Cover Image: Queenie


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Member Reviews

There were parts of this I really liked, and parts I thought weren't developed at all. Queenie is a person who doesn't yet know who she is, and most of the book is her journey towards being okay with taking the time to figure it out. However, there were a lot of parts of her character that seemed to have changed because she told us they had, without the reader seeing that change happen.
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Queenie, on a break with her boyfriend, Tom, finds herself looking for an affordable place to live and entering the dating scene for the first time in three years. She has a great group of girlfriends, a job she loves, and an opinionated family but as the break with her boyfriend stretches out much longer than she thought, Queenie finds herself in a dark place. She must reach out for help as she watches her life fall apart a little at a time. 

I found the dry sense of humor in this book very enjoyable. Queenie and her friends are all loveable characters that I connected with right away. The book is very well written, clever, and edgy. "Queenie" pushes the limits with issues of sexuality, race, and mental illness. Queenie's need to seek out unprotected casual sex made me cringe and there was some sexual violence that was hard to read. I think this is mostly because I loved Queenie as a character and seeing her make these choices repeatedly was hard to read. I could see this being really frustrating for some readers but it may help that the book's ending was positive. Overall, I really enjoyed Queenie. I felt like this book had a unique voice and it wrapped up nicely. 

This book is available today, March 19, 2019! Thank you to NetGalley and Orion Publishing for the advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.
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by Candice Carty-Williams  
Ceelee Sunshine's review Mar 19, 2019  ·  edit
it was amazing
bookshelves: 2019-books, arcs, chick-lit, literary-fiction 

I was fortunate to receive a digital ARC of QUEENIE from NetGalley and I am so glad I was one of the lucky people to have been able to read it before the publish date which is TODAY! 
First, don't let the comparison to Bridget Jones fool you. Both books are about young women who are trying to find love and a sense of purpose in their lives. Both are clever, witty and have equally witty friends. I would consider Bridget Jones more of a RomCom feel and Queenie is a more dark and goes places where Bridget Jones would never go. QUEENIE is brilliant but flawed. It doesn't make her a bad person, it just makes her a more completely real character. Some might find her choices disturbing but should take into consideration that there are people who react to stressful situations with self destructive behavior. Queenie was fortunate enough to have family and friends who loved her despite herself and that in the end she was able to get the help she needed. 

I loved Queenie! She is so funny and the texts and conversations she had with her friends made me smile and remember my own friends and how we share our lives, both the silly and the serious. To have friends like that around you is a true blessing whether you are aware of it or not! Queenie is also a bit of a narcissist and may not have been comfortable stepping into an adult role yet. It was a part of her charm and also very frustrating. If you have ever had a narcissistic friend, you know what I mean. As for some of Queenie's choices...she is a young woman living in a big city, originally from Jamaica and has just had a breakup with a man she thought she truly loved and they would be together forever. Been there, done that in my 20's and did some stupid things before i finally wised up and got back on a more positive track in my life. Everyone makes mistakes and hopefully most of us learn from them. 

I don't mean to imply I think what she did was OK. In the real world outside of books and movies some of her choices can be damaging and dangerous but people do it anyway for whatever reason it helps them escape what they can't deal with or because they think this is what they deserve. It's an inner struggle that everyone faces and not just when you are young. 

The topic of racism was an interesting aspect of the book too. The references to American racism while presenting a story set in the UK where racist attitudes also exist makes the reader aware that racism is more of a global problem than many realize.. Another reviewer said that the reason this book was not a Bridget Jones clone is because life is more complicated than in Bridget's era but i don't think so. Hatred of those from other classes, income brackets, religions, and races other than one's own has always existed. Today it is more in our faces because we are bombarded by the news through social media with horror stories happening every day and not just in the United Sates. An interesting idea to think about: What if Bridget Jones were a young black woman in the 90's living in London and trying to make her place in the big wide world? Would her experience be different? I think yes and would probably be a lot more like Queenie than maybe some would like to admit. This book gives us a lot to think about and that is one reason it is such a great novel! 

Thank you NetGalley, Orion Publishers and author Candice Carty-Williams for giving me an opportunity to preview such an amazing book! I hope it is a tremendous popular and literary success!
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This book me, because the marketing copy led me to believe I was getting something other than what it turned out to be. The marketing copy pitches this as a cross of Bridget Jones and Americanah because it features a quirky, unlucky-in-love black woman who wants to be a journalist covering the Black Lives Matter movement from her British/Jamaican perspective while hilariously having bad luck with men. 

But, no, that's not really what this book was in the end. What it was was actually so much better than that. It's about Queenie, a black woman in London who, yes, is unlucky in love and wants to advance her journalism career by covering the Black Lives Matter movement. But it's ultimately about Queenie's journey of self-discovery as a woman outside of her identity as an object of men's attention. It's wildly empowering in a thoroughly unexpected way.
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I really enjoyed this debut by Candice Carty-Williams.  It is a quick, enjoyable read. I really enjoyed the relationships between Queenie and her friends and the support that she received from most of her friends, as well as her family. 
Queenie is struggling through a break up that she believes is just a break. At times I was frustrated with Queenie and felt that she should just get on with her life, Tom’s not worth it, but by the time I finished the book, it was evident how much Queenie had grown.
I enjoyed taking the journey with Queenie through her ups and downs at work and in her personal life. This is a story of a strong female character who persevered and chose not to live her life as a victim.
I highly recommend. Thanks Net Galley for the advance review copy.
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Queenie, a 25 year old budding journalist and Jamaican British woman struggling to make ends meet in London, is reeling from a break up with her long-term boyfriend Tom, who is white. The story is told in the present and via flashbacks, and the reader is taken on a journey through a not so great relationship stressed by Tom's casually racist family (which he does not defend her from) and Queenie's own mental health struggles. But Queenie's view on the relationship is not clear nor wholly accurate. 

