Review #166

Title- Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

Author- Joya Goffney

Series- standalone

Rating– 3.9/5

Genre- YA contemporary

POV- first person, present tense

Trope- coming of age

Cover– representative of the genre


Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud” and 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 . . .

Then 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.

First chapter-

I can’t tell whether the romance will be with Matt or Carter. Quinn is an upper class Black student who may or may not have gotten into Columbia because of her family’s wealth. She has secrets hidden in her journal, including drama with Destiny, boys she hates, and fears she’d never admit to anyone. But that journal has just gone missing. It seems like she accidentally switched journals with Carter, a boy who judges her authentic “Blackness” and makes her feel self conscious.

Character Development- She learns a lot about herself, how to have difficult conversations, question her prior way of thinking and move into a new path toward her adult life

Best part- the authenticity of the author’s writing came through as very genuine

What I would change- sometimes it felt a bit preachy like a 1990s family sitcom

Setting- high school setting, complete with lockers and bus

Prose- average, the present tense flowed well and didn’t feel forced

Character goals/motivations- she needs to find her blackmailer!

Theme- learning oneself & your roots

Vivid sensory descriptions- average

Dialogue- representative of the culture which often is a controversial topic from readers/writers

Ethics/morals- lies & betrayals

Conflict/tension/obstacles- sometimes I wasn’t a fan of the high school drama, but that was the essence of this style of book, so it just came as a package.

Pacing- medium

Thoughts while reading-

Page 100- I love all the lists. Quinn processes information similarly to me.
Chapter 18- so much drama and betrayal!
Chapter 22- some parts felt a bit preachy at times.
Page 318- Carter’s lists in response are adorable

Ending- Page 352- sweet closure. I recommend this book to readers who like coming of age stories and books about self identification. The conversation that stood out to me were when Quinn & Carter talked about each Black child sometime in their youth has an “awakening” of what it means to live in a world  with dark skin. The author’s writing felt genuine overall

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

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