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YA Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by


Title: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry

Author: Joya Goffney
Year published: 2021
Category: YA fiction
Pages: 368 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (TX)

SummaryQuinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud” and 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 . . .

Then 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.

Review: Since I am not reading as my YA these days, this one has sat on my TBR shelf for almost 2 years. Why did I wait so long? I really enjoyed it and felt it had depth to it, going beyond a "romance" and teen drama novel.

Quinn could have been me in so many ways: she has a fairly easy life with educated well to do parents, has good friends, is a list maker (yay to all the list-makers out there!), diary keeper, and is unsure of her teenage self (both academically and socially). However, for Quinn, list keeping/making has been taken to a whole new level. She lists her innermost fears, desires, thoughts, and plans and hopes no one ever sees them. WRONG!

Poor Quinn just wants to go unnoticed, but someone gets ahold of her notebook of lists and starts to publicize them and blackmail her. What a total nightmare. Through the process of having to do do the things on her lists (to avoid further publication), Quinn discovers new (and real) friends, learns she is braver than she thought, and she learns to live life outside of her notebook/diary of lists. 

There are issues of race and class that come up in this novel and they are handled with brutality and sensitivity at the same time. 

Challenges for which this counts:
  • Alphabet (title)--E
  • Bookish--Focus is on a notebook in which the main character writes

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