blogmas · Book Review

Blogmas Day 14 – Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney, a beautiful ode to Black girls, identity, friendship and love 📚💕

Hello lovelies!

Oh my. This is it; this is the peak of my reading experience and nothing will top this book. Am I being overly dramatic? Yes, but it’s true.

Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

Author: Joya Goffney

Synopsis: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by debut author Joya Goffney is the story of an overly enthusiastic list maker who is blackmailed into completing a to-do list of all her worst fears. It’s a heartfelt, tortured, contemporary YA high school romance with epistolary elements. Fans of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and Kristina Forest’s debut I Wanna Be Where You Are will love the juicy secrets, leap-off-the-page sexual tension and the enemy-to-lover romantic arc.
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 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 to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.
Together, they journey through everything 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.

💜 Review and Rating 💜

5 stars: Persephone – Queen of the Underworld and Goddess of Spring. Persephone is my favourite goddess because she is full of contradictions – she represents both strength as queen of the underworld and a softness as a floral maiden. She teaches me how it’s okay to be both. If Persephone appears, that means that the book was one of the best books I’ve ever read, that it holds a particular place in my heart and that it is now part of my favourite books eve

Athena– Goddess of wisdom, poetry, art, and the strategic side of war. I will feature the goddess whenever there is a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour) because they are a symbol of resilience, strength and wisdom to me. I also want to put forth African folkore, myths and gods and since Athena is the goddess of poetry and art I thought it was fitting.

This book is wonderful. This is one of the cases where my review will not do this book justice. It’s always harder to write a review for a book where I could not find a single flaw.

This was the story of a girl finding and loving herself. Coming to terms with who she is and it was nothing short of beautiful.

I related to Quinn in so many ways and I loved how she came into her “blackness”. She is often called an Oreo: black on the outside and white on the inside. Well people used to call me a bounty (you know the chocolate treat?) which conveys the same idea. The author captured perfectly the struggle that is growing up in a predominantly white area where your peers forget your blackness or rather: erase it; they’re colorblind. And I loved the whole discussion on colorblindness. As my friend Rae says “if you’re colorblind, you’ll miss the rainbow”. And truer words have never been spoken. So that is why I LOVED reading about Quinn’s journey and seeing her embrace her identity.

“I wasted so much time living in fear that I thought I was comfortable, but I was writing in a cage that I didn’t know existed, making lists of all my worries with no intent to do anything about them.”

That journey was also possible because she decided to be brave. She was blackmailed into crossing off items from her secret to-do list or her deepest and darkest secrets would be revealed. Some secrets were revealed, but she was brave and did it all. I loved every single moment when she felt insecure, inadequate. She had a real and honest voice and I really appreciated that. She is far from perfect but she tried to be better and that was beautiful. Her journey was even better with the friends she made along the way. Forgiveness played an important part in the story (forgiving others, forgiving yourself and being forgiven). And on that subject, without spoilers I just want to say how much I loved Olivia.

This book has so many different layers and touches so many topics: friendship, family, wealth, health race but still keeps that light YA contemporary feeling that I love. It had a perfect balance. There were some cute moments with Carter’s sister and some laugh out loud ones.

And of course the ROMANCE played a huge part into my love of this story. One word: swoon. Carter Bennet I wish I had met you in high school and I am so glad Quinn got to experience and fall in love with such a wonderful human being. This book was already great in terms of character development and plot but the romance was just the finishing touch that made me give this book five stars.

Do yourself a favor and read this important, light and beautiful book!

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