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The Boy in the Red Dress

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A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery in this rollicking romp of truth, lies, and troubled pasts. New Year's Eve, 1929. Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even w A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery in this rollicking romp of truth, lies, and troubled pasts. New Year's Eve, 1929. Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even wealthy partiers' diamond earrings can't outshine the real star of the night: the boy in the red dress. Marion is the club's star performer and his fans are legion--if mostly underground. When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion starts asking questions, Millie wonders if she's just another fan. But then her body is found crumpled in the courtyard, dead from an apparent fall off the club's balcony, and all signs point to Marion as the murderer. Millie knows he's innocent, but local detectives aren't so easily convinced. As she chases clues that lead to cemeteries and dead ends, Millie's attention is divided between the wry and beautiful Olive, a waitress at the Cloak & Dagger, and Bennie, the charming bootlegger who's offered to help her solve the case. The clock is ticking for the fugitive Marion, but the truth of who the killer is might be closer than Millie thinks..


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A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery in this rollicking romp of truth, lies, and troubled pasts. New Year's Eve, 1929. Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even w A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mystery in this rollicking romp of truth, lies, and troubled pasts. New Year's Eve, 1929. Millie is running the show at the Cloak & Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. The new year is just around the corner, and all of New Orleans is out to celebrate, but even wealthy partiers' diamond earrings can't outshine the real star of the night: the boy in the red dress. Marion is the club's star performer and his fans are legion--if mostly underground. When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion starts asking questions, Millie wonders if she's just another fan. But then her body is found crumpled in the courtyard, dead from an apparent fall off the club's balcony, and all signs point to Marion as the murderer. Millie knows he's innocent, but local detectives aren't so easily convinced. As she chases clues that lead to cemeteries and dead ends, Millie's attention is divided between the wry and beautiful Olive, a waitress at the Cloak & Dagger, and Bennie, the charming bootlegger who's offered to help her solve the case. The clock is ticking for the fugitive Marion, but the truth of who the killer is might be closer than Millie thinks..

30 review for The Boy in the Red Dress

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mackenzi

    What a deeply fun, YA Miss Fischer-esque queer New Orleans murder mystery this is!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Cece (ProblemsOfaBookNerd)

    From the author's twitter: "Quick facts about THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS: 🏳️‍🌈MC Millie is bi (hello bi love triangle!) 🏳️‍🌈Her BFF Marion is gay & performs in drag 🏳️‍🌈Her aunt is a lesbian in a committed relationship w/ a woman 🏳️‍🌈They all work in a queer-friendly speakeasy 🏳️‍🌈A few people are straight I guess?" Kristin Lambert I NEED THIS From the author's twitter: "Quick facts about THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS: 🏳️‍🌈MC Millie is bi (hello bi love triangle!) 🏳️‍🌈Her BFF Marion is gay & performs in drag 🏳️‍🌈Her aunt is a lesbian in a committed relationship w/ a woman 🏳️‍🌈They all work in a queer-friendly speakeasy 🏳️‍🌈A few people are straight I guess?" Kristin Lambert I NEED THIS

  3. 4 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    CW: homophobia, parental abandonment, being gay seen as a mental illness, involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, and murder Y'all, this book was so good! I can't believe this is a debut, but I need it for my personal shelf since I read an e-copy through my library. This book is set in 1929 where we follow Millie. She works at her aunt's speakeasy, which is hella queer, after her mom left her there to run off with a guy. Her aunt is most likely gay and is in a long-term relationship with a woman. CW: homophobia, parental abandonment, being gay seen as a mental illness, involuntary psychiatric hospitalization, and murder Y'all, this book was so good! I can't believe this is a debut, but I need it for my personal shelf since I read an e-copy through my library. This book is set in 1929 where we follow Millie. She works at her aunt's speakeasy, which is hella queer, after her mom left her there to run off with a guy. Her aunt is most likely gay and is in a long-term relationship with a woman. Millie is also queer (bi or pan, although those terms don't mean much since this is a historical book and those terms weren't used back then). Marion, their star act, is performing on stage when it all goes to hell with a death that could put Marion in jail and even destroy her aunt's business. I found this utterly enthralling to read. It's fast-paced and has a mystery, a romance (F/F and M/M tbh), healing after a parent abandons them, healing after a shitty thing happens and she wants to atone, and more. It was just a great read, honestly. Every time I picked it up, I read more than I meant to and I was so happy while doing it. Basically, pick this one up if you get a chance! I definitely wasn't disappointed by it and would recommend it as a fantastic historical queer mystery.

