Author: Morgan Rogers
Publication Date: 23 February 2021
Genre: Adult Fiction – Contemporary
Publisher: Park Row Books
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.
I’m not going to lie, I am still a bit bitter with just how well Morgan Rogers peered into my soul and my own experiences as a Black female with a PhD in a science field that is dominated by white males and the repercussions that I’ve had to endure because of that. Furthermore, the fact that when you finish grad school, life is a mess. There’s no rubric for success. Rude. Just so rude.
Anyways, so let’s get something straight. There’s going to be some people that read the synopsis of Honey Girl and will balk because how can someone who just obtained her PhD in astronomy do something as rash as getting married to a complete stranger in Las Vegas after a drunken night. How could something like this happen?
I’ll tell you.
It happens when you decide to shed the pressure and expectations of being perfect and conforming to a society where your skin means there’s a target on your back and you work twice as hard for less.
Dr. Grace Porter is truly a phenomenal character, and one that I didn’t even realize that I desperately needed to see on page. While striving to the be a top astronomer, she’s quickly made aware that being Black and lesbian will always make her “othered” and she no longer wants to compromise her core self for the sake of employment.
Yuki Yamamoto (Grace’s wife) is the antithesis of Grace. She’s a radio host and waitress in NYC. Grace flees Portland for a summer in NYC where she inevitably falls for Yuki but is plagued with even more confusion on what her life is meant to be and look like.
I LOVED all of the side characters in this book. The found family trope is alive and well in this story, and each of the characters brings a different perspective while always providing support for Grace. Also, YES to all of the normalized queerness!
I also loved the importance of therapy in this book! One thing that a lot of people don’t talk about is the need for therapy after grad school because it literally takes everything from you. To see Grace turn to therapy to work through everything she’s endured was just *chef’s kiss*.
Needless to say, I LOVED this book. And honestly, don’t sleep on this book. It’s messy, it’s complicated, it’s full of questioning. But…it’s incredible and shows that even the best laid plans are not always what are best for us.
P.S. I still want my reparations for this book.
Thank you to Park Row Books for providing a review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.