Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola is a firecracker of a debut, full of romantic intrigue and observations of Millennial love. 

Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola

Bolu Babalola is a London-based writer and cultural commentator. Honey and Spice is her debut novel. Kiki Banjo is an expert in love and relationship evasion. Creator of the Brown Sugar radio show, Kiki has made it her personal mission to keep the women of Whitewell University safe from heartbreak. Meanwhile, Malakai is the handsome newcomer who is everything Kiki has been warning her sisters about. By declaring Malakai the ‘Wasteman of Whitewell’, Kiki brings a stop to her girls fighting for his attention. But when she and Malakai find themselves entangled in a fake relationship to save their reputations, Kiki becomes in danger of falling for the very man she warned her sisters away from. 

Honey and Spice is an addictive, fun read. Babalola’s signature humour and the clever banter between the characters will have you grinning from ear to ear. The novel is not only funny but gorgeously written too. Babalola has done a superb job here of creating a deliciously romantic novel that will melt your heart and tug at your heart-strings. Kiki and Malakai’s relationship is adorable and filled with chemistry. Whilst their relationship growth felt realistic, the novel is still well-placed and incredibly entertaining. Much of the realism of their relationship comes down to how three-dimensional and well developed their characters felt. Both Kiki and Malakai’s characters had distinct personas and backstories. For example, we learn that Malakai has a troubled relationship with his father. This has contributed to failed past relationships and his inability to commit. Meanwhile, we learn that Kiki has her own emotional baggage that has followed her from secondary school, where she was taken advantage of at a party. It is here that we come to see why Kiki has such grim expectations of men and why helping the fellow women of Whitewell is so dear to her heart. Following both characters on their journeys was beautiful, and it was great to see them come together and learn to love and trust each other. 

The sense of community and sisterhood in the novel was fantastic to see. Not only does Kiki feel a sense of responsibility to provide advice, wisdom and protection to the women of Whitewell, but the women also reciprocate this back to her. When Kiki’s own advice fails her, it is the other women - even those from opposing friendship groups - who have her back. This notion of female solidarity felt incredibly empowering. Most enjoyable, though, was the friendship between Kiki and Aminah. Throughout the entire novel, their friendship never falters. They are constantly there to pick each other back up and offer support. 

Overall, Honey and Spice is a joyful and energising novel that is brimming with romance and sisterhood. 


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