Author: Raziel Reid
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Heterosexuality is so last season: Kens is the gay Heathers meets Mean Girls, a shocking parody for a whole new generation.
Every high school has the archetypical Queen B and her minions. In Kens, the high school hierarchy has been reimagined. Willows High is led by Ken Hilton, and he makes Regina George from Mean Girls look like a saint. Ken Hilton rules Willows High with his carbon-copies, Ken Roberts and Ken Carson, standing next to his throne. It can be hard to tell the Kens apart. There are minor differences in each edition, but all Kens are created from the same mold, straight out of Satan’s doll factory. Soul sold separately.
Tommy Rawlins can’t help but compare himself to these shimmering images of perfection that glide through the halls. He’s desperate to fit in, but in a school where the Kens are queens who are treated like Queens, Tommy is the uncool gay kid. A once-in-a-lifetime chance at becoming a Ken changes everything for Tommy, just as his eye is caught by the tall, dark, handsome new boy, Blaine. Has Blaine arrived in time to save him from the Kens? Tommy has high hopes for their future together, but when their shared desire to overthrow Ken Hilton takes a shocking turn, Tommy must decide how willing he is to reinvent himself — inside and out. Is this new version of Tommy everything he’s always wanted to be, or has he become an unknowing and submissive puppet in a sadistic plan?
I loved this satire. It has the subject matter of Mean Girls, with the satirical style of Animal Farm.
The popular boys at school are called the Kens. Many of the characters are named after characters in the Barbie world, including Ken, Barbie, Tutti, Todd, and Tommy. I loved this throwback to the dolls of my childhood!
In this world, the Kens are the most popular kids in school, so everyone wants to be them. The three Kens had plastic surgery to look exactly the same, and they all changed their names to Ken. The Kens are also gay, so everyone wants to be gay too. There is even one boy who pretends to be gay, but he is secretly heterosexual.
I loved the satire aspects of the story. It starts out very much like the story of the movie Mean Girls. Tommy wants to be just like the Kens, and one day he gets his wish. However, everything goes wrong when one person in the school dies. The power of the Kens becomes apparent, and it isn’t necessarily a good thing.
This is a great story! I loved it!
What to read next:
When Everything Feels Like the Movies by Raziel Reid
Mean Girls by Micol Ostow
Have you read Kens? What did you think of it?