cover image Only on the Weekends

Only on the Weekends

Dean Atta. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray, $18.99 (560p) ISBN 978-0-06-315798-9

In an emotional free verse novel, Atta (The Black Flamingo) follows the tumultuous love life of a gay Londoner of Nigerian Yoruba descent. Nearly 16 and self-conscious about the fatphobia he experiences, narrator Mackintosh “Mack” Fadayomi is shocked when his schoolmate, British basketball star Karim, of Egyptian descent, expresses romantic interest in Mack. Karim is closeted, preferring “to do things quietly,” and his inconsistent attention confuses Mack. Just as they start finding a balance, Mack’s film director father announces a temporary move for the family, to Glasgow. There, Mack meets the white Scottish star of his dad’s project, transmasculine teen Finlay, whose flirting (in a voice conveyed in Scottish dialect) excites him. While Mack and Karim struggle to make their way forward, Mack justifies a growing emotional affair with Fin, until forced to make a decision. Prose-like verse traces a slow-burn love triangle that avoids excusing Mack’s actions, centering a protagonist whose emotional arc unpacks themes of young love and self-acceptance alongside intersections of body image, gender identity, race, and sexuality. Ages 14–up. (May)