  4. 4 out of 5

    McKelle George

    I forking love this book. Superb mystery in a setting that you basically smell on the pages. Speakeasies, drag, a sharp-witted heroine, and a twisty mystery. A++++

  5. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    4.5 Stars This book was such a wild ride and I loved it! It has absolutely everything you'd want from an #ownvoices queer historical murder mystery set against the backdrop of a queer-friendly speakeasy in 1920's New Orleans. (If fireworks didn't go off in your mind at least five times reading that sentence, I'm not sure we can be friends.) With a headstrong bisexual amateur sleuth at the helm, this story kept me in its grips from start to finish. From disguises and half-baked schemes to code-bust 4.5 Stars This book was such a wild ride and I loved it! It has absolutely everything you'd want from an #ownvoices queer historical murder mystery set against the backdrop of a queer-friendly speakeasy in 1920's New Orleans. (If fireworks didn't go off in your mind at least five times reading that sentence, I'm not sure we can be friends.) With a headstrong bisexual amateur sleuth at the helm, this story kept me in its grips from start to finish. From disguises and half-baked schemes to code-busting and cornering suspects, this mystery kept me guessing through and through. Not only is it a satisfying whodunnit, but it's one of those well-crafted mysteries that deepens your understanding of the victim and the accused with every new development. Not only that, but it's empowering to see a mystery where the characters' determination to catch the killer stems from a desire to overcome injustice. This story challenges common ideas of who is guilty (the marginalized) and who is innocent (the systemically privileged). It's convenient for the cops to pin a drag queen performer as a murderer, but Millie will do whatever it takes to make those officials eat their words. This is a story of family, loyalty, and love. It's about Millie and her friends fighting to defend those who cannot defend themselves and those who are silenced beyond measure. It's about rewriting queer people into the history they've been erased from, and giving the reader hope that justice isn't only reserved for those who can afford it. A darkly charming, intense, twisty mystery until the very end, this is not one I'll soon forget.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    Did you like the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue? Do you want a fabulous lgbtqia+ cast of characters who are not defined by their labels mixed with a dash of murder mystery??? How could you say no to that?? After a murder occurs at their speakeasy in New Orleans, Millie is determined to dive into the case and protect her friend Marion; the prime suspect. This book was simply just a whole lot of fun. I didn’t suspect the suspects, our protagonist Millie was wonderful in guiding us through thi Did you like the gentleman’s guide to vice and virtue? Do you want a fabulous lgbtqia+ cast of characters who are not defined by their labels mixed with a dash of murder mystery??? How could you say no to that?? After a murder occurs at their speakeasy in New Orleans, Millie is determined to dive into the case and protect her friend Marion; the prime suspect. This book was simply just a whole lot of fun. I didn’t suspect the suspects, our protagonist Millie was wonderful in guiding us through this world and all the characters were funny and believable. The romance in the book didn’t overshadow the plot, the plot was funny without being too obvious as some ya’s are and this was just a good time all round.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Madalyn (Novel Ink)

    this was an excellent #ownvoices queer historical! loved the New Orleans setting, and the mystery really kept me guessing at every turn.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    I really enjoyed this! I am just an absolute sucker for a historical murder mystery but I don't know that I've read many that have queer characters where we aren't reminded every chapter about bigoted people's thoughts. It was kind of nice to not have a whole book of slurs towards the reps in here. I was NOT expecting the end so lots of guessing the whole way through. Rep: f/f romance, bi or pansexual, male dressed as female

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dahlia

    This was such a delightful surprise with strooooong Iron Cast vibes but not paranormal and of course super queer. If you're into Prohibition fiction this is a really fun one. This was such a delightful surprise with strooooong Iron Cast vibes but not paranormal and of course super queer. If you're into Prohibition fiction this is a really fun one.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    Excuse me! They said "Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries", and if that doesn't have me scrambling to the buy button nothing will. *fingers crossed*

