Cover Image: Queenie


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Do you ever read books that you already have expectations for? Queenie was not what I expected at all. It was a tough read, and by tough I mean it was an honest story that sucks you in. It was very well written, I could picture each character and even though Queenie doesn’t like to be hugged, I would have hugged her! .

Queenie is a British, Jamaican young woman, only 25, who’s life seemed to be on track and then after a break-up was very derailed. She works at a newspaper but never gets to write the story she wants. She loves her family but never seems to please them. She wants to date again but always picks men with the wrong intentions. And as for herself, she is waning when it comes to self worth. .

Queenie looks in all the wrong places to find who she is. She is always asking herself why she is doing something, or how did she end up back here. Being so young she has the whole world riding on her shoulders and wants all the answers. Your twenties are a fun time because you are so young, but they can be hard because you are an adult yet so young and unsure of who you are. Don’t worry you will get there! If you are looking for a candid story about a character you will genuinely feel for, then this book is for you!
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I received this e-book ARC of Queenie through Net Galley from Gallery/Scout Press in exchange for a truthful review.
Queenie is a Londoner whose family origins are from Jamaica. The novel deals with the aftermath after a breakup with her long-term boyfriend, with her life spiraling out of control. Queenie continually makes very odd, destructive (mostly of a sexual nature) choices which harken back to the trauma of abandonment in her childhood. While anxiety, depression, racial insensitivity are serious topics, this novel presents them in a bit of a humorous style, with Queenie's strong squad of girlfriends and her extended family helping her to cope with her issues.
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Queenie was a remarkable book. Any time I get the honor of reading a book written by someone from a different background than my own, I learn so much about the similarities and differences between the cultures. Reading about Queenie's past and how that affected her present felt so familiar, and as she tried to deal with all that she was being hit with was heartbreaking. But watching her rise from the negative past and bettering herself for the future was inspiring.
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I would not hand this novel to everyone. It has sex scenes that involve trauma and feelings of worthlessness that don't paint a picture of truly consensual sex.

But Queenie is also a very relatable novel. After going on a break with her boyfriend Tom, Queenie is lost and a mess. Her work life suffers from her distraction, but she also begins having casual sex with almost anyone who will have her to find some form of connection. When it all finally comes to a head, Queenie has to take a look at her life to figure out why things have gone so wrong.
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This book is such a gift. The deft maneuvering of a mental journey where we need to suspend judgement of both the titular Queenie and ourselves for the mistakes that we all make (if you're thinking here "I never made THOSE mistakes," check yourself) is a resonant triumph on its own. But simultaneously taking us inside the culture of a twenty something Caribbean woman in the gentrifying Brixton section of London with the hilarious and underwhelmed voice of Queenie, while making more space for mental health and frank discussions about race is a brilliant surprise. Victims of trauma will see themselves and their choices in Queenie's downward spiral and the talk therapy journey that takes her back up out of it. I believe it must be intentional that practical coping mechanisms are discussed with enough detail for the reader to integrate some of these methods into their own lives, and it's a nice touch. Those who have maybe never experienced trauma or understood how someone could make some of the choices Queenie makes, or how women "get themselves into these situations" need to read especially carefully to gain insight and perspective. As a liberal white reader who supports the Black Lives Matter movement, there wasn't a lot on the personal experience of race and depictions of casual racism that I hadn't seen in the work of black artists before, but it was still a moving and needed portrayal. White readers who aren't as accustomed to reading black voices and black stories might find their biases and perspectives challenged. And I'm sure it will hold a special place for children of Caribbean immigrants. In fact, the way Queenie and this book challenge us to be kinder to those who struggle with mental health, to those who get trapped in self-sabotaging cycles, to those who are unapologetically angry at the treatment of people of color by the white establishment, and to ourselves, is what's truly transcendent about the story.

My one fear is that the book won't reach some of the people who need to read it most because of the unflinching depictions and discussions of sex. I could see readers unaccustomed to such unfiltered, unromantic depictions of sex and sexual health putting the book down, and that would be a real shame. If you can't relate to some of this plot, take it as a chance to have more empathy by relating to this character. Knowing that the potentially destructive choices are not glamorized or celebrated should provide the necessary fortitude.

