The House of Impossible Beauties

The House of Impossible Beauties

Book - 2018
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"It's 1980 in New York City, and nowhere is the city's glamour and energy better reflected than in the burgeoning Harlem ball scene, where seventeen-year-old Angel first comes into her own. Burned by her traumatic past, Angel is new to the drag world, new to ball culture, and has a yearning inside of her to help create family for those without. When she falls in love with Hector, a beautiful young man who dreams of becoming a professional dancer, the two decide to form the House of Xtravaganza, the first-ever all-Latino house in the Harlem ball circuit. But when Hector dies of AIDS-related complications, Angel must bear the responsibility of tending to their house alone. As mother of the house, Angel recruits Venus, a whip-fast trans girl who dreams of finding a rich man to take care of her; Juanito, a quiet boy who loves fabrics and design; and Daniel, a butch queen who accidentally saves Venus's life. The Xtravaganzas must learn to navigate sex work, addiction, and persistent abuse, leaning on each other as bulwarks against a world that resists them. All are ambitious, resilient, and determined to control their own fates, even as they hurtle toward devastating consequences." --From inside cover.
Publisher: New York :, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers,, [2018]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2018
ISBN: 9780062676979
Branch Call Number: FICTION CAS
Characteristics: 400 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 10, 2020

Cassara’s visceral debut novel (whose book cover required quite a journey), is set in Harlem’s underground ballroom scene of the 1980s, and tells a fictionalized version of the origins of the all-Latinx House of Extravaganza, in which there is beauty, excitement, belonging—and lots of tragedy.

Feb 12, 2019

This is a book that can enlighten and change our perspective much like Dallas Buyers Club did for me.

Jul 17, 2018

Felt more like Paris is Burning fan fiction than an expansive look into the NY ball scene. There's exactly one ball in the book, tons of dialogue and elements from PIB is forced into the narrative, and it comes off lazy and lacking in creativity. And, of course there's tons of darkness to the lives of underprivileged gay men of color during the 90s, but the ending to the story lines of the two fictional characters felt extremely gratuitous.

Jun 08, 2018

A whole different gay life than the one I'm used to. Beautifully written and totally engrossing. I lived with the characters while I read this book. I loved it!

LPL_WilliamO Mar 19, 2018

Gorgeous. Gritty. Heartbreaking. Be prepared to be transported to 1980's New York City and fall in love with a group of glamorous, sassy gay and transgender club kids. Fierce wit, tragedy, and personal freedom - this book is EVERYTHING.

JCLJessG Dec 06, 2017

My heart was filled and broken between the covers of this book. Through Cassara's words, these characters fully became people, and from that, a family; they lived, and the world was richer for it. Reading this book is a dynamic experience not to be missed.

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