same night as the championship for the Mathletes team, which he's captain of. Oh, and he's Martin McLean and his drag alter ego, Lottie León, stole my heart and I don't want it back. Martin is an anxious, awkward middle schooler who finds a whole new world when his Tío Billy takes him to a drag show. Enthralled by the queens' glamour and confidence, Martin sets out on a journey to learn drag and compete in All-Ages Night at the local coffee shop. The only problem is, the competition is the same night as the championship for the Mathletes team, which he's captain of. Oh, and he's trying to keep his drag life a secret from his friends, who are starting to grow suspicious. And Martin is developing feelings for another boy on the Mathletes team and isn't sure what that means. And he's struggling to connect to his single mother and reconcile his complicated feelings about his absentee father. All along, though, he's supported by wonderful adults and caring friends. Martin's story of finding and owning his identity is one any middle schooler can relate to, whether they've got an inner drag queen or not. I can't wait to recommend this a billion times.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carol McCarthy

    I really enjoyed this book. Martin is like most of us unsure and anxouse. Alyssa Zaczek does an excelent job portraying how hard it is to communicate if you are not even sure how you feel or what the right words are. By the end Martin has learned alot about himself and some about the wider world, life is looking up. This book could be a way for some young people to open conversations. Things that are explained to Martin or he works out can give anyone extra insight. My only quibble with the book I really enjoyed this book. Martin is like most of us unsure and anxouse. Alyssa Zaczek does an excelent job portraying how hard it is to communicate if you are not even sure how you feel or what the right words are. By the end Martin has learned alot about himself and some about the wider world, life is looking up. This book could be a way for some young people to open conversations. Things that are explained to Martin or he works out can give anyone extra insight. My only quibble with the book is that Martin seems to only face two bullies and only one of those is at school. This seems a little easy, but I get that the book is trying to find a line between reality and asperation. Overall still a very good story.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    *reviewed from uncorrected ARC** diverse middlegrade fiction (questioning mixed-race 7th grader with Afro-Cuban single mom in Indiana enters the drag queen scene with help from his Tío Billy while juggling friends, Mathletes, anxiety) After suffering a panic attack in class triggered by a classmate's homophobic bullying, Martin's uncle takes him to a drag show--which Martin loves and immediately wants to be part of the scene. He doesn't know if he likes boys or girls yet, but he thinks that drag *reviewed from uncorrected ARC** diverse middlegrade fiction (questioning mixed-race 7th grader with Afro-Cuban single mom in Indiana enters the drag queen scene with help from his Tío Billy while juggling friends, Mathletes, anxiety) After suffering a panic attack in class triggered by a classmate's homophobic bullying, Martin's uncle takes him to a drag show--which Martin loves and immediately wants to be part of the scene. He doesn't know if he likes boys or girls yet, but he thinks that drag will provide him with the confidence he needs. Martin's friends are adorable and diverse, the story is cute and a quick read, and all ends happily.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    The heart of the story is Martin's struggle to understand who he is, and every tween can relate to that. The cast is diverse and inclusive, and I especially loved the Spanish woven into the conversations within Martin's family. Both the family and friendship dynamics felt real. The story balances realism with humor, offering readers a way through moments that may hit too close to home or be uncomfortable for them. See why our reviewer thinks every preteen should read this book.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    This is a super charming and super-inclusive read, about a middle schooler who falls in love with drag and decides to be a drag queen, like his beloved uncle. But wait, his math competition is the same night as his first big drag queen show! This is not something I normally read--since there are no fairies, dragons, or witches in it--but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless. There's also great disability rep in it. The main character has panic attacks, and his best friend dates an awesome This is a super charming and super-inclusive read, about a middle schooler who falls in love with drag and decides to be a drag queen, like his beloved uncle. But wait, his math competition is the same night as his first big drag queen show! This is not something I normally read--since there are no fairies, dragons, or witches in it--but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it nonetheless. There's also great disability rep in it. The main character has panic attacks, and his best friend dates an awesome girl who is also a wheelchair user.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bryan

