I just finished reading Honey Girl and I had a lot of thoughts about it! Overall I did think it was worth a read, but it was not what I was expecting and ended up tackling more heavy themes than I expected. The premise sounds like this is going to be a funny rom-com: girl goes to Vegas and get drunkenly married to a stranger, and then has to deal with the consequences. While there is a little bit of romance in this book, it’s definitely more about a twenty-something feeling lost in the world, grappling with their mental health and trying to figure out what truly makes them happy. The rest of this is going to be a spoiler-y discussion, so consider yourself warned if you haven’t read this book yet!
Title: Honey Girl
Author: Morgan Rogers
Rating: 4/5 stars
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 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.
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.
The first thing that struck me was how similar my life is to Grace’s. We’re about the same age, I’m also doing a PhD in STEM, I’ve been feeling the PhD burnout over the past pandemic year, and making my parents proud is really important to me (even if some of their expectations for my life stress me out). I can’t imagine that I would ever go to Vegas and get married to a stranger, but apparently Grace didn’t think that was something she would do either so… 🤷🏾
It honestly was hard to read about Grace’s mental health struggles and depression because I have had similar thoughts myself in the past year. “Is my PhD worth it? Is it actually fulfilling, and is this really what I want to do with my life? I’m so tired, I need a break, I need to figure out who I am and what I want. Why is it so hard to feel happy, when I’ve done everything right?” But one thing I really appreciated about this book is that Grace isn’t going through these struggles alone. Unlike a lot of books that focus on mental health, where the main character hides how they are feeling from others or spirals on their own, this book shows us that Grace has an incredible support system of friends and found-family. All of the secondary characters show time and again how much they care about her. Ximena and Agnes are full of tough love, Raj is a protective older brother, and Meera is a sweet and encouraging friend. Although she hardly knows them at first, Yuki and her roommates become part of Grace’s support system too. And even though Grace’s relationship with her parents is more complicated, they do care about her and in the end they want her to be happy. It reminded me that even though the last year has been really tough, I also have had the support of so many lovely people.
I also really liked how the author portrayed the experience of finding a therapist. Grace has to go through a lot of people who project their own beliefs onto Grace of why she is feeling depressed, and although the situation was kind of comical, it was also so realistic! Not all therapists are good therapists for you, and finding the right person is so important! Another thing I really liked was how therapy can push us to grow and improve our mental health, but it’s a constant process and it’s not something that “fixes” you. It was just really refreshing to see such an honest and positive portrayal of what it’s like to get professional help for your mental health struggles.
One thing that I didn’t like in this book was how quickly Grace and Yuki decided that yes, they actually do love each other, even though they got married after knowing each other for one night and have only gotten to know each other properly for a month. I appreciated the deep connection of finding a fellow “lonely creature” but I thought they needed more time to decide that they want to be in a relationship with each other, let alone stay married. Yuki makes Grace happy, and I think that’s important. Grace decides to choose a job that’s close to Yuki over a more prestigious-but-uncomfortable job where the environment was really unfriendly towards her, and I think she made the right call. I just don’t know if Yuki is Grace’s forever-person, or if either of them knew the other well enough to make that call. I also thought it was super unrealistic that Grace’s parents took the marriage in stride?
This book made me cry a lot, especially in the beginning. It was a little too close to home, considering how I’ve been feeling lately. Still, it was overall a hopeful story about healing and I’m glad that I read it at this point in my life.
How did Honey Girl affect you? Did any of Grace’s struggles or questions resonate with you? Which secondary character was your favorite?