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Lambert

    Welcome to the Cloak and Dagger club! Please come in -- the password is “hijinks.” Okay good, now that you’re here, I can tell you a secret about the good old Cloak. This is one of those places where you feel like you just belong, because whatever brand of weird and wonderful you are slides right in alongside ours. If you haven’t found a place like that in real life yet, feel free to come back and visit us any time you want. While you’re here, let me tell you about the people I love. First, ther Welcome to the Cloak and Dagger club! Please come in -- the password is “hijinks.” Okay good, now that you’re here, I can tell you a secret about the good old Cloak. This is one of those places where you feel like you just belong, because whatever brand of weird and wonderful you are slides right in alongside ours. If you haven’t found a place like that in real life yet, feel free to come back and visit us any time you want. While you’re here, let me tell you about the people I love. First, there’s our club owner’s niece Millie; she’s our unofficial emcee, off-the-books bookkeeper, fibber and general nosy pants, and bi disaster who doesn’t think she’s a disaster at all thank you. Her best friend is Marion, the star of our drag show, who sews his own fabulous costumes (half his paycheck goes to adding sparkly bits), has a not-so-secret crush on the piano player, and spends most of his time preventing Millie from making everything worse for herself. Add in quiet-but-fierce piano player Lewis (also secret crushing); savvy waitress Olive, who can spot a lie at twenty paces; and bootlegger Bennie, whose smile can charm almost anyone, and you have a team that can help each other through anything -- even a murder happening right outside the club’s back door. But don’t worry, you’re safe -- we’ve only had one murder here. So far anyway ...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Anna Birch

    Do you love Veronica Mars? New Orleans? Drag queens? Good. This is the book for you. Take it with you on a trip to New Orleans (or New York, or London, or your grandma's house, idc TAKE IT WITH YOU) and get ready for a fully immersive historical mystery in one of the most exciting cities in the world. I can't wait to read the final version!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is a fantastic queer debut that kept me guessing at every twist and turn.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Moonbook

    It is really great audio book, it keep me guessing but I kind of figured it out just moments before the mc did but I had fun time beause of the characters I really love them. And I have finsh it in one day (close to 12 hours with breaks in btween)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    4.5* Kickass teen girls solving mysteries throughout history is one of my favourite 'tropes' and this knocked it out of the park in ALL areas. This was truly the perfect whodunit murder mystery. - Kristin Lambert did such a wonderful job of painting a picture of the 1930's New Orleans setting. It was captivating, immersive and exciting and the queer-friendly speakeasy at which most of the characters work was wonderful to read about. - I truly fell in love with the ease of which I got to know and 4.5* Kickass teen girls solving mysteries throughout history is one of my favourite 'tropes' and this knocked it out of the park in ALL areas. This was truly the perfect whodunit murder mystery. - Kristin Lambert did such a wonderful job of painting a picture of the 1930's New Orleans setting. It was captivating, immersive and exciting and the queer-friendly speakeasy at which most of the characters work was wonderful to read about. - I truly fell in love with the ease of which I got to know and understand the diverse cast of characters. Millie is bi, her best friend is gay and performs in drag, her aunt is a lesbian in a committed relationship with a woman and one of the love interests is a Black lesbian. - The mystery had me hooked from page one right until the last. I was strung along with the characters and kept guessing throughout, which was so much fun to read. - I love, love, LOVED Millie's character. Her mission to uncover the truth was enthralling to follow and her courage, wit and persistence made her perspective so endearing to read from. - Whilst the romance didn't take centre stage, it was ADORABLE and I loved the way in which the kind of a love triangle but also not (?) concluded. The shy pining was too cute. - The audiobook narration was fantastic and I'm so happy I went down that route to read this. I had so much fun reading this and I cannot wait to see what Kristin writes next. This is a book I'd recommend to anyone looking for a queer historical mystery with a touch of romance. TW: homophobia, involuntary psychiatric hospitalisation due to sexuality

  16. 5 out of 5

    Nev

    If a murder mystery set in a queer speakeasy in 1929/1930s New Orleans doesn’t sound amazing to you then... I don’t know what to say. I enjoyed how even though this was a very difficult time to be queer, and the book does show the unfair way the marginalized characters are treated by the police and other people in positions of power, the story also shows these characters having full lives with joy, sorrow, love, friendship, and found family. The murder mystery kept me guessing. There were defini If a murder mystery set in a queer speakeasy in 1929/1930s New Orleans doesn’t sound amazing to you then... I don’t know what to say. I enjoyed how even though this was a very difficult time to be queer, and the book does show the unfair way the marginalized characters are treated by the police and other people in positions of power, the story also shows these characters having full lives with joy, sorrow, love, friendship, and found family. The murder mystery kept me guessing. There were definitely times when I thought I had it all figured out but then I’d be completely proven wrong. It was really fun watching Millie be this badass bisexual amateur sleuth. My one main complaint is that sometimes I don’t think the writing did enough to make the story seem like it was taking place in 1929/1930. Sometimes the ways the characters spoke to one another felt a little bit too modern to me. I think there could’ve been a little bit more old fashioned slang or words specific to New Orleans just to really emphasize the time period and location. Overall I think this was a really fun queer YA murder mystery. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Izzie

    Thanks to my Mum for typing this up for me. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending this book to me in exchange for an honest review. This book had all the elements that I love but sadly it didn't execute any of them to the standard I'd hoped for. This story follows the main character, Millie, who sets out to clear her best friends name after he is accused of murdering a girl from his past. Set in the early 30's, and mainly taking place in a speakeasy owned by her Aunt, Millie attempts to inv Thanks to my Mum for typing this up for me. Thank you to Penguin Random House for sending this book to me in exchange for an honest review. This book had all the elements that I love but sadly it didn't execute any of them to the standard I'd hoped for. This story follows the main character, Millie, who sets out to clear her best friends name after he is accused of murdering a girl from his past. Set in the early 30's, and mainly taking place in a speakeasy owned by her Aunt, Millie attempts to investigate anyone possibly connected to the murder to ensure Marion isn't convicted. What I Liked: The diverse cast. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading this as it represents a number of different identities that readers may connect with. What I Didn't Like: Plot structure. This book is poorly paced, unrealistic and frustrating. Everything Millie "needed" to do was either maddeningly easy, or led to no information. There were no clues to follow throughout the book and therefore the reader was unable to puzzle together the mystery as we were given no pieces. As an example of how unrealistic the plot was: Millie needed to speak to the most "anonymous" woman in New Orleans, but it took 2 minutes and a phone call to get a meeting with her! Development. I didn't feel connected with any of the characters in this book. There were a very large number of characters which meant they had little to no character development. The relationships lacked depth which meant the friendships, romances and familial relationships were shallow and unsatisfying. Detail. Put simply, there was far too little detail that would have added atmosphere, believability and intrigue, and far too much detail about inane and unimportant places and objects. This is probably my biggest gripe with the book. Overall this was a book with so much potential which just didn't deliver. The ending was satisfactory, but getting there was not enjoyable use of time.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kelsea

    Reasons to read The Boy in the Red Dress: 🕵🏻‍♀️ historical murder mystery 🥂 set in a speakeasy in NOLA’s French Quarter 🌚 LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness in a historical setting 💕 when Millie’s best friend, Marion, is accused of murder, Millie’s loyalty drives her to investigate and clear his name 💃🏽 Marion stars in the speakeasy’s drag show and makes his own costumes 🖤 Millie has M & F love interests! This was such an awesome mystery! The setting is brilliant — it opens in an LGBTQIA+/inclusive speakeasy i Reasons to read The Boy in the Red Dress: 🕵🏻‍♀️ historical murder mystery 🥂 set in a speakeasy in NOLA’s French Quarter 🌚 LGBTQIA+ inclusiveness in a historical setting 💕 when Millie’s best friend, Marion, is accused of murder, Millie’s loyalty drives her to investigate and clear his name 💃🏽 Marion stars in the speakeasy’s drag show and makes his own costumes 🖤 Millie has M & F love interests! This was such an awesome mystery! The setting is brilliant — it opens in an LGBTQIA+/inclusive speakeasy in the French Quarter of New Orleans on New Year’s Eve, 1929. The club is owned and run by the MC’s aunt, who is in a committed F/F relationship. I love that the speakeasy is called Cloak & Dagger and the way it’s written as a safe haven within a larger, unfriendly world. This was both a fun mystery and a beautiful story of friendship and belonging. Highly recommended! Thank you Penguin Teen for providing an advanced e-copy in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    noah 🖤 #blacklivesmatter

