Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

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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 to have her journal and who Quinn loathes – 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. A razor-sharp, passionate and addictive YA romcom that readers will love.

I really, really loved this book. It is such a heartwarming but brutally honest read with such great characters. Quinn puts all of her hopes, dreams and deepest, darkest thoughts into her journal. Then her journal goes missing, taken by a fellow student who begins to blackmail her. While trying to find her journal, she ends up unexpectedly teaming up with the last person to see it: Carter.

This book had such a found family feel with a close friendship group that I adored. I always love reading about friendships, and I love that these felt really honest and natural. The dialogue and banter between them felt authentic and I enjoyed how they interacted with one another. I especially appreciated the relationship and it didn’t feel like an insta-love, more of a friends to lovers that I adored. It felt real and I rooted for them both.

I don’t know that. Fear is dangerous. Fear kills Black men.” “You think my dad would kill you?” I ask, meeting his gaze. “If your dad had a gun on him that day, I think I might be dead right now.”

Despite the heartwarming easy read this one was, it also didn’t shy away from important subjects, and I felt these topics were written so well. I loved how upfront and honest some of these conversations were, especially about race. Quinn faced her parents and former friends with some very important discussions, and her experiences around racial injustice felt real and honest. Frankly, we need more books like this in YA.

I really liked the main character, Quinn, and I thought the author was so clever to write her the way she did, because of the questionable things she has done in the past. Quinn does make mistakes but also realises it and matures so much throughout these books. These characters felt appropriate for their age but also developed throughout this story, which was brilliant to see.

It hurts that he would fear for his life at my house. That a boy with skin as dark as mine doesn’t feel safe around my father.

Overall, this book had so many amazing points. My only complaint is how one of the seemingly major side characters, Matt, fell off the face of the earth for most of this book after the first couple of chapters. It was so weird. Despite this, I really enjoyed reading this one and would highly recommend it for those who love contemporary reads with a twist! Also, I can’t go without mentioning that title. If that title doesn’t make you want to read it, I don’t think I can convince you.

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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