It's sort of rare to be taken on a tour of personal demons, do a lot of crying, and still walk away feeling uplifted by a bouyant (but far from treacly) ending.
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Simply put, I enjoyed it.

Let me be honest, it took me a while to get Queenie and to get into this book. Queenie annoyed me. She mad me mad, She made me question why I was reading this book. But then something clicked for me. I began to see myself in Queenie. That's when the book took a turn for the better. Now, I admit there were some things that still annoyed me, like the use of fam and Queenie's obsession with Tom, ok, and a few other things I won't mention, but I got it. I got Queenie. I felt her. I understood her. I wanted her to win. She did, in fact, win.

I am looking forward to reading more books from this author. Maybe an update on Queenie?!
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Queenie is such a well developed character, and while I went into reading this book, thinking I was getting a silly Bridget Jones parody, this book brought out so much more!

This deep moving, heart wrenching novel is about a woman dealing with past trauma and recent breakup, by handling things through sexual encounters with men as a way to numb the pain.

There are important topics like racism, abuse, and mental illness that make this book a must read for today!

*Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery books for this complimentary E-Galley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
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So many things resonated with me while reading Queen.
25 year old Queenie lives with her boyfriend Tom in London. Queenie is Jamaican. Tom is White. They're not in the best place in their relationship. Tom wants to take a break. 
Queenie, not realizing by "break" he means breakup. She's still hopeful.
Queenie is not just about a relationship on the outs.
It's about being a Black woman, dating, sex, class, culture, childhood trauma and navigating through life after it.
Queenie is a character that you are going to root for. She deserves so much better than she thinks she does.
There is so much more that I would love to say. But, I read this all in on sitting and would definitely recommend.
Also reviewed on Goodreads.
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In this book we are introduced to a 25 year old Queenie Jenkins who is the middle of a crisis. Her long term boyfriend wants a break and from there things go downhill. I really liked Queenie’s character but at times I wanted to shake some sense into her but then I had to remember she’s 25 and bound to make mistakes. Often times I wanted to hug Queenie because as a black woman I have been in her shoes with several scenarios and felt the same exact way. I’ve been told many times “I don’t act black” and that’s my personal favorite. 

"Strong black women don't cry."

This sentence right here spoke to my soul. There is such a stigma with mental health in the black community. Praying alone is not enough. Giving your problems to God is not enough. You’re not the only one with issues so ‘just get over it’ isn't enough either. It’s very important to take care of your mental health. It’s 2019 and we need to stop shaming folks for seeking help. Enough already. 

