Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry
Author: Joya Goffney
Length: 352 pages
Synopsis: Quinn keeps lists of everything – from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud”, to all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears (as well as embarrassing and cringeworthy truths) on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing. An anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett – the last known person yo have her journal and who Quinn loathes – in a race against time to track down the blackmailer. Together, they journey through everything in Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.
What a book. I’m going to need all young adult books to be this good. Seriously.
Lets just talk about my favourite thing in this book, which is the black joy. Quinn, in her predominantly white school, has always gone along with the racism she has to endure and as she begins to hang out with the other black kids in her school she begins to stand up for herself. This is what I mean by Black Joy. She learns to love her skin, she has important conversations with her parents about internalised racism and they were all just brilliant. Joya has dealt with such important themes in an honest and educational way. These are things that need to be talked about, and read about especially when they’ve been done this well. All young adult contemporary books need to live up to this.
There’s also a really sweet, believable, slow burn romance throughout this book. I was willing them to be together and let me tell you I swooned when it happened. Swooned! I also loved (LOVED) the fact that when the love interest (I’m not using names to avoid spoilers) made a mistake he took accountability for his actions. It was so refreshing to read. But yes, its a really wonderful, real romance.
It’s full of fantastic characters. Quinn is a brilliant protagonist to follow. She’s funny, charming, relatable and I loved seeing her grow throughout the book. There’s also Carter and Olivia, who show Quinn her to love herself and there’s Auden who rounds out their team and I just wanted to be a part of it. They were all just well rounded, complex characters and it’s fantastic to read in a ya novel.
The story is also really enjoyable, I don’t want to give to much away as I want you to enjoy it for yourself. But if you’re like me you’ll be totally captivated answer you won’t be able to turn the pages fast enough.
I can’t recommend this book enough. Like I said, its a brilliant book with an important message that other books are going to need to live up to. It’s the best ya contemporary I’ve read in a long time. It breathes life back into this genre.
Thanks to the publishers for my gifting me a copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out May 4th.
Until the next review