Jo Ramsey – Nail Polish and Feathers

nail polis

Author: Jo Ramsey
Reviewed by: Mandy
Publisher: Harmony Ink
Genre: M/M Young Adult
ISBN 13: 9781627980890

Rating: ★★★¾☆ 



Sixteen-year-old Evan Granger has no problems with being gay. Despite his mother’s objections, he wears nail polish and makeup to school and pursues his goal of becoming a professional drag queen. 

TV drag star Taffy Sweet gives encouragement and Evan’s cousin Holly tries to protect him, but school bullies abuse him so badly because of his sexuality and the girly way he dresses that he ends up at the hospital emergency room. After that, even his new crush, a closeted football jock named Moe Garcia, is unhappy about Evan’s choice to live his life openly gay. But even in girly clothes and nail polish, Evan is a force to be reckoned with, and he soon shows the bullies—and everyone else—that beating a drag queen up does not mean the queen is beaten down. 


The cover and the title of this book grabbed my attention and the blurb intrigued me. 

Evan narrates this story. He knows who he is and who he wants to be, pretty amazing for a sixteen year old. He’s been wearing nail polish and dressing more feminine since fifth grade and his mother isn’t thrilled but mostly tolerates it. She works a lot and his dad is much too busy with his new girlfriend and her kids.

The kids at school, well that is a whole different issue, teasing, pushing, name calling, it’s only getting worse. The school does the minimum it has to and Evan doesn’t really report it anymore or tell his mom. She would have his back, but he knows it will just make it worse.

His best friend and cousin Holly watches out for him and is his sounding board.

Evan describing himself as the schools ‘punching bag’ and what he goes through daily even while pretending it doesn’t get to him is hard to read about, really hard to read about. Evan is just one example of a kid being bullied, assaulted and victimized.

His situation is made worse for him, because the people who love him or want to help him and keep him safe, keep telling him and pressuring to change who he is. As if changing him will make the haters stop.

It just hurts Evan more :“The people who claimed they supported me weren’t much better than the people who hated me. All of them wanted me to be someone I wasn’t.”

He gets pretty frustrated feeling he is being held responsible, even partly for the evil that is done to him : “Changing me wouldn’t change them,” I said.” 

What I liked a lot was that with the exception of the bullies and tormentors, everyone was very multifaceted. Evan’s mother for example, she loves him and supports him, but after his assault she reacts badly and isn’t always understanding. She is acting in what she thinks is his best interest no doubt, but reading about it I would have liked her to  respond differently at times although I think her behavior was probably realistic.

His father also wasn’t a total asshat, although he comes close.

Moe, his boyfriend, is supportive and Evan feels better about himself when Moe stands up for him. But when Moe isn’t what Evan needs, he isn’t afraid to call Moe out on his behavior and stand up for himself. He didn’t want to keep him at any price, which is a nice change. Their relationship is very new and very ‘light’ which I liked. 


I guess my take away is that Evan not only has to worry about his ‘enemies’.  Even his ‘allies’ aren’t always on his side, or at least not the way he needs and wants them to be. Then again, that’s how it is sometimes.  Even trying to be helpful and supportive isn’t always seen that way by the person we are trying to help. And most people in this book and in life really are trying to do the best they can and the best they know how.

But at the end of the day and the end of the story things are looking up for Evan, he knows things aren’t going to be smooth sailing, but he has friends and he is in counseling, which I thought was very important and so seldom seen in books.

I have a good feeling how Evan is going to make his way, as he has hope and people in his corner.  I would love to read how his story continues and I would love to cheer him on and tell him you are okay just the way you are, Evan, turquoise nail polish,  eyeliner and all. This was a story about Evan’s journey, he knew from the beginning who he was and where he wants to go, but he needed to show his world who he is.




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