This book was filled with vibrant characters and touched on many important social issues that needed addressing. From the moment I started this book I couldn’t stop. This book also made me reflect on my own experiences as well. I love when a book can make me think. Williams is a new to me author and I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
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Black British- Jamaican Queenie Jenkins lives in London,  is 25 going on 26,  and is a mess.  Her relationship with her white boyfriend of three years, Tom, is breaking up or as he puts it , “is on a break”.  She can’t concentrate on her job as a journalist at an online paper. She has a few gynecological surprises. Her friends Cassandra, Kyazike, and Darcy (a workmate) have their own issues . I thought this was going to be a rom-com, chicklit frolic but it is a much darker book. Queenie’s interactions with men are problematic. As you read the descriptions of the men she meets and “dates” alarm bells are sounding loudly and clearly, but Queenie seems oblivious. Her dates are more one-night stands or “bootie calls” involving physically harmful incidents, but she justifies them and returns for more. 
Her relations with her family are spiky. Forced to live in her grandmother’s home after her break/breakup with Tom, she has to abide by her grandparents draconian house rules. Her mother is emotionally and physically  absent and her aunt is overpowering. There is no happy medium.
Queenie attempts to get her life in gear, but it is gut-wrenching to watch. Her lack of self-awareness and self-preservation begins to grate on the reader halfway through the book.  Although I felt sorry for Queenie and her misfit friends and family, I was not happy that I had spent so much time with them.  A very uncomfortable read.
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I received a copy of Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams from NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. What a delight is was to spend time with Queenie. She was a refreshingly real person who, yes, makes not so ideal decisions that get her into bad situations, but who hasn’t? Early in the text, Queenie gets broken up with by her white boyfriend, Tom, and this send her world into a bit of an upheaval. Not only does Queenie have to move because she can no longer afford the area, but she has recently gone through a rather psychologically traumatic medical procedure and Tom refuses to return her calls regarding it. Let me tell you, I loathed Tom and all of Queenie’s love interests. As Queenie makes mistakes and confides all to her best friends, the Corgis, we see Queenie starting to believe in herself and her value. Queenie learns that, even when society tells her that black women must always be these pillars of strength, it is ok to ask for help and even to seek psychological help if you’re going through a hard time. I loved Queenie. Lots of folks keep comparing it to Bridget Jones and I don’t see that...this has so much more to it. If you haven’t pick it up, please do.
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I was really excited to read this book and it didn't disappoint. Queenie is in many ways a typical 20-something. She is struggling to find herself and when her boyfriend suggests a break, she goes into a free fall. She leans on her friends and each tries to help her in their own way. But soon things become too stressful for her and she begins to have panic attacks. Bucking her family's tradition, Queenie decides to seek help. While Queenie doesn't have a perfect life at the end of the book, her arc is believable and I found myself rooting for her.
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When we first meet her, Jamaican-British Queenie is facing a breakup, or rather not facing a breakup by pretending she and her boyfriend are just taking a little time alone. This blend of optimism and self-destruction is the hallmark of Queenie's character throughout the novel.

While I was waiting for this book, I read more than one review that calls Queenie the "new Bridget Jones" but that wasn't my take at all. There's a rawness in Queenie that wasn't present in romcom Bridget Jones' Diary, or in the typical dating-disaster chicklit.  The author makes readers care for Queenie even when she does self-destructive things, even when she does something completely stupid.  And she makes pretty major mistakes, some of her romantic choices had me cringing and wishing I could warn her off. 

I loved Queenie's affectionately intrusive family members, even when they were driving her crazy. I mean, sure I empathized with Queenie, but not so much that I couldn't have a laugh at her expense. If you've ever had well-meaning, nosy aunties giving you too much advice, you'll understand. 

I also really connected with the depressing gentrification of the old neighborhood. I wasn't really familiar with the London neighborhoods named in this novel, but I just imagined the Jamaican neighborhoods of Brooklyn and the stylish, $15 cupcake neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Gentrification is the same everywhere.

The whole novel pops with clever but realistic dialogue. Some of the story is told through group texts between Queenie and her friends, a trio she nicknames The Corgis (surrounding the  queen, obviously). I'm not usually a fan of epistolary novels, and scenes of characters texting can often feel like lazy writing, but here, we can see friendships develop. In the group text, we can see Queenie's worries and insecurities, and we can see Darcy and Kyazike united in caring for Queenie, even though they know such different sides of her. 

This is a bit of a spoiler, since it reveals the last scene of the novel. LOOK AWAY NOW!  Go read the book first! One of the things I liked best is how Queenie's arc didn't end with her meeting a man and falling in love. For most of the book, she really wanted to meet a man, and I felt sure that she was on the path to meeting a worthwhile guy, but the story ends with career growth, renewed family connection, and strong friendships, not Prince Charming.
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Queenie was so much more then I had expected and I loved it for that. 

Queenie is a twenty something Jamaican British woman living in London trying to be a part of two worlds yet not quite fitting into either. She has an interesting job working for a national newspaper where she is constantly comparing herself to her white middle class peers. She is on a "break" with her long time white boyfriend after she receives some news that she hadn't expected to get and doesn't necessarily want to share with anyone. This is where things start to fall apart for her she enters into these awful "relationships" and I use that term loosely with terrible men. She is having trouble concentrating at work and not getting things done. She hits rock bottom and ends up in a living situation where she isn't happy and trying to discover who she is and how to move forward. 

