Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement.
When Nikki’s mother kicks her out of their home at the start of spring break, she sets off to California for the audition of a lifetime. But her best friend Malachai discovers her plan and doesn’t want her to leave. He asks for one week together to let him show her why she shouldn’t leave Texas, and him, behind. Then Nikki’s sister goes missing, and they must abandon their plans to find her.
I was a big fan of Joya Goffney’s previous books, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry and Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl so I was eager to read her latest, but something just didn’t hit the spot with My Week With Him.
Central to the story is Nikki’s difficult relationship with her mother, who doesn’t seem to want her around and gets angry at her for no reason. Her mother just wasn’t developed enough as a character to justify her changes in mood, and this would be fine if she were a minor character but she’s a big part of the story and the ending just seemed unrealistic because of this.
Teenage homelessness is a real issue many young people with insecure living arrangements face and it would be good to see this covered in a YA story. But Nikki doesn’t seem at all that bothered that she’s at risk of homelessness, and for parts of the book is technically without a permanent residence. The whole thing hangs on her either getting a miracle dream job or living with the family of her boyfriend. Both very convenient safety nets.
I feel like Joya ultimately wanted this to be a nice story that didn’t put her main character into too much peril, but I was constantly worrying how Nikki was going to manage on behalf of the character who didn’t seem to have the slightest bit of survival skills for the real world. I actually think it’s good to teach kids about money management and it’s not something that needs to be swept under the rug in stories.
Then there’s Malachai, why would he not want Nikki to chase her dreams? While I thought her being supported financially by a music career was a long shot, you shouldn’t be making decisions on the rest of your life based on what a boy thinks you should do.
The parts that were Nikki and Malachai hanging out and him trying to convince her Texas isn’t that bad were sweet and enjoyable, it’s just that unlike her previous books, the serious issues weren’t so well woven into the fun writing.
My Week With Him is published by Hot Key Books and will be available from 11th July 2023 in paperback, ebook and audiobook editions. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.
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