cover image Friday I’m in Love

Friday I’m in Love

Camryn Garrett. Knopf, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-5934-3510-6

A queer Black 16-year-old plans an extravagant coming-out bash in this potent, character-driven drama by Garrett (Off the Record). Music enthusiast Mahalia Harris’s mother couldn’t afford the sweet 16 party she promised to throw her, but Mahalia is determined to make up for it by secretly saving up for an epic coming-out extravaganza. Despite Mahalia’s drive, however, her plan falters under the weight of interpersonal challenges. Her single mother needs to have a hysterectomy to remove a fibroid; Mahalia struggles to relate to her Black best friend Naomi, whose well-off parents threw her an unforgettable sweet 16; and her crush, Black Irish Siobhan, who is new to San Diego, is dating a racist white boy, resulting in tension between her and Siobhan. As Mahalia prioritizes getting to know Siobhan, her grades, job, and relationship with Naomi begin to fray, and it starts to seem unlikely she’ll get the coming-out she desires. Mahalia’s determination to give herself a happy ending and overcome her internal turmoil, compounded by class struggles and experiences of homophobia and racism, propels this fresh and wise narrative. Both piercingly observant and joyful, this uplifting read stands out. Ages 12–up. Agent: Beth Phelan, Gallt & Zacker Literary. (Jan.)