Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
This YA Rom-Com will make you laugh and instantly transport you back to high school!
When her journal goes missing, Quinn immediately begins to panic. Her journal is her place to manage her anxiety and unload her deepest fears. The situation gets even worse when an anonymous instagram account publishes a page and threatens to release more unless she does everything on her end of high school list. With the help of some new friends, Quinn takes back her life and reshapes her understanding of the world as she completes each task.
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is Joya Goffney's lovely debut YA novel that will likely land on some favorite release lists this year! It's a super fun read, even though it follows some very typical YA tropes and is a bit on the predictable side. Sometimes there is no need to re-make the creative wheel while still delivering a great read.
Quinn, at least for me is pretty darn relatable with her high functioning anxiety, keeps track of her life in lists. From silly ones like her favorite Rom-Coms to the more serious like things I need to do before I graduate. She uses her lists as a way to maintain (a perceived) control over her life. Needless to say, considering we are in YA romance land, that's all going to be blown up quickly! Soon Quinn loses her journal and chaos ensues.
I really loved that the story is set up around the idea that Quinn has to complete a certain set of "challenges," for lack of a better term. Yes, it's slightly predictable because we know that things are going to work out in the end, but Quinn has a lot of character growth. Her relationships with Carter and Rosa are particularly wonderful to see grow as she steps way outside of her comfort zone.
I also appreciated Goffney's approach to Quinn being an upper-middle class young Black woman raised to erase some of her Blackness as that is how her parents were able to succeed. Both Carter and Rosa really challenge her understanding of her identity, in a way that doesn't feel preachy but realistic. Goffney recognizes that the different approaches to surviving and thriving while Black in America is a very complex issue.
Typically, YA is not my genre, but I am really glad that I stumbled across this title! I would not hesitate to grab Goffney's next book upon release which is the highest praise that I can give a book.
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