Format: Hardcover (UK: Paperpack)
Pages: 560 pages (UK: 524 pages)
Published: May 24 , 2022
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (UK: Hodder Children’s Books)
Genre: Young Adult, LGBTQ Romance, Coming of Age, Novels in Verse
Fifteen-year-old Mack is a hopeless romantic—likely a hazard of growing up on film sets thanks to his father’s job. Mack has had a crush on Karim for as long as he can remember and he can’t believe it when gorgeous, popular Karim seems into him too.
But when Mack’s father takes on a new directing project in Scotland, Mack has to move away, and soon discovers how painful long-distance relationships can be. It’s awful to be so far away from Karim, and it’s made worse by the fact that Karim can be so hard to read.
Then Mack meets actor Finlay on set, and the world turns upside down again. Fin seems fearless—and his confidence could just be infectious.
When I heard that Dean Atta was coming out, I immediately pre-ordered my copy. The Black Flamingo touched and moved me in so many ways that it is a book that I recommend all time, two years after reading it the first time. I wanted to see what creative and inspirational stories that Atta would come up with. It’s safe to say that his latest, Only On The Weekends did not disappoint.
Once again, Atta touched on so many themes in this compelling coming of age story that are perfectly relatable to a teenage audience. Identity, sexuality, friendship, acceptance, family…just basically growing up as a teenager. Atta in his beautiful and poignant way manages to capture the difficult emotions of being a teenager. Not only does he capture that teen angst, but he manages to write in a poignant and lyrical way filled with empathy and realism. The characters just walk off the page for the reader.
But with relatable characters comes completely and flaws, and there are flawed characters. The main character, Mack, is a hard one to like. He can be whiny, selfish and his actions can be cringeworthy. However, that makes him more of a realistic character. Yes, it is sometimes hard to read Mack’s actions, but it is necessary to understand the emotions most teenagers go through. Now I am not saying that my teenage antics matched Mack’s but who has not made mistakes as a teenager? But let us take to heart the sound advice Mack’s father gives:
“Who you are. What you’ve done.
The consequences of your actions
The good, the bad, and the ugly.
Maybe you’re not the hero you want to be
Or the villain they’re making out to be.”
That is something that all of us, young and old, can take to heart.
Beautifully written and filled with well-rounded depictions of teenage emotions, Dean Atta has another great YA novel in verse that if filled with the powerful emotion and insight that Atta does such an excellent job putting into verse. If you want to read a queer romance story for Pride Month, you cannot go wrong with this highly recommended book.