Author: Morgan Rogers
Publisher: Park Row (February 23, 2021)
Paperback, 304 pages
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.
This book is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. I’m not even really sure where to start with a review. I guess first I should start with – I almost didn’t read this book. I was attracted because I heard it was a Sapphic romance, then I read the blurb and thought “this is going to be one of those books that’s marketed as genre romance but reads as more women’s fic, isn’t it?” Then some friends were reading it for a buddy read so I picked it up to and WOW. From page one, I fell. Even though it’s written in the third person present tense – arguably the WORST tense ever – it’s so amazingly, gorgeously written I didn’t even notice it’s written in a tense I loathe until CHAPTER FOUR. Like, I don’t read fanfiction because so much of it is written in third person present tense and I REFUSE, and I didn’t even NOTICE. I was too busy going “ooooh, honey and starlight… *dreamy eyes*” If that’s not a dang recommendation for a book, I don’t know what is.
Honey Girl is a book that defies genres. It’s not really genre romance, or women’s fic/chick lit, or literary fiction – though it has elements of all three. If you’re picking it up looking purely for genre romance, that’s not what you’re going to get – fair warning. Maybe (like me) you’ll fall in love with Morgan Rogers’ writing so thoroughly you won’t even care, but I want you, dear reader, to know what you’re in for. There is a love story here – a beautiful one about two lonely creatures somehow finding each other in the vast and intimate universe – but the focus is really on Grace Porter and her journey.
The number of themes this book addresses so gracefully and profoundly is just… mind-boggling. Grace is a queer Black woman in the sciences who has just finished her PhD and is trying to find a job, and WOW. There are so many things I want to say here that are more suited to a book club discussion, because I don’t want to spoil anything for someone reading this review who presumably hasn’t read the book yet. Suffice it to say that Grace doesn’t feel like a character someone made up – she feels like a real person that I’d really like to give a hug and a safe space to fall apart for a bit.
“She cannot understand this, what Agnes is going through, but she can understand loneliness so need you can’t reach it, and sadness that consumes everything. She can understand wanting to let your limbs go weak as you sink underwater.”
I think this book will speak to anyone who has ever felt lost and lonely and searching. It called to something in me – another lonely creature, made of star-stuff and searching. Maybe it will speak to you too.
A digital ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss+ for review. All opinions are unbiased and my own.