Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking those links, I will receive a small commission from the sale at no extra cost to you.Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
Published by Park Row Books on February 23, 2021
Genres: Adult Fiction, Contemporary, LGBTQ
Format: eBook (241 pages)
Purchase: Amazon • IndieBound
Add Book: Goodreads • Bookhype
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.
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains depression, anxiety, and self-harm.
Honey Girl is the story of twenty-eight-year-old Grace Porter who has just earned her PhD, but had a bad interview for her dream job. So she does what anyone would do…goes to Vegas, gets black-out drunk, and wakes up married! But her new wife has already taken off, and Grace needs to get back to the real world and figure out what she wants to do next.
Honey Girl is not a romance. If you were pulled in by the drunk lesbian wedding, you will be disappointed. Most likely. This is very much a story about a woman figuring out what she wants to do with her life, for herself. Grace has been pushing herself for years to be “the best” and make her father proud, and she is burned out. She needs a break, but doesn’t want to be seen as running away or giving up.
There is one huge thing that kept me from enjoying Honey Girl, and it happens to be the thing that I wanted to read about most: the wedding! Grace and Yuki get married and that’s it. If Grace’s roommates hadn’t looked up Yuki’s radio show, they never would have met, or even spoken to each other. There are literally no conversations about the fact that they got OOPS married. Do they want to annul? Divorce? Make it work? Will Yuki move to Portland? Will Grace move to New York? Nothing.
There’s always a moment of “OMG what did I do?!” after a drunken wedding and the characters either immediately try to undo it, or discuss giving the relationship a go for some reason or another. Honey Girl has none of that. Grace does go to New York to take a break from her life, but nothing really comes of that. They don’t get to know each other beyond names and occupations. They do have a fight and Yuki asks if Grace ever figured her into her life plans, which made no sense. They just met! Why would Grace have made plans with her? They haven’t even talked about being freaking married?!
Yuki disappears for most of the book, popping back up at 97% for the happily ever after. I still wasn’t buying it because we haven’t been given any reason to buy into their relationship! Sure, both ladies spew romantic verses about each other with flowers and sun and stars and mermaids and whatever. But there’s no connection. No chemistry. How old is Yuki?! Does she like dogs? But Honey Girl is not a romance novel, so I guess none of that was necessary.
Except, Honey Girl is about what Grace wants to do with her life and I imagine that involves making a decision about her wife. Getting drunk married in Vegas was the first time Grace ever did anything off plan. She’s so worried and focused on every single detail of her future, and yet, she makes no decisions surrounding a surprise wife. Yeah, right.
I did enjoy seeing Grace get help. From her friends, family, and finally a professional. Her fixation on perfection is not healthy. She’s always had to be “perfect” and push hard and do better just to be considered good enough by her colleagues as a gay Black woman. Totally understandable. It is a lot of pressure, so I was happy that she finally realized she was running herself ragged and needed to stop.
Honey Girl was just not it for me. It had its good moments, but for the most part it was just one glaring hole that I could not get passed. And it’s full of unlikable characters. It’s nice that the cast is extremely diverse. And I don’t just mean in terms of race and sexual preference. There are a lot of personality types and mental health conditions. But I didn’t like anyone except for Grace’s mom’s fiance, who could probably be condensed into one page.
Quotes from Honey Girl:
Three is a good number against the world, it turns out. (page 34)
“This is not just a story about monsters, born from being unable to contort and fit into the small box we have given them and suddenly are afraid of what they have become. This is a story about how deviation from the norm can create scary, monstrous things.” (page 111)
“I can’t help you, I can’t support you, and you can’t support me, when you just leave.” (page 139)