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Only On the Weekends by Dean Atta - Review

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Where did I get it? I bought it on Amazon as a holiday treat for myself. As I was travelling by plane I only took my tablet so I thought I would buy this to read as I've heard good things about it and because I loved The Black Flamingo so much. 

What's it about? Mack is sixteen and gay, which everyone knows about him. His dad is a famous film director, and Mack's mum was an artist who died when Mack was only a few months old. Mack has two best friends, Femi, and Sim. The three of them spend a lot of time in Mack's den, playing video games and hanging out. Mack has a huge crush on the school's star basketball player, Karim, aka K. Mack is put with K's cousin, Maz, in home economics, and starts a friendship with her. He gets to know her, and K, and Maz's dad Uncle O, really well. Eventually he and K start a relationship, but as K isn't out to anyone, he asks Mack to keep it on the downlow. Mack agrees, but really he doesn't want to - he wants PDAs, he wants all the cuteness of being in a relationship. There's definite friction between the two of them and while I do sympathise with Mack (the heart wants what it wants!) I also felt for K and how he was trying to feel his way through life. 

Halfway through the novel something happens which uproots Mack's life, meaning he can only see K on the weekends (hence the name of the book). I won't give spoilers about exactly what happens because I liked the surprise, but I also really liked the romance in the second half and the way Mack really came out of his shell. 

This is a novel told in verse like The Black Flamingo, but it's also really long so I really felt like I was getting a really good look at the whole thing. It definitely didn't feel too short. 

I've read a few negative reviews of this book on Goodreads and I think most of them are missing the point that sixteen years olds can often make very very stupid decisions. Because they're sixteen! Their brains aren't fully formed yet! They want everything they want, and don't often think about consequences! I don't think you can criticise this book on the grounds that Mack is just a bit daft. Of course he is! Adult readers of YA really need to bear in mind sometimes that YA books just are not for them! 

I can't wait to see what Dean writes next - I think he writes really complex characters. I liked how in this book there was a juxtaposition between Mack and his financial privileges and his friends who were from much poorer backgrounds and who in many cases were living in difficult circumstances - I felt like that was nicely explored. 

What age range is it for? 14+ 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? Of course! There's gay characters, ones who aren't quite sure who they are yet, bi characters, and a dreamy trans character... 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, most of them! 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No I don't think so. 

Is there any sex stuff? A little, it's not graphic and it fits perfectly within the story. 

Are drugs mentioned or used? No I don't think so 

Is there any talk of death? A little bit about Mack's mum, but it's not graphic 

Are there swear words? A few 


What criticisms do I have? My only criticism is a spoiler so I'm not going to share it here

Would I recommend the book? Yes absolutely 

Why did I choose to read it at this point in life? I wanted to treat myself on holiday, as I said! 


What do I think of the cover? It's cute! I think I forgot to mention that Mack is also fat, which I think could have been indicated a little bit stronger in the artwork, but there we go 

How many stars? Four out five! 

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