One of my great literary pleasures of 2020 was discovering Katie Henry’s works. Henry’s young adult novels feature quirky teenage protagonists facing issues and dilemmas that most of us would struggle with as adults. The characters are all frustratingly relatable because, as readers, we can see how they could and should change themselves to make interacting with the world a bit smoother and easier. But, like all of us, they can’t or aren’t ready to make that change just yet.
Henry’s third novel This Will Be Funny Someday may be her best offering so far, which is high praise given how much I enjoyed her first two novels.
Sixteen-year-old Izzy has always felt a bit out of place. In her family, she sees herself as the odd person out when it comes to the matched pairs — her parents and her older twin siblings. At school, Izzy is protected by her relationship with her boyfriend, though even that has come at the cost of alienating her best friend. Izzy has deep-rooted issues when it come to assigning herself value — whether it’s the (misconception) that she ruined her mother’s career when her mom discovered she was pregnant with Izzy or the emotionally abusive nature of her relationship with her boyfriend.
One day while hiding from her boyfriend, Izzy stumbles into a bar and an open-mic night for aspiring comedians. Using the story of how a guy her in class didn’t take a Shakespeare scene seriously, Izzy stumbles into the world of comedy — and meets some new friends along the way. These older friends (who believe Izzy is college not high school and she isn’t quick to disavow them of this), begin to encourage her — not only in the realms of comedy but also in accepting herself for who she is and speaking up for herself.
And so, Izzy begins to live a double-life of sorts as she hones her set, borrowing heavily from her life for her comedy.
Filled with relatable, fully realized, and wonderfully flawed characters, This Will Be Funny Someday is chock full of the best kind of teen angst out there — teen angst that is built on characters and our relationships with them. There are multiple points in which you may want to scream at Izzy to just tell her friends or family the truth or to get far, far away from her boyfriend (this becomes even more apparent when Izzy finally comes clean with readers about how far over the line he’s gone in his abuse), but Izzy (like us) frustratingly refuses to do so.
This was one of the best novels I read in 2020 and I’m grateful to the publisher and Ms. Henry for the digital ARC I received on NetGalley. The only drawback here is that while many anxious readers will let to get to dive into a new Katie Henry novel next week, I will have to wait a bit longer for the pleasure of reading a new-to-me Katie Henry story.
I received a digital ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.