Thank you very much to the publishers and Netgalley for sending me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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 in 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?
I first heard about Camryn Garrett’s books back in 2019 whilst at YALC. Soon after YALC, I read her debut and thoroughly enjoyed it. Because of that, I picked up her second novel, which I also enjoyed. So, of course, I had to pick up her third novel. I went into this knowing Camryn Garrett’s writing style and was sure it would be a good read, which it was!
Mahalia Harris wants a big Sweet Sixteen, super cute Siobhan to like her back and she wants a break from her worrying. It’s too late for a Sweet Sixteen, but what if she had a Coming Out Party? This idea lights a fire in her and soon she is saving, taking on extra hours at her job and awkwardly flirting with Siobhan, all in preparation for the Coming Out of her dreams. But, it is not long before she is buried in unfinished schoolwork, bills and a whole host of drama.
Mahalia is an excellent main character. She is so passionate towards her friends, family, music and especially her crush. We see all of Mahalia’s feelings jumping off the pages. There are some points in the book where I feel she was a little inconsiderate of those around her. But, I did understand that the reason for this was her frustration and anger. I may not have agreed with the behaviour but she is a teenager and she is growing and learning. That is one of the things that makes Mahalia an excellent main character.
The romance in this book is adorable. It develops slowly and we see it grow authentically. I loved watching the pair get closer, work through issues and seeing how patient they were with each other. This allows them to grow a healthy relationship and it is lovely.
Friday I’m in Love discusses the topic of financial difficulty in an honest and raw way. We see Mahalia and her mother’s struggle with money and how this can easily become worse quickly. The addition of Mahalia’s bank balance at the beginning of each chapter may seem simple but it reminds readers of the pressure Mahalia is under.
At points, this book did feel a little rushed. I feel the story jumped around from part to part very quickly. It meant that the character’s emotions aren’t fully explored and we don’t get to see all things play out. I’d have happily had this book be longer to allow for these things to be explored more. Camryn Garrett is definitely an author I will still be picking up books by. Her writing is unique and covers so many topics in a sensitive and honest way.
Overall, Friday I’m in Love is a wonderful read. It is one I’m sure those beginning to read YA will enjoy. I’d recommend giving this one a read!