Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton

Publication Date: 2 February 2023

The Blurb

James loves dancing, poetry, and Mariah Carey (not in that order, though, because Mariah would obviously be first!).

His teacher, Mr Hamilton, is getting married to his boyfriend and it seems that James will be part of a surprise choir performance at the wedding.

But James’s father seems uncomfortable about the plan, and a lot of other things – like any mention of Mr Hamilton, and James’s dancing, and how James talks about his new friend Joel. Meanwhile, a different boy has been harassing James at school and calling him gay, and it’s getting worse every day.

James can find relief with his beloved Nan, she’s been having worrying falls, and James can’t tell anyone, or she might be sent to a faraway care home. The secrets are building up, and James is starting to lose his characteristic spark.

Can he find the strength to let the truth out?

The Review

What an absolute triumph of friendship, allyship, and love! If you have any hang-ups about laughing or crying whilst reading in public, save this one to read at home, as I did both while reading this on a train.

Raw emotion pours from the page as we see James’ shine begin to fade: his fears about Gran; his inability to talk with his Dad; and his hurt and confusion in the face of bullying that gets worse, all darken his shine and make him question who he is. His idol’s lyrics perfectly capture his feelings of isolation as he hides from everyone, including himself, in a bid to stop the emotional turmoil and confusion raging inside. His anger towards Dad when he snaps about new friend Joel, and not allowing him to go to his teacher’s wedding, his pain towards his broken friendship with Nathan and his inability to speak to his mum.

While this sounds glum, there really are moments of pure joy where we see James shine as bright as the stars, dancing with Nan, reminiscing about younger days with Harriet (everyone needs a Harriet at their side), and finally opening up to his Dad. One of my favourite scenes was when Joel took James out into the woods, and the healing power of nature is shown in full force.

Like I said at the start, tears of sadness and joy, and pure laughter from a very much needed read for empathy that will allow any child who has ever felt confused about who they are, have suffered at the hands of bullies or just adore Mariah Carey to see themselves reflected in a book. This will live long in the bookcase in my heart, where James has earned himself a permanent place.

Huge thanks to Scholastic for sending me a copy and inviting me to take part in the blog tour. Do make sure you check out all of the other stops.


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