My Week With Him | Joya Goffney


My Week With Him  by Joya Goffney 

Out now from HarperTeen; 400 pages

Content Warning: Strong language, emotionally abusive parent, negligent parent, discussion of abusive family, discussing of parent with addiction, discussion of foster care, sexual content, underage drinking, microaggressions 

About the author: “Joya Goffney grew up in New Waverly, a small town in East Texas. In high school, she challenged herself with to-do lists full of risk-taking items like ‘hug a random boy’ and ‘eat a cricket,’ which inspired her debut novel, Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry. With a passion for Black social psychology, she moved out of the countryside to attend the University of Texas in Austin, and has since settled in Houston”  (Bio from author’s website).

Find Joya Goffney on the following platforms:

“Nothing but good is on the horizon.”

This audition is Nikki’s one chance to get out of Texas and start her music career. She’ll finally get away from a mother who doesn’t love her, a sister who betrayed her, and a life that stifles her. As Nikki sets off for the audition in California, her best friend Mal becomes an unexpected roadblock. Mal convinces Nikki to spend spring break with him, and she just can’t refuse him. Mal has always been there for her, and there might be something more to their friendship. Nikki’s perfect bubble with Mal doesn’t last, though. Her sister goes missing and her mother comes calling. Nikki’s ticket out feels so close, but maybe there’s a reason to stay and fight for herself. 

This is my first time reading a book by Joya Goffney. As I started reading, I was drawn into a fast-paced story about a girl getting out of her hometown and bad home life. What I thought would be a breezy friends-to-lovers road trip romance became a much edgier story about family history and how we’re raised. Not that the romance takes a backseat, though – Nikki and Mal have plenty of page time exploring their relationship. This book is very much a contemporary romance, though there is a major plotline about Nikki’s abusive mom and toxic home life. This arc is what drives Nikki to really reflect on herself and where her own hesitations come from, and in the end, fuels her confidence to follow through with the audition. The resolution of the book is hopeful, which is the best way for YA to end, in my opinion. While the characters, relationships, and overall story of My Week With Him are enjoyable, I found myself wanting more depth. For Nikki and Mal, we get tidbits of their history and we see their banter, but I didn’t really care about them the way I wanted to. I also never really felt the stakes of Nikki’s home life. We get multiple references to Nikki’s mom being emotionally abusive throughout the book, but we hardly see the impact of that because Nikki just turns to Mal and his family. Nikki’s relationship with her mom could have been a much stronger part of the book, if we just had more meaningful pagetime with the characters. I think the pacing of the book, and maybe my expectations for the story, contribute to my lackluster feelings. Fans of Goffney have shared online that they enjoyed her previous two books more than this one, so I’m curious about Excuse Me While I Ugly Cry and Confessions of an Alleged Good Girl. I was disappointed with My Week With Him, but the book is not a bad read… I just wanted more from the story. 

(Pine Reads Review would like to thank SparkPoint Studio for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced copy and may be subject to change before final publication.)

PRR Assistant Director, Erika Brittain