Historical Mystery YA Young Adult

The Boy in the Red Dress Review

A queer historical fiction murder-mystery set in and around a 1920s speakeasy.

Millie’s best friend (Marion) is accused of killing a young socialite on New Year’s Eve. Now it’s up to Millie to solve the case and save Marion’s life because this is the year 1930, and no one is about to give a gay man and drag headliner a fair trial. Millie herself is bisexual and lives with her lesbian aunt, who owns the Cloak & Dagger, an LQBTQIA+ inclusive speakeasy in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Millie is fierce, independent, and hardened, a side effect of having an absent mom who cares more about the carousel of guys in her life than her only daughter.

Expertly crafted, the novel sings with the vestiges of 1920s atmosphere, lush and evocative with all the glitz and glamor we associate with the Roaring Twenties…. as well as the crime — bootlegging, moonshine, gangsters. Creating a world you can easily imagine yourself into as Millie and friends hunt for the real killer. The focus here is on found family, friendship, with a dash of romance. The pace is reminiscent of Agatha Christie, with plenty of twists that will keep you guessing until the very end. A joy to read and an impressive debut.


Book: The Boy in the Red Dress
Published: Viking Books for Young Readers
Pages: 362
Publication Date: May 12th, 2020
Age Range: 13 – 18
Stars: 4/5

Penguin Teen kindly sent me a free eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion, rating, or the content of my review.

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