Cover Image: Evenings and Weekends

Evenings and Weekends

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Member Reviews

Evenings and Weekends is a charming gem of a debut novel. Over a swelteringly hot weekend in London, we follow several linked characters as they navigate secrets, their careers, and their futures.

Maggie is thirty, pregnant, and uncertain of her path forward. Ed is her boyfriend, and he is barely making ends meet and is struggling with his identity. Phil is Maggie's best friend, and he knows things about Ed that no one else does.

There were several other characters, and I was pleasantly surprised by how seamless the story moved from one person to the next. It was also somewhat addictive because I always looked forward to reading how these storylines connected. Overall, this was a fun, unique new novel.

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Evenings and Weekends takes place in the heat of a London summer, where a whale has been stranded in the Thames, causing a media sensation. Overlapping this event are the intersections of young adults in the city, whose lives are all reaching a critical change point. Maggie and Ed have known each other since school and are living together in an expensive London apartment that is causing Ed's asthma to flare up due to all the mold. Maggie is in the early weeks of pregnancy and they are coming to a realization that a move to their hometown in the suburbs, Basildon may be needed. They will be able to live more comfortably and their families will be close by. Maggie is nervous to tell her friend Phil about her pregnancy as she thinks he will judge her- how could she leave the city for the town she fled? Phil also has never been warm to Ed either. Why is that the case? Phil also finds himself in a situation where he is seeing Keith who is in an open relationship. Phil has a difficult time figuring out where he stands in the relationship, and should he tell Maggie about his history with Ed?

Overlap Maddie, Ed, and Phil's lives is a look into Basildon, where their parents live and are dealing also with major changes in their lives. Phil's mother Pauline is struggling to divulge to him a recent cancer diagnosis. As she thinks about death, she looks back on her childhood friendship, which was maybe more with Rosalee. Across the street is Joan, Ed's mother who is still deep in grief after the death of her husband. There's also Phil's brother Callum who is not taking his mother's diagnosis well and is distancing himself from his fiancé with their wedding approaching.

It is hard to capture all of the plot lines in this book, and I felt like it probably would be better served emphasizing the older generation or the younger generation, as many of the characters I would have liked more time with. It just is capturing a lot of interesting emotions- grief, secrecy, confidence, love, self-reflection, and I would have liked a more a deep dive with less characters. I still would recommend this book though as the read was quite enjoyable and kept me engaged.

Thank you to Mariner Books via NetGalley for the advance reader copy in exchange for honest review.

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Oh I really liked this one. I think it would benefit from a re-read because I was so wrapped up in what was going to happen with these interpersonal dynamics that I skimmed some of the more descriptive parts, but they were well done too! I loved all the relationships and appreciate that it was intergenerational.

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This is a book for 30 somethings who left suburban life for the big city in their 20s, but now feel confused about what’s next and guilty about leaving their aging parents — so basically me and all of my friends 😌

I really liked this book! I loved the variety of perspectives, and feel like every character was fully fleshed out. It explores heavier topics in a way that’s realistic but not pessimistic. I enjoyed the descriptions of London in the summer. The writing is also quite witty — the Princess of Whales bit was great.

I can definitely see this being the chic book to be seen reading this summer. I’ll be recommending to my fellow 30 somethings for sure.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC!

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If you love a web of characters that interweave in unexpected and profound ways, this book is a must-read. With a gorgeous cover and a stellar few paragraphs, I inhaled this book over 2 days. Taking place over 1 London summer weekend, the characters lives and relationships are shaken up by revelations, secrets, confessions (and non-confessions). It is multi-POV with queer characters, differing ages, and a few surprising twists. I wasn't completely enamored with the book, so only 4 stars, but I still really enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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Evenings and Weekends follows the many interconnected lives of a diverse cast of characters. With the use of her provocative writing style, McKenna's characters drive this story. We have the privilege of getting a glimpse into their lives over the course of a few weeks, and although it isn't action packed with many events, McKenna allows you to feel so invested in their lives that you're sucked right in from the beginning and can't help but root for them. There are few topics she leaves untouched throughout her debut novel. Religion, politics, gender and sexual identity, family dynamics, nothing is off the table for these 352 pages. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC!