    I WOULD DIE FOR THIS BOOK AND EVERYONE IN IT! every single character was interesting. every. single. one. from the main character to the most minor character. the good guys, the bad guys, the neutral. i loved them all. the MC Millie was especially great. She’s not perfect, she’s got abandonment issues and is surly at times, but that just made me love her more. To those she’s close to, she is incredibly loyal, as is shown by her determination and dedication to clear marion’s name of the murder. The I WOULD DIE FOR THIS BOOK AND EVERYONE IN IT! every single character was interesting. every. single. one. from the main character to the most minor character. the good guys, the bad guys, the neutral. i loved them all. the MC Millie was especially great. She’s not perfect, she’s got abandonment issues and is surly at times, but that just made me love her more. To those she’s close to, she is incredibly loyal, as is shown by her determination and dedication to clear marion’s name of the murder. The mystery kept me in suspense. I figured out bits and pieces of who was involved and what happened, but i could never put it all together. Nothing irks me more than a completely obvious mystery, so i was quite pleased to be stumped with this one. What was great about this book was how few of the characters were actually straight. There were so many queer characters from different backgrounds. I really enjoy historical lgbt fiction (with happy endings) because i love reading about queer people thriving and living wonderful lives despite all the secrecy and the public’s negative opinions. Even though it’s fiction it gives me hope that if they can get through life being themselves in such an unaccepting time, i’ll be okay now. All the relationships in this book were depicted so well. Millie’s relationships with marion, her aunt, her mother, and her two love interests were so distinctive and realistic. Millie’s mother and the detective also had a funny relationship. The way all the characters interact was so expressive, it really made this book something special. I’m so happy i got to read an arc of this book and i hope everyone is as excited to buy this book and have it in their hands as i am!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Heather Cashman

    Characters you'll love to fall for, witty, dark, and rebellious. I loved this book from the first word to the last. The mystery kept me turning the pages, the characters made me laugh and cry, and the ending is so satisfying, it made me sad when there wasn't anymore left to read. Highly recommend.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sasha Smith

    This book has everything, a gutsy girl-detective, queer history, 1920s fashion, and New Orleans speak easies. If you've ever thought to yourself, I love Veronica Mars, but wish it was queer and took place in the Prohibition area South, boy do I have a book for you. Kristin weaves a mystery that will keep you guessing and shouting at the page until the very end. But it's the incredible characters and the relationships she weaves that will stay with you long after you've discovered who the killer This book has everything, a gutsy girl-detective, queer history, 1920s fashion, and New Orleans speak easies. If you've ever thought to yourself, I love Veronica Mars, but wish it was queer and took place in the Prohibition area South, boy do I have a book for you. Kristin weaves a mystery that will keep you guessing and shouting at the page until the very end. But it's the incredible characters and the relationships she weaves that will stay with you long after you've discovered who the killer is. It's Nancy Drew for a new generation. A stunning debut. I can't wait to see what she writes next.

  22. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

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  23. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Hi yes. Take my money. I need this now

  24. 4 out of 5

    Bidisha

    I'M VERY VERY EXCITED ABOUT THIS.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margot Heron

