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Friday I'm In Love by Camryn Garrett - Review

Friday, June 2, 2023

Many thanks to Penguin Random House Children's for granting me the access to this book on Netgalley. I loved Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett but didn't finish Off the Record as I just couldn't get into it. But I was willing to give the author another chance with this book. I do have to say that it didn't meet my expectations entirely. I'm trying to think that if I was a teenager, maybe I would feel differently about this book, but I do feel like parts of it were rushed. I also understand that I read a proof copy, so there may have been edits still made, but there are continuity errors which really annoyed me. 

Anyway, the protagonist of the book is Mahalia. She is sixteen and her best friend is Naomi. They work at the same organic grocery story. Mahalia's mum is a single mum so Mahalia's wages are really needed to help keep the family afloat. Mahalia's dad has a new girlfriend and two new children and she doesn't see a lot of him. Money is a big thing in the book which I did love - I love how US YA has so many more poor kids representative in books, how many kids have to work in order to help their families out. This is something I feel is lacking in UK YA, and I put that down to the fact that publishing is extremely middle class so the people who contract books may not consider poor families. So I will give Camryn Garrett that because it's great!

Naomi's family is really well off and she has a hufe Sweet Sixteen party. Mahalia really wishes she could have had one, but couldn't. But she starts thinking about having a coming out party. She knows she is gay and Naomi does too but not many other people do know. Mahalia's mum doesn't know, but she's into the idea of a belated Sweet Sixteen party. She says that whatever Mahalia saves up she will match for a party. She doesn't know Mahalia plans to use the party to come out. So Mahalia starts working really hard to save up money for a venue, a dress, and so on. 

Then there's a new girl at school, Siobhan. Now, here's a big problem for me - Siobhan is supposed to be Irish and has just moved from Dublin. She does not speak like she's from Ireland this really annoyed me. She has a boyfriend, Danny, who is this really annoying white guy who is in some of Mahalia's classes. Siobhan is mixed race so she's less clueless than Danny is, but still. Mahalia has a huge crush on her, which did feel like 'insta-love' to me, but I will forgive that in a book for teens. 

I did feel like the book redeemed itself a bit in the end, because the last five percent of it was really cute. But there's so much that just annoyed me that I was quite disappointed. I'm giving this three out of five. 

I was given an electronic copy of this book for review purposes only. I was not otherwise compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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