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.
*This ARC was sent to me by HotKeys Books, please read our disclaimer policy for more information!*
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When I say I fell in love…I FELL IN LOVE.
This book feels like a 90s RnB song…like a warm hug when you’re feeling down. The best bits of life all wrapped within these pages. I adored everything about this book. Every single thing. As soon as I finished my ARC, I preordered a finished copy so quickly. This book is tied with ‘The Mothers’ by Brit Bennett as my favourite read of 2021 so far.
I just know I’ll be rereading this book for many years to come.
When I say I’ll probably never shut up about this book. If you thought I was bad with Legendborn, you haven’t seen anything yet.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking for a Black Young Adult Romance book. I read ‘Love is a Revolution‘ by Reneé Watson and loved the list aspect of the book. So, when I received this book as an ARC, I had a feeling that I was going to love it. Especially when I saw it was recommended for fans of ‘To All The Boy’s I’ve Loved Before’.
I just didn’t expect to adore it.
Joya Goffney has truly wrote a book for the Black babes, growing up in the late 90s and early 2000s.
Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is about accepting who you are and not conforming to other people’s opinions of you. We’re taken on a journey of self-love and self-worth through Quinn, our main protagonist, as she discovers what it means to be Quinn. What it means to be a young Black girl living in a predominantly white area. What it means to not follow the path laid out by her parents. What it means to fall in love…
The number of times I found myself smiling at this story was flipping embarrassing. I’m so sure people on my commute must have thought I was a serious weirdo on the train. But, I couldn’t help myself. Even now as I write this review, I’m smiling at how flipping CUTE Quinn and Carter were.
Quinn is a chronic list maker. She literally makes lists about everything. From ‘5 Lies People Believe About me’ to the famous ‘To Do Before I Graduate’.
However, I knew Quinn was a babe when I saw her list for ‘Movies With Intense Rewatchability’ and ‘Love and Basketball’ was at the top of this list.
She had exceptional movie taste and I adored it. These lists made Quinn that ever more personal and relatable. I love how I felt like I was growing to understand Quinn and get an insight into how she is and why she struggled with her Black voice.
For many Black people, growing up in predominantly white neighbourhoods means our Black voice tends to be reduced significantly in public. Only ever making an appearance in the comfort of our own home, which becomes a little apparent in Quinn. Whilst, I was lucky enough to meet a group of Black girls at my predominantly white secondary school and university. There are some that have probably felt like Quinn. They’ve experienced racism from their friends. They’ve wished for the chance to make more Black friends.
“You denied my right to be offended, you dismissed my identity as a Black girl and completely erased my voice in the conversation…”
I think we underestimate the power of being able to have a safe space. Something I talked about in my review of ‘Legendborn‘ by Tracy Deonn. Having people around you that understand your experiences and culture, without having to explain any of it. It’s an underrated blessing that I hope everyone gets to experience at least once in their life.
“There’s something about having Black friends that make you feel…whole…”
This is where Carter stepped in. Now, although, Carter and Quinn only united to find Quinn’s journal. Joya Goffney wrote so many SWOON WORTHY moments that compete with Monica and Quincy from Love and Basketball.
The late-night calls…
The moment when they admit they have feelings for each other…
Normally, I would cringe but I had the biggest grin on my face. The butterflies in my stomach? They were having a fiesta in there.
Carter was respectful. I love how he was confident but not to the point where he was arrogant. He pushed Quinn out of her comfort zone. He was just a young Black guy with amazing dreams and I thought it was so sweet how he became dedicated to helping Quinn. Thank God, he wasn’t toxic.
Are Quinn and Carter my favourite book couple so far?
Without a flipping doubt.
“Bring it. I have all the time in the world for you…”
Of course, he wasn’t the only person to help Quinn discover herself. Olivia is the most amazing friend. She truly shone in her own way and I would love to read her story. She was beautiful and apologetically herself. I loved how she was there for Quinn through EVERYTHING. Her issues with her parents, Carter, the missing journal, and even with Quinn as she came to accept her Grandma was changing before her very eyes.
This was the rom-com I didn’t know I needed until I read it. A story about acceptance and loving yourself, regardless of the flaws and mistakes you’ve made. A reminder that we’re our own worst critics but we also need to be our biggest supporters.
“I’m the girl who learned to stand up for herself. I’m the girl who faced all her fears…”
Loving who we are is a journey that we should never give up on.