[Review] Honey and Spice, by Bolu Babalola

The Kindle cover of Bolu Babalola's Honey and Spice, depicting two young Black lovers standing side by side, lays on a pink , red and white camouflage mat, surrounded by a fancy candle, a pink set of earbuds, and a tall pink cup with XOXO written on the side.

(Buy this cute book here.)

This would make a really cute movie.

Kiki Banjo hosts the hottest campus radio broadcast for Black students at a PWI. Malakai Korede is a transfer student and an up-and-coming filmmaker. Both of them are fit, fine, and have no time for relationships. But when professional opportunity comes knocking, these two peng tings–erm, campus legends–decide that it’s worth consolidating their kingdoms even if at first, it’s just for show.

I’m not going to belabor you with the plot. This is a romance. We KNOW what happens! These two clearly fake date, fall in love for real, make out a lot, nearly break up over a silly misunderstanding, reconcile, and then make out some more. What makes this stand out is its very Black British setting, its nods to Nigerian names, fashion, language, and food, and how deeply and thoroughly Babalola immerses you in the social bubble she creates for her characters. You really do feel like you’re deep in the Black Student Union. At one point, I was reading this on the train and had a genuine moment of shock when I looked up from the book and was suddenly surrounded by white American commuters rather than South London naijia mandem and gyaldem.

On top of that, the main couple are cute with good banter and plenty of steam, and they remind me of some of the sweeter real-world couples I know. As formulaic love stories go, this is one of the better ones.

I’m glad I stuck with it long enough to get to the good parts, though. This book starts slow and takes forever to warm up, I think because the author felt obligated to lay out a lot of Black Brit, Nigerian diaspora and Gen Z cultural situations. I get it–there aren’t a lot of books like this out there. But as someone passing familiar with Black Brits and Nigerians, it was a little tedious at first. I’m glad I didn’t let that put me off and got to the wonderfully happy ending. I’m not joking when I say a film of this would be priceless and precious.

A dollop of patience to go with the suya, waffles and delicious happy ending of Honey and Spice.

(Thanks for reading, beautiful people. If you want more diverse romance in your life, check out this list on the Equal Opportunity Bookshop. Remember that we have affiliate relationships with Bookshop and if you purchase anything from a link you find on this site, we earn a commission. Now go! Love and be loved! And read something good while you’re at it! Peace!)

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3 thoughts on “[Review] Honey and Spice, by Bolu Babalola

  1. Thanks for this review. I just downloaded it to read. I enjoy African and Caribbean authors and their stories. My book club just discussed Stay with Me byAyobami Adebayo last month. I had read the book before but was worth reading again for the discussion.

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      1. Yes, it is a interesting story about love, polygamy and secrets. I think you will enjoy. And if you are so inclined listen to the audio version. The voice actor does a good job.

        Like

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