Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry Book Review

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry by Joya Goffney.

Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯

Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry follows our protagonist, Quinn, and her journey with coming to terms with herself and the lies she tells everyone around her – including herself. When Quinn’s journal (her most treasured possession) goes missing she starts being blackmailed by the new owner, and is mortified. She soon enlists the help of her classmate Carter, who was the last person to see her journal, and the two of them work together to complete her to-list before it’s too late, and her whole journal’s content is revealed to the entire school.

I loved absolutely everything about Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. It really reminded me of the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series by Jenny Han, which I also really enjoyed, and was generally a really enjoyable read. I went into the story expecting a cute, light romance (which, don’t get me wrong, would’ve also been great), and so I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be so much more. There truly was something for everyone in this book: friendship, fun, romance, and, of course, major coming of age story vibes.

Yes, you read that right – I would definitely argue that Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry is predominantly a coming of age story. The loss of her journal forces Quinn to face up to some of her worst fears, which certainly made for a very interesting read. This ultimately led to a lot of character development on Quinn’s part, and it was really lovely to see her grow in confidence and watch her reliance on her journal fall away.

Of course, this wouldn’t have been possible without Carter’s support. I loved the way Carter unconditionally supported Quinn and how he helped her face her fears and complete her to-do list. Carter himself was a really great character (despite his mistakes) and it was really nice reading about the way he looked out for and cared about her. This only made me ship him with Quinn more!

In all fairness, it was difficult not to ship them. Despite only being set over a few days Goffney still managed to make it more of a slow burn romance, with the added elements of enemies to friends to lovers. The combination of these two tropes was definitely really interesting and it meant I was eagerly anticipating the moment they ended up together. Despite the romance not being the sole focus it was still really sweet and it definitely didn’t lose any value; if anything, it made the book that much more realistic.

Of course, there wasn’t just romance in this book – there were also some incredibly strong friendships. Olivia and Quinn’s bond in particular stood out to me and I really loved their friendship. Despite only having properly known each other a few days it was clear how much they meant to each other and I loved the fact that Olivia was included in the final confrontation rather than Carter. I think it was a really great move by Goffney and illustrated how strong females really are!

Family issues were also very prominent in the book. Quinn’s parents had a very tense and fraught relationship which really impacted Quinn, and Quinn herself didn’t have the best relationship with either of her parents. Having said that, by the end of the book the family was in a better place, due to Quinn coming clean about some of her lies and facing up to the truth – however hard that might’ve been.

I have to say, Quinn was certainly determined when it came to completing her list. She was definitely a fascinating character, and I found myself relating to her in a lot of different ways. Throughout the book, her strength and bravery only increased, and I loved watching her develop. Quinn is definitely up there with my favourite characters from this year – along with the other amazing characters in here, of course!

Another really important topic explored in this book was racism, which I thought was really well done by the author. Quinn’s race was a really important part of her identity and throughout the book she struggled to come to terms with the racism she faced. It’s so important that issues like these are explored in books because it can really impact readers’ mindsets and I really applaud the way Goffney incorporated it throughout.

I also really loved the chapter titles and table of contents. It might not sound like a big deal, but I think it’s the little things like these which really push a book up for me. So many books nowadays skip chapter titles altogether but I personally love them and the ones Goffney came up with were perfect and really engaging.

Of course, the names of the chapters came from the lists – which was yet another aspect I loved. I really love books which include lists (such as Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon) and Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry was certainly no exception. If anything, this might just have been my favourite, probably due to the fact that there were lists written by multiple people. Although the whole book was told from Quinn’s perspective, towards the end there were some lists Carter had written for Quinn, which I thought really demonstrated how thoughtful and caring his character was, and only served to further convince me that he was perfect for Quinn!

Overall, I would recommend Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry for anyone looking for a contemporary that gives more than just your average romance. Goffney certainly went above and beyond when piecing together the book, and there are so many great aspects! Having said that, I would also have to recommend it to any fan of romance – despite not being the main focus, the romance was still absolutely adorable.

Have you read Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry yet? Will you be adding it to your tbr? Let me know in the comments!

I hope you enjoyed this review!


65 thoughts on “Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry Book Review

  1. I love coming of age stories, they always fill my heart. This definitely sounds like a book I’d like with the mix of fun, romance and friendship. I really like how you’ve detailed enough just to tease us readers with the review because I now more than ever want to find out for myself how Quinn gets on and the overall outcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So do I, they’re brilliant! I’m so glad it sounds like something you’d enjoy – it’s such a great combination! Thank you haha, I always try not to include any spoilers while obviously covering all the main bases! I really hope you enjoy if you do decide to read!


  2. I enjoy coming of age stories and this one sounds like one I’d like to read! Thanks for sharing your lovely review on this book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds so good! I love coming of age stories and I really liked “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before.” I will add this to my list! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This reminds me of a book I read as a child, Harriet The Spy, where her diary was found and she was shunned by all her friends because of what she’d written about them – great review, Ceri, sounds like an interesting book 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. As soon as I saw that it reminded you off to all the boys I loved… I was hooked! That’s one of my favourite books. I love that the book covers a lot of ground such as relationships, friendships and coming of age. Sounds like a great book, thanks for sharing! Alicia

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Seems a little odd that Quinn’s classmate was the last to see her journal and not Quinn herself. It doesn’t seem like she look after it that well if the contents are worth blackmailing someone over or they could lose with such ease. How does the to-do list they’re trying to complete fit in with the blackmail that started everything?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I think the idea was they accidentally swapped but it’s true she should’ve kept a better eye on it! The to-do list was in her journal and the blackmailer gave her a certain amount of time to complete each task (each one was something she was scared of doing etc) or pages of her journal would be posted online.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve watched to all the boys I’ve loved before, and I bet this book would be an interesting read for summer. Thanks for sharing this fantastic review, Ceri. That was a lot of information. I love when characters face their fears and see them grow in confidence. Can’t wait to start reading this!! x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t actually watched TATB before but I read the books and they were amazing! This would definitely be a perfect summer read – so do I, it makes for some really good character development! Hope you enjoy, thanks for commenting x

      Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such an interesting premise! I like the idea of it surrounding a journal since I love to journal, but I can imagine how horrifying that would be if you wrote super personal things in it. Also, I love the cover! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved this review. Detailed without giving away too much, but giving enough details to keep you interested. I am definitely adding this to my MUST READ ! I’ve been reading a lot of non fiction books so it will be a good change in pace.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much – I always try to strike the right balance with the detail so I’m glad you picked up on it! I really hope you enjoy, thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment!


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