Book Review: “Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers (ARC)

***Thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.***

 “Have you ever stared up at the sky and wondered where it was you saw yourself, all those years ago? Which star it was you followed here?”

 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.

February 23, 2021

 I cannot tell you how ecstatic I was when I opened my email and saw I’d been approved for an ARC of this book. It was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. A drunken Vegas wedding? A post-grad trying to figure out her next step in life? That gorgeous cover? This was a book that felt written with me in mind. And yet, it kind of fell flat.

This book has such a good foundation and explores such great themes, but it feels a little lacking in execution. I love close friendships and found families, but the ones in this book feel a little forced to me. They give off that vibe when you’re with your friends and see an ex in public and you kind of make a show of how happy and moved on you are. None of Grace’s relationships feel natural.

Grace’s internal struggle also suffers from a lot of telling rather than showing. She tells us over and over about how tired she is, how desperate she is to be perfect and live up to her father’s expectations. Her emotions aren’t palpable because we don’t feel her conflicted feelings. 

Her romance with Yuki has some killer lines, but I wanted a little more development on that front. I knew going into this book that it was more about Grace’s internal journey than the romance, but the romance is part of that internal journey. Moreover, I wanted to get to know Yuki better than we do. Why has Grace fallen for Yuki, other than the fact that Yuki allegedly sees her in a way others don’t? Why has Yuki fallen for grace, other than her honey-colored hair? I just needed more substance from the romance than I got.

Don’t get me wrong, this book was good. I just think it could’ve used a little more work and edits. I know Rogers has it in her to develop her characters and their relationships more authentically. The last 20% of this book is proof of that. I finally started to understand Grace and her struggles more as we saw them explored, rather than told to us. 

I also appreciated the themes Rogers explores here. After I graduated college, I definitely felt a little lost. I still don’t have a job in my field. It’s hard out here! Unfortunately, it’s even harder for Black women, no matter how qualified they are. I can also relate to the pressure Grace feels to be the best. Though my parents are more supportive than Grace’s father, I still sometimes feel I’m not who they want me to be. I know they just want the best for me, but it can be hard to live up to that. We’re all only human after all.

On a less personal note, the writing style is pretty good. It’s straightforward, yet introspective. And when it wants to be romantic, boy is it ever! I’m eager to see Rogers further hone her craft as she writes more books.

Because yeah, I’d read something by Morgan Rogers again. Honey Girl is a pretty good debut. It’s not the knock out of the park I was expecting, but it got me to tear up a bit towards the end. And Rogers sure knows how to make the reader swoon! If you’re okay with some clunky dialogue and somewhat forced interpersonal relationships, you’d probably like this book. I especially recommend it to people who have reached a long sought after goal and don’t know where to go next. And if like Kehlani you like your girls just like you like your honey, then you just might fall in love with Honey Girl.

 Black (mixed race) lesbian MC, Japanese American lesbian love interest, sapphic Afro Latina, Indian brother and sister, Indigenous trans man, most of the characters are queer, & mental health (mainly anxiety & depression) rep

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you read Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: “Honey Girl” by Morgan Rogers (ARC)

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