Book Reviews

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers

Expected publication February 23rd, 2021 by Park Row Books.

My rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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.

Thank you to the publisher, Park Row Books/Harlequin Trade and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

Honey Girl tells the story of Grace Porter, a recent PhD graduate, as she tries to navigate the world post-college. A hard-working, type A personality, Grace has always done what’s needed to stick to her plan – the one her father came up with. But she deviates from it one night while in Vegas when she gets drunkenly married to a girl Grace doesn’t even know the name of.

Returning back to her life in Portland, Grace is faced with the overwhelming uncertainty of being out of school with no clue, and no prospects, for where to go from there. Burnt out, and struggling to find her place, Grace reaches out to the girl she can barely remember, but who has already changed everything.

“She kissed me, or maybe I kissed her. We didn’t want it to end, so–we made it forever, I guess. I woke up, and it felt like I had dreamed her up.”

Honey Girl is one of the most relatable, emotional, lyrical books I’ve ever read. This one really got under my skin, in the best way possible. While reading it I had these competing feelings of one, being unable to unglue my eyes from the page because I was so invested, and two, wanting to prolong the experience because I couldn’t bear to let it go. I actually wound up listening to the audiobook almost immediately after finishing it, because I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Grace, Yuki, and their story.

Grace’s story is less a romance in the traditional sense, and more a coming-of-age story about finding your place in the big, black universe. As someone who is currently in the process of finishing up her graduate degree, it was so, so easy to relate to Grace and her feelings of burn-out and uncertainty. Graduating and having to face what comes next is one of the most scary things about being a student, I think, and Rogers really captures that here.

However, unlike Grace, I don’t face the additional, systematic challenges of being a Black queer woman and working in a male-dominated field. I can only imagine how many more barriers are added to Grace’s struggle, simply because of who she is. While I can’t speak to representation myself, Rogers’ depiction feels intrinsically raw, and real, and made my heart ache.

“I think lonely creatures ache for each other, because who else can understand but someone who feels the same dark, black abyss?”

A smaller part of the story is devoted to Grace and Yuki and their budding relationship. Also interspersed are a wide array of really lovely side characters who all felt unique, and real, and couldn’t help putting a smile of my face. Yuki, especially, was absolutely wonderful. I just found her so interesting and endearing, and the perfect match for someone so stuck in her head like Grace.

Finally, I think what really tied this book altogether for me and really cemented it as one of my favourites I’ll continue to return to again and again, was the writing style. Rogers’ prose is absolutely poetic and makes it impossible for you to not be ensnared fully by the story as it unfolds. Everything is written so beautifully, and flows so lyrically, that it fully transports you to another place – to Portland and New York City, and into Grace’s mind, with all the anxieties and feelings that swirl around in there.

Honey Girl is a romantic read, even if the romance between the characters isn’t always the focal point. The writing itself is romantic, it finds the enchantment in everyday life and everyday interactions, in the universe and all its unknowables, and makes you believe in it too.

“‘Champagne bubble girl,’ Yuki says softly. ‘Cute. You were Honey Girl in mine. When I pictures you, it was just honey, everywhere. I woke up next to you, and I swear it was like buzzing bees.'”

Have you read Honey Girl?

What did you think of it?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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