Two Book Tuesday

May the 4th be with you!

Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry
Author: Joya Goffney
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

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.

Such a strong debut! This book brought up some really important conversations regarding class, race, and family. Quinn is a privileged black senior in high school who deals with her issues and anxiety by writing lists in her journal about absolutely everything. When that journal gets in the wrong hands, her life unravels.

The chemistry between Quinn and Carter was out of this world, it just oozed off the page. Every time they were together, it was like everyone else faded away—so intensely intimate without a lot of physical contact. By spending more time with Carter, Quinn learns that she shouldn’t have to take the routine racism she experiences on the daily by people who are supposed to be her friends.

The one thing that bothered me about the book and why I knocked off a star was the disappearance of Matt, Quinn supposed best friend, neighbor, and big time crush. She has been in love with him for years and once Carter shows the smallest bit of interest, Matt is gone—even just as a friend, or a person in general. He is no longer spoken of for the last third of the book. I feel like the author could have wrapped up that plot hole much better.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: 10 Truths and a Dare
Author: Ashley Elston
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Ratings: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Goodreads Summary:

It’s Senior Week, that magical in-between time after classes have ended but before graduation, chock-full of gimmicky theme parties, last-minute bonding, and family traditions. Olivia couldn’t be more ready. Class salutatorian and confident in her future at LSU, she’s poised to sail through to the next phase of her life.

But when the tiny hiccup of an unsigned off-campus P.E. form puts Olivia in danger of not graduating at all, she has one week to set things straight without tipping off her very big and very nosy extended family. Volunteering to help at a local golf tournament should do it, but since Olivia’s mom equipped her phone with a tracking app, there’ll be no hiding the fact that she’s at the golf course instead of all the graduation parties happening at the same time. Unless, that is, she can convince the Fab Four–her ride-or-die cousins and best friends Sophie, Charlie, and Wes–to trade phones with her as they go through the motions of playing Olivia for the week.

Sure, certain members of the golf team are none too pleased with Olivia’s sudden “passion” for the game. And sure, a very cute, very off-limits boy keeps popping up in Olivia’s orbit. But she is focused! She has a schedule and a plan! Nothing can possibly go wrong . . . right?

I had no idea that Ashley Elston was writing a companion piece to her 2019 holiday book 10 Blind Dates, so this was a really great surprise. Like its predecessor, this book was filled with humor, romance, family, and so much heart.

I loved being back with this family. The Fab Four—cousins Olivia, Sophie, Charlie, and best friend Wes—were such an incredible core group of friends that actually like each other as people, not just because they’re family. They were ride or die for each other and would risk everything to help when needed. While the book was primarily from Olivia’s point-of-view, I loved that when someone else had possession of her phone, the reader also got a little insight into that character.

It didn’t have the same magical spark that 10 Blind Dates had, but was still a really fun and enjoyable read.

ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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