This Will Be Funny Someday by Katie Henry (2021)
YA Fiction | Contemporary
A girl walks into a bar… then onto a stage, and up to the mic.
Sixteen-year-old Izzy is used to keeping her thoughts to herself—in school, where her boyfriend does the talking for her, and at home, where it’s impossible to compete with her older siblings and high-powered parents—but when she accidentally walks into a stand-up comedy club and performs, the experience is surprisingly cathartic. After the show, she meets Mo, an aspiring comic who’s everything Izzy’s not: bold, confident, comfortable in her skin. Mo invites Izzy to join her group of friends and introduces her to the Chicago open mic scene.
The only problem? Her new friends are college students—and Izzy tells them she’s one, too. Now Izzy, the dutiful daughter and model student, is sneaking out to perform stand-up with her comedy friends, and she can hardly remember all the lies she’s telling to keep her two lives separate.
Her controlling boyfriend is getting suspicious, and her former best friend knows there’s something going on. But Izzy loves comedy and this newfound freedom. As her two parallel lives collide—in the most hilarious of ways—Izzy must choose to either hide what she really wants and who she really is or, finally, truly stand up for herself.
Goodreads | Amazon
pooled ink Review:
I saw somewhere that this could be described as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel set in a modern day high school and obviously I needed to read that. Now that I have, I don’t disagree with that description.
This book was great, like I really really enjoyed it. I could have read the entire thing in a day if it hadn’t been for interruptions like life and work (ugh lol). Not only do we get the on-stage comedy plus the behind-the-scenes struggles of a green comic, but there’s the drama that comes with being a real person in a real life (in this case, particularly high school).
Isabel drove me a bit crazy with her boyfriend (I seriously just kept mentally screaming “LEAVE HIM. LEAVE. HIM. WHYYYYYYY!?” and hoping I didn’t accidentally let it slip out and startle any library patrons), BUT that being said it was totally the point because you should be bothered by her boyfriend and it’s inevitable to be frustrated with her constant excuses for him and yet somehow despite the frustration I felt I actually really loved that portrayal. Henry manages to write a relationship that has a very real all-too common problem and not only does it add some drama to the story and dimension to the main character, but it’s done in a way that isn’t annoying and subtly educates without condemning. Not only that, but despite taking place between 16-year olds, it doesn’t feel immature or boxed in but rather easily translatable for adult relationships. I think that’s my biggest issue with YA, especially contemporary YA, even when I was a YA – the relationship drama was always so obvious and shallowly examined and annoying. In this case it frustrated but you also sympathized. I dunno, but I thought it was surprisingly well done all in all.
The main character, Isabel/Izzy V., is definitely a teenager and yet relatable even to adults and also (most importantly) ultimately likable (even if frustrating), the family issues were realistic and shown from varied points of view then given a realistic open-ended conclusion that I appreciated, the friendships were tangled and complicated just as they are in real life yet also fun and evolving, but what about the comedy?
The comedy was pretty good. It’s tough to write comedy because, at least for me, it’s always best pulled off when performed. Performing the comedy aids the success by not solely relying on just the words (though a performance/delivery can totally make or break a decent joke so… But I still think it allows a bit more forgiveness). Still, I found myself smiling or snorting with unexpected amusement often. Ironically (maybe?) I found the humor in the general story much funnier than any of the actual stand-up sets, but hey sets are meant to be performed not read.
I resonated with this book a bit and I’m not about to pour out my heart and explain all the reasons why. I just did and whether you connect with it or not it’ll at least be a funny, fast read so definitely give it a look. I didn’t even know this book existed until I stumbled across it at the library and honestly that feels like a crime.
This Will Be Funny Someday delivers the excitement of stand-up comedy paired with the tangled truths behind the laughter in a grounded, open-handed confession that will twist your heart and snort up your nose. Does that make sense? Meh, just read it.
Meet Katie Henry!
Website | Goodreads
Hi! My name is Katie Henry, and I write books and plays for and about my favorite demographic of people: teenagers.
I spent my own teen years in Berkeley, California, an ultra-liberal college town where adolescent rebellion takes the form of eating refined sugars or voting Republican. I moved to New York City for college and decided to stay, even though the avocados here frequently disappoint me.
My interests include feminist/liberation theology, medieval history, and overthinking absolutely everything.