cover image Karaoke Queen

Karaoke Queen

Dominic Lim. Forever, $17.99 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-5387-2540-5

Comedy and father-son conflict intersect in Lim’s vivacious second novel (after All the Right Notes), a joyous celebration of drag, karaoke, and Filipino culture. Filipino American Rex Araneta has locked away his love for drag performance, karaoke, and women’s fashion because of his father’s disapproval and a traumatic past experience. Then Rex reconnects by chance with his white college boyfriend, Aaron Berry, the new manager of the Pink Unicorn, a historic Bay Area gay bar in financial peril. Hoping that saving the bar will win back Aaron’s affection, Rex revives his once viral drag queen persona, Regina Moon Dee, and offers to emcee karaoke night to bring in customers. But when Rex, who’s already insecure that no one could love both Rex and Regina, learns Aaron doesn’t like drag or respect it as an art form, he’s determined to keep Aaron from discovering that he’s Regina. To maintain his cover, Rex ropes in the Pink Unicorn’s cute, Filipino karaoke jockey, Paolo. Their elaborate web of deception gives way to a series of slapstick mishaps, especially when Rex teaches Paolo to impersonate Regina, but also tender moments arising when Rex least expects them. The result is a hilarious yet fervent tribute to the places and people that make being one’s authentic self possible. Agent: Gina Panettieri, Talcott Notch Literary. (Sept.)