I was granted complimentary access to Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to whoever approved me! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest. Note: I was approved slightly after publication day and I was approved for the robo-voice audio ARC. I acknowledge that I cannot and should not comment on narration as this was not a live narrator, but I would like to say that so far HarperCollins audio ARCs with this voice have been very well done!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, which means there is no additional cost to you if you shop using my links, but I will earn a small percentage in commission. A program-specific disclaimer is at the bottom of this post.
About the Book
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry
by Joya Goffney
Published 4 May 2021
Genre: YA Contemporary, #OwnVoices
Page Count: 368
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
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.
My Rating: 4 Stars
Consider liking my review on Goodreads.
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is the story of high school senior Quinn and the events that unfold when a classmate with vindictive motives gets ahold of her journal. Quinn’s blackmailer gives her an ultimatum: complete everything on the to-do list in her journal, one item per day without fail, or contents of the journal will be released to the entire student body. Naturally this would be disastrous for any teenager, but Quinn is harbouring deep secrets. She didn’t get in to the school her parents think she did. She drove the getaway car when a friend vandalized a photography display at school. She’s ready to starting facing the racism she’s put up with until now and doesn’t know how to shed racist frieds tactfully.
Although a lot of the plot was predictable (I figured out who had the journal and why quite early on and predicted how the romantic possibilities would work out by the half way point,) it still feels done in a very fresh way, and it has so much more to say than the books before it. This book tackles overt racism as well as microaggressions. It tackles internalized racism coming from BIPOC people, too. It tackles socioeconomic inequality intersected with racial issues. This book also explores family troubles, failing health of a grandparent, and coming to terms with the loss of one’s childhood. This is very much a coming of age story, but not in an “I’m so ready for this, let’s crush it!” sort of way. Quinn’s coming of age moment is a process of grief and letting go.
This is a great book to read for anyone who finds themself not fitting the stereotypes they feel they should. It’s a great book for anyone who is struggling to let go of the things holding them back from embracing the next season of their life. This is also, true to its genre and category, a great book for older teens on the precipice of post secondary school or career training and the frightening, exciting, all-too-big reality of being about the join the real world.
Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.