I absolutely loved The Black Flamingo and had such high expectations for this new book by Dean Atta, but sadly Only on the Weekends was a huge disappointment. The writing wasn’t as good as in the first book, but the main problems were the selfish and unlikeable main character, the toxic relationships and the cheating. Cheating is an absolute no no for me, no matter if it’s emotional or physical, especially when the main character seems to think he deserves to be forgiven for it without any real remorse.
The story follows Mack, who lost his mother at a young age and is now living alone with his dad, a famous movie director who spend most his time away on work. Mack has had a crush on basketball star Karim (K) in his high school for as long as he can remember. When he ends up next to K’s cousin Maz in class and they start hanging out, he can’t believe his luck. And when he finds out that K returns his feelings, he’s the happiest he’s ever been. The only fly in the ointment is that K isn’t out and want to hide their relationship, especially from his team mates.
This book had such a great representation and diversity; a black gay main character, a trans boy as the second love interest as well as several bisexual characters etc, and amazing side characters like Mack’s friends Maz, Sim and Femi and Fin’s friends. But sadly, Mack was such an unlikeable character and the relationship with K felt too toxic right from the start to make me invested in it. In fact, I hated the way K treated Mack like a door mat, and I could never even understand what they had in common or why they would even like each other. But on the other hand, I also hated the way Mack tried to force K to come out and how he tried to emotionally blackmail K all the time. I was also really disappointed in the way Mack neglected and mistreated his old friends, Sim and Femi, and his new friend Maz, when spending all his time and energy on K.
But the second half of the novel was slightly better (apart from the emotional cheating). I enjoyed seeing Mack and his father getting better contact and processing their grief over Mack’s mother’s dead together. I also absolutely loved the trans actor Fin that Mack befriended through his father movie and Fin’s friends Cleo and Ross. I wish we could have gotten more of them from the start, and that Mack would have fallen in love with Fin right away, never being involved with K at all.
I enjoyed the writing and that the whole book was written in verse, but it was no where near the powerful and beautiful writing in The Black Flamingo.
All in all, this was a big letdown, with a frustrating and unlikeable main character who acted questionable and selfish, a messy and toxic relationship, and an ending that felt both morally and emotionally completely wrong to me. So sadly, I cannot give this book more than two stars.
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The Black Flamingo by is an absolute must-read! It’s one of the most beautiful, heart-wrenching and raw coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. I’m almost shocked by how amazing it was! And by how much I loved that it was written in verse.
This gorgeous, thought-provoking and important story is about Michael, who is Jamaican and Greek, living in London with his single mother, and the challenges he faces growing up as a queer and biracial boy in a predominantly white and straight neighborhood. It follows Michael from a young age up til college on his journey of self-discovery from wanting to play with Barbies rather than GI Joes, to finding the drag community and creating his drag persona The Black Flamingo, and the freedom he obtains on that journey.
“He is me, who I have been, who I am, who I hope to become.
Someone fabulous, wild and strong.
With or without costume on.”
The verse format was perfect for this story. I loved the intimacy the poems and illustrations created by showing pieces of Michael’s life and peeling back his thoughts and feelings.
Even though this book deals with difficult and important topics like racism, sexism and cultural oppression, it’s still a surprisingly light and uplifting story, filled with hope and positivity and loving family relationships. It tackles identity issues in such a beautiful way, showing how noone should have to conform to anyone else’s standards of sexual identity, race or gender, but how we are all free to be who we are and how empowering it is to be true and open about it. On our own terms! Dean Atta really emphasizes how ’coming out’ should always be an active choice of free will when and how you feel ready for it.
“Don’t come out unless you want to.
Don’t come out for anyone else’s sake.
Don’t come out because you think society expects you to.
Come out for yourself.
Come out to yourself.
Shout, sing it.
Be a bit gay, be very gay.
Be the glitter that shows up in unexpected places.
Be a beautiful thing.
Be the moonlight, too.
Remember you have the right to be proud.
Remember you have the right to be you.”
This book is a true masterpiece! It might be my absolute favorite book this year! Or ever. All I have to say is GO READ THIS BOOK! Seriously, it’s a book everyone should read! I know that it’s a book that I will come back to over and over again and that I will never forget!
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charli Meadows Chris Bedell Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens Deonn Tracy D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E. Lockhart Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Wesley Chu Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez