A review by readwithcindy
Honey Girl, by Morgan Rogers

emotional hopeful inspiring reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

3.5 stars. A solid debut novel. This would make a great indie film adaptation since it’s like a coming-of-age story for adults in their late 20s. I enjoyed the way this book opened up with the hazy yet romantic memories of the night the protagonist had, right as she is at the cusp of an existential life crisis. The author has a strong grasp of their own writing style where it’s lyrical and contemplative. Pairing this with a coming-of-age narrative will definitely make this book resonate with the specific audience the author is writing for.

The focal point of this book is the self-development of the protagonist rather than her romance with the girl she just married, which more so serves as a catalyst for her existential crisis. I think that’s a great setup, and found many of the issues she dealt with her career to be very relatable. Her struggles dealing with being a minority in a predominantly white field, feeling like she has to give 110% of herself and be the best all the time in order to be recognized at work, but then also questioning why she’s working so hard for something she feels like she “should” excel at but doesn’t give her much joy… all of those things are extremely accurate to my own experience in my industry, as I’m sure it is for many women of color in many areas of work. There’s a specific moment where she indulges in this new relationship she has, and she says: “I just want one thing to be easy”. This is a moment I identified with the most. You work so hard, constantly trying to excel and prove yourself, but it gets so tiring to do that all the time. That desperate need to have just one easy thing in your life where you don’t have to be “on” is such a relatable reprieve.

Although I find the themes to be relatable and am sure will resonate with many readers, I personally couldn’t find myself resonating as strongly. One major reason is that it’s very clear what the author is trying to do with this straightforward storyline and the protagonist’s character arc to the point where I felt like I was spoon-fed these things. The protagonist constantly emphasizes she has to be “the best”, has an overly strict dad that keeps telling her their family must be “the best”, her friends joke about how she loves to plan everything in advance, etc. It’s very in-your-face and sets up a predictable path: you know you’re basically going to read about how a type-A overachiever learns to confront familial and societal pressures by choosing her own happiness and joy. There’s no surprises, twists, or room for interpretation - it’s all spelled out for you.

The second major reason I didn’t vibe as much with this book is that as I kept reading on, I realized the writing was too saccharine for me. I found a lot of the lines and dialogue to be cheesy and trying too hard to be romantic, deep, or contemplative. Examples: the excessive amount of times that the characters call each other by their full names (no one talks like that unless they’re a cheesy indie film), the love interest going on tangents about how we’re all “lonely creatures waiting to be found”, and even a scene where, after the characters got into a fight, one of them texted to the other: “I didn’t know when you said you didn’t believe in monsters that you didn’t believe in me too”. These things were all too much for my tastes and bordered on Tumblr sentimentalities. Ultimately, the story didn’t hit me with the kind of poignancy the author was trying to go for, but I still think the book will be great for specific readers who are looking for this and will feel seen by this.

Expand filter menu Content Warnings