Title: Friday I’m in Love
Author: Camryn Garrett
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Length: 269 Pages
Category: YA/Teen Fiction
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: If this book did anything besides charm me and make me think outside of myself and my own little corner of the world, it would be also making me want to read more of Camryn Garrett’s work. Mahalia’s voice is strong, and her vibrance and tenacity, her pain, and her hopes and dreams are clear, relevant, and relatable. This book has Pride woven into it, through and through.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if Mahalia had a coming-out party?
Mahalia Harris wants.
She wants a big Sweet Sixteen like her best friend, Naomi.
She wants the super-cute new girl Siobhan to like her back.
She wants a break from worrying—about money, snide remarks from white classmates, pitying looks from church ladies . . . all of it.
Then inspiration strikes: It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a coming-out party? A singing, dancing, rainbow-cake-eating celebration of queerness on her own terms.
The idea lights a fire beneath her, and soon Mahalia is scrimping and saving, taking on extra hours at her afterschool job, trying on dresses, and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the coming out of her dreams. But it’s not long before she’s buried in a mountain of bills, unfinished schoolwork, and enough drama to make her English lit teacher blush. With all the responsibility on her shoulders, will Mahalia’s party be over before it’s even begun?
Review: It goes without saying, Friday I’m in Love is a book that should be accessible to every single teen who wants to read it. It’s so much more than a simple coming of age/first love story and while Mahalia coming out as bisexual is in fact the endgame, not to mention winning the girl, this book is also a story of hardships and perseverance, of falling in love but also loving yourself. It’s a story that addresses truth in history, politics, racism, celebrates diversity, and shows readers exactly what performative allyship looks like. If this book did anything besides charm me and make me think outside of myself and my own little corner of the world, it would be also making me want to read more of Camryn Garrett’s work.
Friday I’m in Love is an angsty and joyful and, more to the point, a sharply realistic story about dreams, desires, first love, and the things that stand in the way when almost every outcome and opportunity is determined by parents and money—or rather, the lack of it. Mahalia Harris didn’t have a Sweet Sixteen party because her single, hardworking mom couldn’t afford it. That hasn’t stopped Mahalia from dreaming of a different sort of party, though, and she’s determined to save up enough money to make it happen.
The story opens at her best friend Naomi’s Sweet Sixteen, where Mahalia meets a girl, loses the girl, and then thinks about the girl a lot. It would seem Mahalia’s dreams have come true when Siobhan reappears, this time as the new girl at school . . . except Siobhan has a boyfriend, Danny, the most annoying human being possible. Mahalia is simultaneously heartsick and beyond annoyed because Danny? Really? So what’s a girl to do when her crush is apparently not only straight but taken? She contends with all the other stuff going on in her life—SATs, college applications, class projects, how to get away with doing the least possible work at her job without getting caught, an absentee dad whose second family comes first, a mom who’s rarely home, not to mention watching her bank account slowly dwindle away on bills and other expenses while still dreaming of and planning for her Coming-Out party.
Mahalia’s voice is strong, and her vibrance and tenacity, her pain, and her hopes and dreams are clear, relevant, and relatable. This book has Pride woven into it, through and through.
You can buy Friday I’m in Love here: