‘Drama Queers!’ by Frank Anthony Polito
Drama Queers!, is a charming young adult novel for the hopeless romantic in all of us who would like to turn back the clock to our last year of high school. Author, playwright and actor, Frank Anthony Polito, made news when Facebook refused to publish the title of his first novel Band Fags! last summer. Picking up not too long after where the first novel left off, Drama Queers! is narrated by Brad Dayton, former band player and proud member of the drama club, who spends his senior year estranged from his best friend, lusting after a sophomore he used to tease and frequenting The Gas Station, a drag bar seemingly unafraid to serve minors.
Brad is preoccupied with all that you would expect from a gay teen, including but not limited to boys, show tunes and pop culture. Desperate to escape from the Detroit suburb where he has lived his entire life, Brad’s dream of becoming a famous actor depends entirely upon his upcoming audition for admission to Julliard. Seeking any available opportunity to hone his skills, Brad tries out for lead roles in the school productions of A Christmas Carol and Grease. More than once, he loses out to fellow actor Richie Tyler, a sophomore who Brad finds infuriating yet irresistible.
With Brad, Polito has created the quintessential horny teenager—shameless and annoying, yet adorable, impossible to dislike and not for one second confused. The novel often reads like a diary, sprinkled with random thoughts and observations, most often about a particular male’s physique. Some of Brad’s actions and decisions aren’t especially commendable, but that is precisely what makes this novel worthwhile. What teen, especially one during the late 1980s, hasn’t done something crass or outrageous just to call attention to his or herself? After all, all is fair in love and war.