Title: Honey Girl
Author: Morgan Rogers
Genre: Contemporary LGBTQ+ Romance
CW: Racism, Self-Harming
A refreshingly timely and relatable debut novel about a young woman whose life plans fall apart when she meets her wife.
With her newly completed PhD in astronomy in hand, twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter goes on a girls’ trip to Vegas to celebrate. She’s a straight A, work-through-the-summer certified high achiever. She is not the kind of person who goes to Vegas and gets drunkenly married to a woman whose name she doesn’t know…until she does exactly that.
This one moment of departure from her stern ex-military father’s plans for her life has Grace wondering why she doesn’t feel more fulfilled from completing her degree. Staggering under the weight of her father’s expectations, a struggling job market and feelings of burnout, Grace flees her home in Portland for a summer in New York with the wife she barely knows.
In New York, she’s able to ignore all the annoying questions about her future plans and falls hard for her creative and beautiful wife, Yuki Yamamoto. But when reality comes crashing in, Grace must face what she’s been running from all along—the fears that make us human, the family scars that need to heal and the longing for connection, especially when navigating the messiness of adulthood.
Honey Girl was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. And the expectation did pay off. I could tell you why or I could just leave the synopsis up there. Married on Vegas is a trope that I absolutely adore… You’re drunk out of your ass and your funny anecdote isn’t that you fell so hard your knees won’t be the same anymore but that you gained a wife out of it.
Disclaimer: I can’t pretend to understand most of the problems that Grace experiences because of her blackness. When I say I see myself in the characters I still speak from a point of view of someone white and who hasn’t had to deal with the exclusion and pressure that goes hand to hand with her being a woc.
That being said, characters that are in their mid-twenties or a little older, out of college, navigating adulthood and not getting it right on the first try is my absolutely jam, as someone who is in that exact position. I needed to feel less alone in my problems… and this book delivered! I feel like this is a younger millennial/older gen z shared experience and I’m glad to see it depicted so well. Not only is job searching so hard right now here (and I imagine everywhere, but like, we have more young disemployment than the rest of Europe), there’s also the added problem of the pandemic. But also, this whole “What I am supposed to do with this degree? What do I really want to do?“
And oh, how I wish I could pack my bags and move to the other side of the country, or the other side of the world, and live in someone else’s flat/house while I work on myself and I decide where to go from there. I accept invitations.
But that’s not the only thing this book did well. I adored the relationships, every one of them. I adored the found families, and the friendships, and even the parents. This is not a romance book. Or maybe I should say this isn’t a book where romance is the focal point. But there’s love. Many kinds of love.
There’s the kind of friendship you treasure, the one you know is authentic and feel in your heart with a fierce force because you recognize yourself in it and you feel so, so thankful for it (I love my friends a lot, like, a lot, lot. So much it hurts). There’s a found family that feels so real and truly like family. There are friendships that you’re starting to navigate, getting to know and understand what makes them, them. There is the foundation of a romantic relationship, the bones of it, the desire to understand a person you see yourself building a future with.
Since this book is character-driven for the most part, I think talking about the characters could be the most spoiler-y part but, at the same time, I don’t think you can really can spoiler this book to anyone because a big part of it is in the reading experience and the understanding of the characters from your own point of view.
I think you can dislike Grace as a main character, or some of her actions, more exactly, and still understand her. Not my case, I absolutely adored her, but I can see it happening. She is not trying to stay true to herself because there’s a previous step here, and its untangling years of a certain point of view and unlearning some things that have been ingrained into her mind in a very poignant way.
Yuki feels so interesting to me. Her love for stories and myths and connecting to other people that felt like her by talking about them, her point of view about so many topics in life and her approach to some things.
Yes, I found myself not really connecting with their relationship at points, because I knew they were both strangers, but I also understood why they wanted to try, why they wanted it to work.
Ximena and Agnes and Raj and Meera all felt like different people, well fleshed-out, with their own problems and their own lives, and you can see why they matter so much to Grace and why their relationship feels so real. You understand the problems and the complains and their trying to reach and be there.
About the relationship Grace has with her parents, I could write a lot. I see why she feels the way she feels and how those relationships have shaped her fears and her goals and her approach to college and studying and burning herself. And it’s a really complex relationship, the one she has with both of them. I wouldn’t call any of them a good support system. And while I understand why she feels like she needs them in her life, why they matter to her…
I believe that not even poverty or inequality or having had to struggle all your life grants you a free pass to be a shitty parent and having been there isn’t enough. And if you needed to read this today: you don’t need to work in your relationship with your abusive parents if you don’t want to forgive them. You can leave them behind.
In conclusion, I think this is a must read for everyone. I loved the message, I understood the characters and their struggles and the way their try to navigate live. Go read Honey Girl, now!