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This is a book about complicated relationships and the things we will do to protect our loved ones. I really enjoyed the writing styleI recommend this book for fans of Sally Rooney, character driven novels, and messy relationships. Thank you to the publisher for my e-copy.

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This book weaves you in so deeply to all of these characters in this interconnected group that you feel as though you truly know them. It was raw in the way everyone feels so messy and scattered, in the best way possible. This story was witty, emotional, vulnerable and with a smooth flow between character pov’s it was an addicting page turner for me.

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The thing that I found to be most provacative within this novel was the style itself. The flow of langauge that McKenna uses is jarringly beautiful --> from the opening sentence to the very last I was completely intrigued. I would recommend this book to anyone, and I think what a different GoodReads review said is perfectly apt: this is a perfect novel!

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evenings & weekends follows an increasingly larger, interconnected group of characters over the course of a few days during a massive heatwave in london. we follow a cast of millenials who are all figuring their shit out in a variety of ways. it's very slice-of-life, but i found all of the subtleties of the interpersonal dynamics so interesting and so well-done. this book definitely shines in its quiet moments. the varying depictions of queerness and navigating queer identity were some of my favorite parts of the story.

another thing i really appreciated about this book was how london itself almost feels like a character in this story. there really is a particular magic and madness to living in a large city during the summer, and i thought the author captured that perfectly. again, this story really is about the quiet moments, the small revelations, the little coincidences-- all these seemingly inconsequential human things. most of the conflict in this book comes to head during a summer solstice party the characters all attend, and i also thought that was a brilliant choice and was very effective.

i also found it impossible not to root for these characters, even when they made mistakes or hid from the truth. their experiences felt like my experiences as a queer young millenial.

i honestly can't recommend this one highly enough for my fellow no-plot-all-vibes book lovers. i'll be thinking about it for a long time.

thank you to the publisher for sending an e-ARC my way via Netgalley!

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This is going to be huge with Sally Rooney fans. A slow story with political analysis and writing that feels so real. I’m not a huge fan of the pace, but the writing was amazing and this was a beautiful story of adulthood, love, and friendship. I loved that we get to peer into the minds of so many different characters, who all had something unique to say. This book is DEFINITELY going to be huge this summer.

Irish writers have such a way about them!

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A multi-POV, across-the-pond novel with Rooney-esque characters that are complicated with god-awful communication skills!? SAY LESS.

I gobbled up Oisín McKenna's "Evenings and Weekends," like the prestige limited series it will absolutely be adapted for. Come for the delightful blend of lyrical introspection and laugh-out-loud humor. Stay for a frustrating cast of characters who spend the pages vacillating between complicated desires and the weight of obligation.

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literally sat and read it all in two sittings; some lines had me actually laugh out loud and other lines made me so emotional, any of the flaws of this book are irrelevant to me bc of how much i enjoyed just the reading experience — i need a physical copy of this book rn

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I've heard a lot of buzz about Evenings and Weekends and was very excited to get my hands on a copy. The large cast of characters may feel intimidating at first, but McKenna skillfully weaves together their stories to explore themes of love, longing, identity, and the need for connection. London was brought to life so vividly and created the perfect backdrop for the stories to unfold. Evenings and Weekends was a strong debut by Oisín McKenna and I look forward to reading more from the author.

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This book caught my attention because the description starts with "For fans of Sally Rooney," but I decided to read it once I saw that it was gay.

We follow Maggie, Ed, and Phil, through an emotionally exhausting weekend where everything they've left unsaid finally has consequences. The book's pacing is like a kettle, you don't notice all the pressure building until it's screaming in your ears.

I read this book in a 24 hour window, so to say I devoured it is an understatement. The writing and prose were beautiful and smooth. I really felt for the characters and the various heartbreaks they were experiencing. There wasn't a chance to dislike or villainize any one of them for their mistakes when you are forced to feel compassion through the writing.

I feel like this book is essential lit fic for anyone who understands "fully automated luxury gay space communism" unironically. I appreciated the way the author talked about radical politics as a generational experience that felt authentic. There wasn't any glorification of progressive ideals, this book was very in your face about the grittiness that comes with fighting for utopia. It also wasn't overly pessimistic - we *can* have a better future. Revolution is possible. Maybe we need a Princess of Whales to unite us behind a common purpose.

