Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney

Posted August 19, 2021 by Angie in Book Reviews / 2 Comments

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Review: Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya GoffneyExcuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney
Published by Harper Teen on May 4, 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction
Format: eBook (362 pages)
Source: Library
Purchase: AmazonIndieBound
Add Book: GoodreadsBookhype

Quinn keeps lists of everything—from the days she’s ugly cried, to “Things That I Would Never Admit Out Loud” and all the boys she’d like to kiss. Her lists keep her sane. By writing her fears on paper, she never has to face them in real life. That is, until her journal goes missing . . .

Then an anonymous account posts one of her lists on Instagram for the whole school to see and blackmails her into facing seven of her greatest fears, or else her entire journal will go public. Quinn doesn’t know who to trust. Desperate, she teams up with Carter Bennett—the last known person to have her journal—in a race against time to track down the blackmailer.

Together, they journey through everything Quinn’s been too afraid to face, and along the way, Quinn finds the courage to be honest, to live in the moment, and to fall in love.


Proceed With Caution:

This book contains racism, blackmail, discussions of death, and underage drinking.

The Basics:

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is narrated by eighteen-year-old Quinn who gets all of her thoughts and feelings out onto paper. At least until her journal goes missing and a mysterious Instagram account tells her that she must accomplish items from her to-do list or else her most secret lists will go public. Yikes.

My Thoughts:

I adored Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry for many reasons! Instead of just rambling about them, I shall provide them in list form.

  1. Quinn is not super smart or super pretty or super talented. She’s just Quinn.
  2. I love lists.
  3. Open discussions about racism, including internalized racism.
  4. Making new friends.
  5. Friendship breakups happen.
  6. Crushes are complicated.
  7. Bring It On references.
  8. How You Gonna Act Like That
  9. Owning up to your lies, even if they were told with good intentions, or only to yourself.
  10. Actions have consequences.
  11. Apologizing and meaning it and doing better.

While most excellent, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is not perfect. But there’s really only one thing that kept from totally loving it, which I will discuss.

One of Quinn’s big lies is that she didn’t get into Columbia, but she got into two state schools, where she absolutely does not want to go. She literally has nothing good to say about either school even after visiting them. I get that she’s upset and embarrassed about not getting her first choice (and being wait listed for her second), but she is a super snob and looks down on these schools and it’s never addressed.

I was hoping for the moment where she finds something too look forward to in at least one of the schools, but no. Strings are pulled and she gets into a “better” school. This rubbed me the wrong way because at the beginning she was upset that Carter assumed she got into Columbia because her parents are rich and donated a library or something. She knows her grades aren’t good enough to get in, but she insists she got in on her own merit. Yet, she has no probably getting into a different school because her mom knew someone who took another look at her application. I don’t think so.

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