Only On The Weekends by Dean Atta

Published by Hachette

FOLLOWING on from the success of his Stonewall award-winning novel, The Black Flamingo, Dean Atta’s latest exploration of being young, black and gay in Britain is a fun romantic comedy with emotional depth at the centre of all it does.

While also written in verse and carrying Atta’s witty yet earnest tone, Only On The Weekends is a fresh and lovable story in its own right with its empathetic and nuanced conversations on oppression based on race, class, gender and sexuality a part of the every day life of its characters.

Mack has grown up always looking for love, in the art of his now deceased mother he wishes he’d gotten a chance to know, and in his caring but often busy film director father who he fears he’ll never live up to the creativity and drive of.

It is no surprise that when his long time crush Karim finally expresses interest in him, he’s overwhelmed by the excitement of a first relationship in which he feels truly wanted, so much so that he struggles to cope with the imperfections in the way they communicate.

The two are still learning how to translate their romantic feelings into a healthy, sustainable relationship with their differences in wealth and approaches to affection when Mack is confronted with a three-month move from London to Glasgow for his father’s latest film.

On first arriving in Scotland Mack is disappointed, frustrated and afraid. After being so happy about his new relationship, he must learn how to make it work solely through phone calls and weekend visits.

It’s just when he’s deciding to be miserable here that his plans are changed by Finlay, the Scottish star of the new film and content creator whose art on being a trans teenager had inspired and helped many.

While Mack is at first intimidated by Finlay’s fame, good looks and positive impact on others and feels jealous of the attention he’s receiving from his father, the two quickly become friends.

Through spending time with Finlay and his friends in Glasgow, Mack begins to fall for more than just the city, creating a conflict between his feelings for his sometimes distant boyfriend at home and the charming movie star walking the line of what’s platonic and presenting a new possibility.

While the story is told from Mack’s perspective, the conflict he experiences trying to choose between these two boys is not simple. Being only 15, his immaturity in handling the situation around him is dealt with in a way that shows deep understanding for his predicament but also his personal growth.

Only on The Weekends takes the love triangle trope from its largely white and heterosexual roots and into a new and caring kind of romantic comedy.