book review

The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta

*Editing this to add that you can find all trigger warnings for this book here.


Publisher: Hodder Children’s Book

Publication Date: August 8, 2019

Pages: 360

Genre: YA Contemporary

Rating; 5/5

This is a fantastic coming of age story that follows Michael as he figures out his identity. The book starts out when Michael is quite young and we follow him all the way to college. I chose to listen to the audiobook of this story because the author narrated it and it is written in verse. Although, I do want to reread this physically at some point because I recently learned that there are illustrations in the book.

This book is marketed as a queer coming of age story, which it definitely is, but it is also a story about a mixed race person coming to terms with themselves. Atta does an incredible job of showing us how Michael struggles with both. I hope that this book gets carried in schools because I know there are so many people who will see themselves in part(s) or the whole of Michael’s story. This is also just a great book that everyone should read because everyone will get something out of it.

The ending was extremely well done. Atta brought together Michael’s whole journey and I loved seeing the growth from young boy to young man. The ending was also beautiful, powerful, and impactful. I am trying to be as vague as possible but I was rooting one hundred percent for him and I actually cheered out loud at a certain point during the ending.

The writing of this book was very authentic and powerful. Michael, and all the characters, felt so real to me. The scenarios that the characters find themselves in also felt realistic which helped this book come to life for me. I wrote down so many quotes while I was listening to this and I am in awe of Atta’s talent. My notes for this book are filled with so many quotes but I will only share a couple because I want everyone to experience this book for themselves.

“Men are sandcastles made out of pebbles and the bucket is patriarchy. If you remove it we fear we won’t be able to hold ourselves together.”

“Remember you have the right to be proud. Remember you have the right to be you.”



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