Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry | Joya Goffney | Book Review

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is the debut young adult contemporary of Joya Goffney. It follows Quinn, a high school senior, who carries a journal with her everywhere she goes to write down her thoughts and feelings. One day, the journal winds up in the wrong hands, and suddenly Quinn is being blackmailed to accomplish items on her “to do” list.

As you follow, Quinn accomplishing items on her “to do” list, you are also following her as she learns more about herself, confronts her past, makes new memories, makes new friends, and catches a bit of romance along the way. Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is the pitch perfect tone for a young adult book. There were a couple of times where I found myself annoyed with Quinn, where I had to remember she’s a senior in high school, and those are really messy times. Plus, she’s bottled up many of these emotions in the journal and now they’re being opened up and exposed to the world when she hasn’t even fully reasoned with them yet. It’s alot for her to take in, and there is a great arc of character growth for her which I appreciated as a reader.

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry also does a really good job of tackling racial issues within the scope of a teenage world. Quinn is a black student in a predominately white school. She is smart but struggles academically. When the other students make jokes regarding skin color and affirmative action, she realizes that she is not as welcomed as she might believe. She also realizes that these other students are blinded by their own privileged and unawareness about the world. While I am unable to fully relate to this due to my own skin color, I really did appreciate how Joya Goffney wrote Quinn’s internal and external conflict, and the new friendships that she made which allowed her to be more in tune with her true self and her environment.

Although being blackmailed and cyber-bullied were traumatic experiences for Quinn, they were also experiences which forced her to open her eyes and grow as a person. She discovers that she can open her mouth and express her feelings just as well as she can write them down, that the truth is always better than a lie that will eventually catch up with you later, and that you will find friendship and romance in the least likely of places. I liked how all of this was written, and would have actually liked to spend more time in the world of Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry with Quinn, her family, and her friends. I feel like there are more stories that can be told within this environment.

Rating: 4 Stars

*I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.**

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