Only on the Weekends
Balzer + Bray/HarperTeen
Published May 24, 2022
About Only on the Weekends
From the Stonewall Award-winning author of The Black Flamingo comes a romantic coming-of-age novel in verse about the beautiful–and sometimes painful–fallout of pursuing the love we deserve. The ideal next read for fans of Kacen Callender, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Becky Albertalli.
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.
Award-winning author Dean Atta crafts a beautifully nuanced and revelatory story in verse about the exquisite highs and lows of first love and self-discovery.
I read THE BLACK FLAMINGO recently, so when I had a chance to read ONLY ON THE WEEKENDS, too, I decided to go for it. I really like the way that Dean Atta’s writing pulls me into the scenes of the story, and how even with so few words on the page, he creates this incredibly clear sense of each individual character.
The story begins with Mack and his crush on Karim, who goes by K. As he and K discover they have reciprocal feelings for one another, they try to figure out how to have a relationship. K is closeted and asks Mack to keep the relationship a secret, especially from his basketball teammates at school. Mack complies, but the secrecy bothers him sometimes. He wants to be supportive, but he doubts K’s true feelings for him.
I feel like in order to really work, this story had to have really defined characters, so that the miscommunications or less than optimal choices made sense, and they really did. Sometimes things got messy. Sometimes they resolved in ways I didn’t expect. Sometimes characters grew more than I thought they would. I loved the places the story met my expectations, but I also really enjoyed when it went differently than I thought, too.
All in all, I definitely enjoyed this one. I totally agree with the cover copy in saying that fans of Becky Albertalli and Elizabeth Acevedo will love this one. (I haven’t read anything by Kacen Callendar.)
Recommended for Ages 12 up.
Mack identifies as gay. He’s also Black. Karim is Muslim. Finlay is a transgender boy.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Strong profanity used infrequently.
Kissing between two boys.
K only eats food that’s halal and doesn’t drink or smoke because of his faith.
Some instances of racism and homophobia. A server at a restaurant insinuates that Mack and K will not pay before leaving because they’re Black and Brown. A woman on a plane assumes Mack and his dad don’t belong in first class because they’re Black. When Mack came out as gay, he was banned from one of his best friends’ homes.
Mack and others drinks alcohol at a party.
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