Sunday, August 6, 2023

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney


I read something else by this author and didn't really like it, but EXCUSE ME WHILE I UGLY CRY was amazing. I can't remember the last time I read a YA rom-com that I enjoyed this much. This book is proof that you shouldn't always write an author off just because you didn't like one of their books. Sometimes the one you read after that is the one that surprises you.

The premise is simple but works. Quinn is the daughter of two Black parents with incredibly intimidating jobs: doctor and lawyer. They met in Columbia and want her to go to the same college, but she's been struggling in school and typed up a fake letter of acceptance to trick her parents into thinking she got in... but now graduation's looming and she still hasn't told her parents the truth. She's also estranged from her ex-best friend and catching feelings for her childhood best friend. With no one to confide in, she writes in her journal.

But then she loses the journal.

And someone starts blackmailing her with it, saying that if she doesn't complete one of her lists of goals, every day a new post from her journal will get leaked and everyone in school will be tagged.

In case that premise wasn't juicy enough, she's helped by school photographer, Livvy, and bad boy, Carter, who isn't actually all that bad. It ends up feeling almost like one of those road trip novels even though it's mostly set in the same small town because of all the things Quinn ends up doing, and how going through her goals ends up speeding up her character development from questioning her identity to really solidifying her sense of self. There's also a lot of really great redemption arcs in this book for everyone, and I liked how almost all of the "bad" people were just flawed people trying to figure themselves out, even as they projected their own biases and insecurities onto others.

I don't want to say too much else about this book because I don't want to spoil it, but I do feel like the TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED comparison in this book really works. In addition to being a rom-com, it also explores Black identity and female friendships and first love. I'll honestly be shocked if this doesn't end up as a Netflix TV show within the next five years. It should be.

4 to 4.5 out of 5 stars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.