The combination of a cast of characters with aching hearts, progressive politics, queerness, and beautiful writing led to some truly incredible passages.

"If the object of your desire were within perpetual reach, it would be worthless. You must only ever graze it. A whiff of perfume on a busy street: gone before you knew it was there, and then, you look around in dismay, in ecstacy, thinking: Wait, did something just happen here? You'll spend the rest of your days wanting that feeling back."

"Ed isn't sure if he wants to belong, not to gay clubs, or queer spaces, or straight bars. He doesn't want to decide on his pronouns with confidence and clarity, and he doesn't want to announce them to the world via his Twitter bio or email signature or when introducing himself at parties. He doesn't want his identity to be valid. He doesn't want his feelings to matter. He doesn't want to change his name, or his life, and to say, 'I feel so seen,' because Ed doesn't want to be seen at all. He doesn't want to be seen as man, or a woman, or a non-binary person. What Ed wants is to be invisible. What Ed wants is to disappear entirely. He wants to be nothing, by which he means not only that he wants to die, but that he wants to have not ever existed at all, for his body and every person's memory of his body to be instantly and utterly erased from the world."

"Her life, as it stands, can't fit a baby, Ed, and herself inside of it. It would be too cramped. There's only so much air. She needs to save it for herself. She wishes that air were more abundant than this. She doesn't want to ration so carefully, but she needs to breathe too."

This book had some weaknesses, but they're so minor it feels almost petty to mention. There were a lot of characters that were at first hard to keep track of, plus so many had generic names I kept mixing up. Sometimes the writing felt like the author was trying to write as Sally Rooney rather than writing in their own voice. For such a lovely debut novel, though, I don't doubt they will continue to develop their voice. I also hate to point out that some of the pacing could be kinda slow, but the pace progression was genius and I wouldn't change a thing about it.

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This book has a rich cast of characters that all feel so real, flawed and complete in their personalities and relationships. in the very beginning you're porbably going to be like "who are all these people?", but you get to know all of them so intimately that at the end you can't even imagine ever not knowing them - I loved it! It is so perfectly descriptive of the times we're living in and you're just following along, and the beautiful writing makes it even more enjoyable. It's definitely a perfectly executed "more vibes than plot book" (which is my absolute favorite).

thanks to netgalley and the publisher for the e-ARC,

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This book had moments of brilliance, but also entire sections that could've been completely omitted. The moments of brilliance were really just the author waxing poetic about contemporary life and the thoughts of 30-something city dwellers like myself, which I found spot on, poignant and relatable. Unfortunately I felt the book had not enough dialogue, and too many characters with the point of view jumping around without notice or commitment, making it difficult to follow the loose plot at times. It was also kind of low on plot, and was more of a character study and societal observation. But if I’m reading a character study I frankly need there to be less characters explored. All that to say I generally enjoyed this book, despite some perceived flaws.

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This book follows an interconnected cast of characters as they navigate their young adulthoods.

The writing in this book is lovely, and the characters are easy to connect to and to root for. The characters are well defined, with compelling backstories and rich relationships with each other. A book with multiple perspectives is difficult to balance, and I think this book only sometimes pulls it off. The changing focus made the book a little hard to get into; as soon as I was invested in a character we would change. I also am not sure how well integrated the older characters are into the narrative. I was definitely more focused on the trio of Ed, Maggie, and Phil than I was on Phil's mother, Rosaleen.

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Beyond the brilliant pacing and tight language, I was most delighted to find lines that would have read as cheesy and trite in any other book, but in Evenings & Weekends was touching. It was like I was granted permission to take such vulnerable notions seriously. I am a hard judge of first lines and I immediately adored the first line of this book. For the readers that judge more on a book's tearjerking capacity...yes, I cried. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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Based on the description I should have loved this! But ultimately it fell flat for me. I think its biggest problem was far too many characters and perspectives. This made it hard to keep track of all of them and really hard to connect with any of them in a meaningful way. Overall enjoyable but forgettable.

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