    Synopsis: The Boy in The Red Dress is an entertaining murder-mystery novel about a bisexual teenage protagonist, Millie, and her drag-queen best friend, Marion. When Marion is blamed for a murder he didn't commit in Millie's Aunt's club, "The Cloak and Dagger" Millie decides to solve the mystery for herself. The novel features daring heists, fancy parties, clever disguises, complex relationships, and a variety of captivating (and mostly queer) characters. The Setting: Lambert provides a detail Synopsis: The Boy in The Red Dress is an entertaining murder-mystery novel about a bisexual teenage protagonist, Millie, and her drag-queen best friend, Marion. When Marion is blamed for a murder he didn't commit in Millie's Aunt's club, "The Cloak and Dagger" Millie decides to solve the mystery for herself. The novel features daring heists, fancy parties, clever disguises, complex relationships, and a variety of captivating (and mostly queer) characters. The Setting: Lambert provides a detailed but succinct description that allows the reader to imagine that they are sneaking through New Orleans with Millie and her friends. There are plenty of captivating settings to explore, clandestine bars full of smoke and booze, debutant balls and crisp tennis courts to name a few. Adding to the 192os aesthetic is a sprinkling of time-period appropriate slang, and vivid descriptions of clothing, from fanciful flapper-dresses to smart suits with suspenders. The Characters: The book is entirely told from Millie's perspective. She is a tomboyish, brave, witty, and would do anything to protect her friends. She reminded me of a lot of other "strong female characters" Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games Sarah Manning from Orphan Black (view spoiler)[ They are are all tough independent female characters with hatred for authority and mommy issues (hide spoiler)] . What sets Millie part from them is how the author chooses to explore her bisexuality. My favorite character would probably be Marion, Millie's Drag Queen Best Friend with a troubled past. I appreciated the way Marion exposed the prejudice of the upper-class south. Marion is a thoughtful, easy-to-like character, and his scenes with Millie are some of my favorite parts of the book. I appreciate that, although Marion is one of the "victims" of this novel, he certainly is no damsel in distress. He supports Millie and plays a crucial role in helping solve the mystery. There are many side characters in this novel and most of them are pretty forgettable. However, two of the supporting characters really stood out to me. Kitty Sharp is an ambitious gossip columnist and lights up every scene she is in. Detective Sabatier is an entertaining antagonist whose methodical and un-emotional tactics contrast with Millie's amateur sleuthing beautifully. The Mystery: Like reviewers have said before, the mystery is complexly woven with no obvious killer, which makes for a compelling read. That being said, Lambert does leave some clues to help readers "figure it out." I personally figured out parts of it. (view spoiler)[ Benny being involved with the murder victim so he helps Millie to cover up his involvement (hide spoiler)] . I appreciated how, through the lens of a mystery, Lambert comments on how marginalized people are often viewed as more "guilty" and explores the socio-economic and racial disparities between characters. The Romance: Normally love triangles make me wince but, in this case, it made sense; Millie is bisexual and the love triangle allowed her to explore her feelings for men and women. Her two love interests are Olive, a smart and observant waitress, and Benny, a charming bootlegger that supplies the club with booze. I appreciated that both characters had their own lives and traits beyond their connection to Millie. Also, (view spoiler)[ part of the reason I was okay with this triangle is that it was clear that Millie had stronger feelings towards Olive, so I knew she was going to wind up with her in the end. (hide spoiler)] . Marion has a crush on the piano player Louis, which is cute. Minor Qualms: Although I rated the book five stars there were some parts I wasn't completely sold on. (view spoiler)[ The school scenes really didn't add much to the novel besides showing Millie being bullied by snobby rich girls. I personally thought the novel would have worked just as well if Millie's winter break was extended, and perhaps would make even more sense so then she'd have more time for scheming (hide spoiler)] (view spoiler)[ The ending scene with Symphony and the gun was really intense, but it didn't make sense to me that she would sneak into the house to get Marion to confess and then murder him, especially since she "accidentally" murdered Minty. (hide spoiler)] I hope this review was helpful!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Buchanan

    New Years Eve, 1929 Millie is running the show at the Cloak and Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. All of New Orleans is out to celebrate the new year which is right around the corner, but even the wealthy parties can't outshine the real star of the night, the boy in the red dress. Marion is the Cloak and Dagger's star performer and his fans are legion-if mostly underground. When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion shows up and starts a New Years Eve, 1929 Millie is running the show at the Cloak and Dagger, a swinging speakeasy in the French Quarter, while her aunt is out of town. All of New Orleans is out to celebrate the new year which is right around the corner, but even the wealthy parties can't outshine the real star of the night, the boy in the red dress. Marion is the Cloak and Dagger's star performer and his fans are legion-if mostly underground. When a young socialite wielding a photograph of Marion shows up and starts asking questions, Millie wonders if she's just another fan. But then the girl's body is found crumbled in the courtyard, dead from a fall off the club's balcony. All signs point to Marion as the murder, yet Millie knows he's innocent, only the local detectives aren't convinced. As she chases clues that lead to cemeteries and dead ends, Millie's attention is dived between the wry and beautiful Olive and Bennie a charming bootlegger. With the clock ticking for the fugitive Marion, the truth of who the killer might be is closer than Millie thinks. A book that swept me away into the prohibition era to into a world that felt as if I was in the Castle episode The Blue Butterfly. Feeling how much Millie loves the club and her relationship with all those around her, including Marion. Her decision to prove Marion's innocence is real as she goes off half cocked to solve the mystery as to who murdered the young socialite. I was invested from the beginning as the wheels spun in my head as to who had really done the deed. Along with all that Millie discovered in her search to prove her friends's innocence was captivating. She even had to wrestle with feelings for two people along the way as a past threatened to rip one of those apart. This was a perfect LGBTQ+ escape book for me with feeling like I was right there with Millie through everything she went through. Couldn't put it down once I got going & I'm so glad I picked it up to read.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kris Waldherr

    THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS readily transported me to a 1930s New Orleans speakeasy of bootleggers and “pansies” desperate to transcend their origins. I especially adored the author's strong depiction of the era's societies nested within societies: from the police to the bootleggers, to the singers to the drag queens, and finally to our loyal cross-dressing protagonist Millie, who winds up playing amateur detective when her "boy in the red dress" BFF is fingered for a murder he didn't commit. The w THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS readily transported me to a 1930s New Orleans speakeasy of bootleggers and “pansies” desperate to transcend their origins. I especially adored the author's strong depiction of the era's societies nested within societies: from the police to the bootleggers, to the singers to the drag queens, and finally to our loyal cross-dressing protagonist Millie, who winds up playing amateur detective when her "boy in the red dress" BFF is fingered for a murder he didn't commit. The writing style of THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS reminded me quite a bit of Lyndsay Faye's adult novel THE PARAGON HOTEL—Lambert has a real gift for capturing the snazzy slang of Prohibition era New Orleans. Bottom line: THE BOY IN THE RED DRESS is a "bee's knees" of a YA debut novel filled with colorful LGBTQ characters that reflect its evocative period setting. It's also a ton of fun with a mystery that'll keep you guessing to the end. Highly recommended.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ash Otterloo

    Have you ever wished for a historic murder mystery set in a speakeasy where literally EVERYONE is queer? Do you love funny-but-sad disaster-family dynamics? Um. Hi. I have, and I do, and The Boy in the Red Dress was an absolute effin' DELIGHT. Millie is rough around the edges, dogged, sharp-minded, and completely driven by her love and desire to protect for her best friend, a drag queen named Marion, from being wrongly punished for murder. Bestie love is the beating heart of this story, but ther Have you ever wished for a historic murder mystery set in a speakeasy where literally EVERYONE is queer? Do you love funny-but-sad disaster-family dynamics? Um. Hi. I have, and I do, and The Boy in the Red Dress was an absolute effin' DELIGHT. Millie is rough around the edges, dogged, sharp-minded, and completely driven by her love and desire to protect for her best friend, a drag queen named Marion, from being wrongly punished for murder. Bestie love is the beating heart of this story, but there's plenty of sexy, fun energy woven in, too. It's atmospheric, an impulse-driven romp, and easy to lose yourself in, but I found myself tearing up throughout it, too, as the author explored themes of family rejection, loss, internalized shame, and learning how to thrive and shine despite it all. Will definitely re-read. 5/5.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amanie Johal

    So good! Mystery is my favourite genre, and I haven't read one in awhile, so this definitely scratched that itch. I especially liked the love triangle in here. It was nice seeing both options be equally viable to Millie with no internalized homophobia/biphobia (homophobia exists in a societal context/from a couple of side characters, but the main characters do not exhibit homophobia, internalized or otherwise). She found Olive and Bennie equally attractive and there was no shame attached to it; t So good! Mystery is my favourite genre, and I haven't read one in awhile, so this definitely scratched that itch. I especially liked the love triangle in here. It was nice seeing both options be equally viable to Millie with no internalized homophobia/biphobia (homophobia exists in a societal context/from a couple of side characters, but the main characters do not exhibit homophobia, internalized or otherwise). She found Olive and Bennie equally attractive and there was no shame attached to it; they were just two friends she happened to be interested in. This definitely makes me interested in whatever Kristin Lambert publishes next!

  30. 4 out of 5

    A.R. Hellbender

    This is a gripping read full of colorful characters, especially a compelling main character. In addition to the mystery aspect being well thought-out enough to keep the reader guessing the whole time, the characters and their relationships with each other are very well-rounded. While juggling trying to clear her best friend's name, the main character also has to grapple with the resentment she has towards her mother who suddenly has to stay with her, and overall, there are several relationships This is a gripping read full of colorful characters, especially a compelling main character. In addition to the mystery aspect being well thought-out enough to keep the reader guessing the whole time, the characters and their relationships with each other are very well-rounded. While juggling trying to clear her best friend's name, the main character also has to grapple with the resentment she has towards her mother who suddenly has to stay with her, and overall, there are several relationships that are strained throughout the story that are all tied up well by the end.

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