    A middle grade novel that has its protagonist becoming and then performing drag...OH MY!!! I loved everything about this book. As a fully grown queer who loves drag, many things made me 😊. However, growing up confused/questioning many parts also made me cringe remembering those moments in my own life. I really wished this book existed when I was 9-12 because it wouldve helped immensely at that time and perhaps those wouldnt be cringe worthy memories. Disney Plus, Netflix, somebody!!! Please adapt A middle grade novel that has its protagonist becoming and then performing drag...OH MY!!! I loved everything about this book. As a fully grown queer who loves drag, many things made me 😊. However, growing up confused/questioning many parts also made me cringe remembering those moments in my own life. I really wished this book existed when I was 9-12 because it would’ve helped immensely at that time and perhaps those wouldn’t be cringe worthy memories. Disney Plus, Netflix, somebody!!! Please adapt this!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rick Hribko

    Read to see if I could recommend to other students, especially GSA students. Great book for all students, especially GSA. Deals with drag/cross-dressing issues and transgender issues. Great explanations, very informative, and humor to keep it light, informative, and interesting for all students. I am going to recommend to the school librarian and buy more copies for my own room. Thank you, Ms. Zaczek for a book that belongs on all middle school shelves!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    Super cute, and I'm always happy with books that celebrate drag. This one's particularly nice in that it's for a younger audience and manages to work in some really healthy messages of affirmation without getting preachy about it. Some of it feels a little far-fetched to me, but that's largely beyond the point. More drag queens! More glitter! I do wish books in this vein had been around when I was this age.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Ashby

    I wanted to love this as much as I loved the IDEA of it the second I knew it existed. Ive been anxious to get my hands on a copy for months so its a little sad that Im only feeling three stars-ish about it. Characters are fun and the message comes through loud and clear, but its all too pat for me with the only real struggle being Martins interior one. I wanted to love this as much as I loved the IDEA of it the second I knew it existed. I’ve been anxious to get my hands on a copy for months so it’s a little sad that I’m only feeling three stars-ish about it. Characters are fun and the message comes through loud and clear, but it’s all too pat for me with the only real struggle being Martin’s interior one.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Workman

    A lovely coming of age story of Martin McLean, mathlete, gamer, and potential drag queen. Dealing with an absent dad, hard working single mom, and panic attacks Martin is in search of his identity and voice. Filled with diverse real characters Martin McLean is a very easy loving way to discuss identity.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Although this tries just a [i]little[/i] too hard and commits the cardinal son of using food terms to describe skin tone (which isn't okay even if the characters are talking about themselves), the finale is so triumphant that the problems almost don't matter.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ms. C

    I mean. If this isn't the sweetest, most affirming pile of gloop. 😍😍😍 gr. 5-7, no content concerns, but it's defo a middle school story so kids below 5th grade just aren't going to vibe with it I feel like

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

    Sweet and hopeful story about a seventh grade boy choosing to express himself through drag. He had a ton of support, which will be so necessary for some reading this, and I thought the author created a realistic portrayal of life as a seventh grader trying to shape their future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Martin is a delightful character with incredible friends and a great story. Strong messages for everyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Skye

    I absolutely loved this book! It was fun, it was funny, heartwarming, just all around adorable!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Queer content: drag scene, questioning/gay MC, gay uncle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    A middle grade book about drag queens, empowerment, courage, and mathletes! Earnest, endearing, and full of the requisite middle school drama.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Tam I

    Read an ARC. Great representation. Super cute.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Cute book with easy-to-like characters (minus the bully, naturally).

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Pineo

    Funny, touching and fierce middle grade story about a 12 year old finding out who he is through friends, family, math and drag. Loved it.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diana Pettis

    Recommend this for ages 12 and up.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Clearly the next step up from the currently popular Drag Queen Story Hours, here were have a seventh grader who decides that drag is one facet of his personal expression (mathelete is another). How these two sides can integrate, and how his friends will react, is something that Martin will struggle with throughout the book. The description of drag culture and norms is well done, and Martin's friends are enjoyably normal. ARC provided by publisher.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.