There is a lot going on with this book. I was rooting for her all the way even when I didn't initially understand some of the decisions she made and wanted to just ask her why. As we discover more about her and her past I just wanted to be there and support her. 

I don't want to disclose to much here and I don't even know that this review really does it any justice, but I will say one last thing if you are thinking about reading this stop thinking and just do it. This is well written and made makes you really look at things from a different perspective. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.
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I really ended up enjoying this book a lot even though at times it was difficult to read about the self-destructive decisions that the main character makes. I’ve read read comparisons of this book to Bridget Jones’ Diary and I think the comparison does the book a disservice. This book tackled a lot of serious and complex issues. I also love seeing Queenie’s growth, Sometimes, her decisions were frustrating but they also felt authentic given the way her character was described. I ended up buying a finished copy of this book and will likely end up rereading it!
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I was really excited to read this book, and although it was okay... it took me more than a week to get through it. It was difficult for me to enjoy. The writing style was hard to follow sometimes and had a lot of back and forth between the past and present. I was really bummed on this one considering all the hype leading up to release.
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The plight of a Jamaican woman in England as she navigates her life and emotional baggage is told with a fresh voice and an entangled plot.  The events of Queenie’s life that lead her to make some awful decisions are unfurled throughout the novel, and by the end you get to an understanding of who she is and why.  A great first novel by Carty-Williams.
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“Queenie” by Candice Carty- Williams introduces us to 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins. She’s having trouble at work, her white boyfriend of the last few years has dumped her and she’s really just trying to find herself through it all.
   I have heard so much praise for this book, but it fell flat to me. I was confused by the obvious dislike Queenie had for black men almost with no real explanation. I believe in loving who you love but you don’t have to step on anyone else in order to do so. The entire breakup with her boyfriend was very cringe-worthy and the after-effects even more so.  The book was full of stereotypes and Queenie was not a strong female lead, in my opinion. I was very disappointed. It tried to discuss issues such as Black Lives Matters and police brutality but even that was not well developed.  

* I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams discusses so many relevant, important, and difficult obstacles through humor and blazing candor. 
That being said, I still feel conflicted about this book. Within the first chapter I fell in love with Queenie's sharp wit and her self-deprecating tendencies. The story began to drag about a third of the way through though, to the point where I had to make myself get through the chapters. I'm not sure if it was a disjointed tone or the narrator who began to feel lost in her life, but her turmoil translated into a meandering plot for a few chapters. About two-thirds of the way through it picked up again, with Queenie still trying to hide her struggles. Her grasping at straws and small moments of sparked joy were very engaging and real, and offered moments of clarity after the lack-luster middle portion of the story. 
I really appreciated the opportunity this book offers for talks of racism, both blatant and subversive, in both in-laws and the work place. I think this story has a lot to offer, but it somehow lost it's point in the middle for me. Thankfully I kept reading, and Queenie's story is one that I really engaged with. 
I can definitely see how they got the tagline of "Bridget Jones's Diary meets Americanah", but I think Queenie's story is truly bolder and more complex than Bridget Jones's Diary.
Thank you Netgalley for the arc!
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I would just like to say thank you Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review Queenie. I thought she was very smart and very funny. I loved her relationship with her friends. I felt sorry for her sexual relationships and sorry that she even had to go through this. I am glad that her family came around to support her in her journey through therapy because this is something that Black families don’t seek out and I feel like her grandfather said, let her go it may relieve some of the burden she has been carrying and may help us. 

I thank Candice Carty-Williams for writing this book because who knows who may need this book. There are so many women out there who lack the self-esteem to love themselves first and therefore settle for the garbage that some men put them through. I also feel on a personal note as a black woman I sometime have to ask myself am I good enough because of the stereotypes and everyday racism that I deal with that my white female friends don’t face. When she ranted in therapy about being a black woman and how we are stared at and looked at differently I could relate to her. I just hate that she kept falling and dating guys that were obviously racist due to some of their comments and most of all the way they treated her. I am glad that with therapy she learned to cope, she finally deleted the no good dating apps and the men including deleting Tom’s number. I am finally proud that she realized that even in a bad spot she realized she had family and friends that loved her.
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