Hi all!! Today’s post is a review of a book that is very close to my heart and that you’ve likely seen me scream about a lot on twitter!! Make sure you’ve ordered a copy of HONEY GIRL if you can!! – Amber ❤
Do you ever connect with a book on such a personal level that it’s almost as if it’s an extension of yourself? It’s rare, but it can happen, and this book did exactly that for me in so many ways.
Where do you even start a review of a book that is *this* good? I’m not sure, but I think I’ll start here. HONEY GIRL is the story of Dr. Grace Porter, who, after just completing her PhD in astronomy, goes on a trip to Vegas, where she ends up marrying a girl who smells like salt and herbs, and who leaves her a note before disappearing the next morning.
In many ways, this book is exactly as you’d expect, an adorable romance about two girls who get drunk married and then continue on with their lives before finally biting the bullet and reaching out to each other, and then, of course, falling in love. But really, this book is not a love story, it’s real, it’s raw, it’s emotional and it’s honest. We’ve got Dr. Grace Porter, who doesn’t know how to stop, she doesn’t take breaks, and she’s a Porter, so she always has to be the best. Grace, who works so hard, just to be seen by a largely white-coded industry, just so she can get a foot in the door as a queer Black woman; and then there’s Yuki, Yuki who is Asian, who has a podcast where she talks about creepy stories, who is a waitress at a restaurant and who lives with 3 queer boys in New York. These two are complete opposites, and yet, they end up getting married in a champagne-pink tinted dream.
Grace and Yuki both go about their lives for a little while before Grace cracks and spills about her getting married to her two best friends Ximena and Agnes. THIS FRIENDSHIP!!!!! The three of them together totally melts my heart. Xi is very driven and very much the mother of the group, and her and Grace’s bond is so strong. I adore female friendships in books when they’re done right, and this book hits the nail on the head. There’s no petty falling-out over something stupid, these three girls are strong together, and they’re strong for each other. Another thing that ties in perfectly to this is the mental health representation in this book. Grace has anxiety and depression, and Agnes is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder as well as anxiety and depression in the book. While I can’t relate to the BPD rep in this book, I can say that the anxiety and depression representation made me feel so seen, and was done SO well, and the way it’s incorporated into the book seems effortless.
“I’m hoping there’s someone out there that’s listening.”
When Grace finally decides it’s time for a break and she gets to meet Yuki, everything doesn’t suddenly fall into place and her life is fixed. No, things are messy, and awkward and REAL!!! Grace is still struggling; she still doesn’t know where she belongs in the world or what she wants to be doing. But for a short while, Yuki is her anchor, Yuki gives her something to focus on and gives her time to just be happy for a while. Yuki and Grace learn about each other, and they cling onto one another like they’re each other’s best thing. And just for a little while, Grace’s usual life of routines, plans and over-working herself is forgotten, and instead, she is surrounded by new people who she gets to know, new people who become her friends, new people who she grows to love. Grace gets to meet Yuki’s flatmates, all of which are adorable, may I add. And together, they go on some crazy adventures and just enjoy spending time together. One thing I especially love about this book is just how well we get to know every character; even the side characters who it may feel like we don’t see that often. I still know exactly who they are and what their background is, yet it’s not done in a way that seems info-dumpy or unnecessary.
“Yuki Yamamoto, my battery is low, and it’s getting so dark”
Grace’s time back at the orange groves where she grew up is incredibly bittersweet. We get to explore in-depth more of Grace’s relationship with her mother, as well as some more background on her father, Colonel, and this part of the book is a big turning point for her. Yet another thing I adored, the positive outlook on therapy displayed in this book, which, to some people, may sound odd; but it’s far too often that I read a book where a character goes to therapy and it’s either seen as bad or portrayed in a negative light. I also loved (take a shot every time I’ve said this*) that Grace went through multiple different therapists before finding the one that worked with her, because this is the reality!! Almost never do you click with the first therapist that you try, which brings me back to how realistic this book really is. The exploration of parental relationships in this book HURTS!!! Grace and her parents don’t have a ‘normal’ or ‘ideal’ relationship by any means, but the love between them all is still there and obvious in many ways. Colonel is Grace’s father and he has always pushed her to be the best and to work harder than anyone else, so when Grace inevitably breaks down and needs to rest for a bit, their relationship becomes strained, yet it’s still incredibly interesting to read about.
I really can’t write a review of this book without talking about Yuki’s stories. Yuki’s podcast brings a completely unique and fresh twist to Honey Girl, and it just wouldn’t be the same without them. She spins these gorgeously dark tales about all sorts of myths and legends, my particular favourites were when she spoke about the Sirens and the Akashita. It feels so real when Yuki talks about these stories, and they’re so interesting to learn about. I cannot wait until the audiobook comes out and I can actually listen to it as if Yuki herself is telling me them ❤
Morgan Rogers’ writing style is, well, it’s beautiful really. I really struggle to remember that this is a debut because it reads like someone who has been writing forever. The writing is so lyrical and there are already at least 10 different quotes from this book I’m debating getting tattooed. Every single page drips with emotion and passion, I can just tell how much anguish and heart was put into writing this book, and it really jumps off the page. Not only that, but the author is incredibly sweet and I want to be her best friend :))))
The representation packed into this book makes me SO HAPPY!!!! We characters who are trans, bi, lesbian (who actually call themselves lesbian!!), Black, Asian, gay and most likely more that I’ve forgotten to list. This book made me feel so seen, and every time I’ve read it, it feels like coming home. It’s become a comfort book for me and I truly cannot wait until I can get a physical copy to annotate the hell out of. As I said on twitter ‘ honey girl is the kind of book that you simply cannot only read once; each time, it just gets better and better, you notice new little bits of information, and it feels like coming home.’ There are many, many parts of this book that have impacted and changed my life, and as cheesy as it may sound, this book has imprinted itself in my heart forever. Another quick thing that I have to mention before wrapping this review up is how much I loved (shh) and appreciated the underlying message throughout this book that was ‘it’s okay to not be okay, it’s okay to not know your place in the world, and it’s okay to need a break from real life every now and then. And of course, it’s okay to ask for help’
This is one of the very few reviews where I actually had to restrain myself, because I could easily have made this 4X longer, and spoken about each character and their relationships for a whole page, and screamed about how much this book means to me for another 3 pages. But really, this is as short as it’s going to get, and if you take anything away from this review, please let it be that this book is SO incredibly, indescribably perfect. There truly are not enough words or pages for me to be able to articulate my love for this book, but here’s just a tiny glimpse of it ❤
Trigger/content warnings can be found here.
*THIS IS A JOKE PLEASE DON’T I CANNOT BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ALCOHOL POISONING