In the Author’s Note, Morgan Rogers mentions her agent, Holly Root, describing her writing voice as a vibrant blue house – some people would love it, and some people would think it is too much. Well, along with Holly, I love this blue house. Honey Girl is a romance for sure, but romance isn’t it’s central theme. It centres on perfectionism, on expectations set by your family that you take on yourself. I felt it and it hurt and warmed my heart. This blue house felt like home.
Star rating: 5 stars
The one time Grace Porter decides to really let loose after she is awarded her PhD, she gets married to a woman she just met in Las Vegas. The trip is just a catalyst for Grace, who has spent the last 11 years of her life throwing everything she has into her education in order to be the best astronomer only to find the world of astronomy doesn’t want a young Black queer girl.
Back home in Portland, Grace finds herself falling apart. Rejection after rejection sends her spiralling. She has pressure from her Dad, who she refers to as Colonel. He’s a really interesting character in the story, having been injured while deployed, and clearly suffers some PTSD. Colonel hoped Grace would study medicine, but she had her own ideas. He is the driving force behind her perfectionism, and adult Grace has turned his expectations into her own. Their relationship was one I felt deeply, for reasons.
Grace also has a complex relationship with her mother, who is opposite of Colonel in many ways. She’s been away travelling for a lot of Grace’s life trying to find herself. Now she is looking to get married again.
Grace leaves behind her friends (Ximena ,Agnes, Raj and Meera) to stay with the woman she married, Yuki, hoping some space will help her work out what she is going to do. They have a really strong connection, both women lost, lonely and romantic. Grace befriends Yuki’s flatmates (Fletcher, Sani and Dhorian), who become a found family away from home.
Honestly, Yuki and Grace do not spend a lot of time together in this book, but that’s because it focusses on Grace’s journey to heal all these wounds she has been carrying for so long. I really loved that, even if I did go into it expecting it to be more about romance. I feel like it was a book I needed to read – how best doesn’t have to mean the most prestigious, how you have to have room in your life for family, friends and all kinds of love. I loved all of the friendships, and the family dynamics. I loved the positive representation of therapy. I cursed all of the people that never gave Grace a chance because of her race and sexuality, who didn’t believe her work was her own.
Overall this is an amazing debut, and I can’t describe it but the book felt like honey to me. Goopy, thick, sticky and sweet when you taste it. I am very excited to see what Morgan Rogers writes next.