Queenie does not deal with this break-up well (she spends most of the book stuck on it and Tom) and goes on a self-destructive journey. Queenie hooks up with guys and has multiple risky encounters that are a mixture of painful and hilarious.

This story is a modern exploration of mental health, dating, friendship, with tons of social awkwardness and even touches on racism from a black British woman's perspective. Queenie is a more daring, diverse, darker and complex story than say Bridget Jone's Diary, which I am seeing a few comparisons to but I think is a very different story from this one.

I wanted to love this book but there were so many problematic bits. Queenie's self destructive sexual behavior with only white men, her almost physically repulsion to black men (which is not properly addressed in the storytelling) will likely leave more than a few black readers giving this book a side eye that they may not shake. Though Queenie is aware and feels strongly about "black issues" and the book touches on a number, some of her outrage seems surface and disingenuous. Queenie is a frustrating character from many angles and while I feel this may have been intentional on the Carty-Williams' part is makes it incredible hard to read at times, and (for some) by the time progress and healing happens in the narrative, one might be completely disconnected from and over Queenie. For similar reasons, this is a book most will either love or hate with few in-betweens.
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I can confidently say that I don’t know remember a character that felt as real as Queenie did to me.  I was rooting her!

Queenie is a Jamaican British young woman trying to get her career off the ground while also reeling from a break up with her boyfriend. She makes one bad decision after another, getting involved with men who use her, and fetishize her.  Queenie’s family are an important part of this story.  Through the family dynamics, we learn about Queenie’s strained relationship with her mother.  It becomes clear that Queenie’s childhood trauma were influencing the choices she was making.  After hitting rock bottom, and a series of anxiety attacks, Queenie finally decides to seek help.

The author takes on many hard issues throughout this novel.  Racism and mental health are themes throughout this book. I thought The author did a good job portraying the stigma surrounding mental health in black and Caribbean families, when Queenie’s family isn’t supportive about her decision to seek therapy.   It will be relatable to many.  Queenie’s friends were also a big part of this story.  They are there for the good, bad, and the ugly, adding humor and realness along the way. 

Of course this book is not without flaws.  Queenie is flawed.  She’s a complete mess in fact.    Queenie’s affinity for white guys is something I did not understand.  I wish the author had explored Queenie’s passion for racial injustice, and her lack of interest in dating black men.  It's a noticeable dynamic that I wish would have been addressed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and loved Queenie.  I read this book as an ARC (thanks to netgalley), but I can’t wait to get a physical copy with this beautiful cover.
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Many thanks to NetGalley, Orion Publishing, and Candice Carty-Williams for the opportunity to read this debut book.  Being advertised as a Black "Bridget Jones' Diary."  I loved the writing, even though at times I hated the path Queenie was headed.

Queenie is a Jamaican, trying to make her way in the world.  She works at a newspaper and while she likes her job, she is constantly pitching more relevant pieces to her boss that go nowhere.  As we meet her, her and her live-in boyfriend, Tom, are taking a break at his request.  She has to find a new place to live.  She tries online dating and meets up with some questionable and some downright nasty men, making very questionable choices for herself, mostly due to her lack of self-esteem from childhood experiences.  When everything starts falling apart, Queenie is forced to move back in with her grandparents and try to figure out how to move forward.

This book is both hilarious and serious.  Friends play a key role here and Queenie has her "Corgis" who are there for her, as well as family at their best and worst.

Worth the buzz it's getting!
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I read an excerpt of Queenie on Bookish First, and I read the full book thanks for NetGalley. Queenie is a gripping character from the start. The reader gets a sense early on that there's something in her past that's leading to some questionable life choices. This book tackles some tough topics - racism, abuse/neglect, mental health, sexual harassment, etc. - through Queenie's story. She is a likable character, and I found myself feeling dark during her down times and cheering her on to build a successful life for herself. I also enjoyed the representation of Queenie's friendships. I did find the pacing of the story a bit inconsistent at time. Sometimes I couldn't put it down, and other times I felt is was dragging a bit. But, I enjoyed it overall.
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For a book that was marketed as Bridget Jones meets Americanah, this book was a bit of a downer. Queenie is a much darker reader with more serious topics being explored. Queenie and her long time boyfriend, Tom, breakup right at the start—well, technically they’re on a “break”. Then begins the downward spiral of our protagonist. And she makes bad decision after bad decision which became very frustrating at times. At one point, Queenie even says to her friends that it must not have been fun watching her self-destruct, and it wasn’t for me either. The book touches on some really important topics like racism, Black Lives Matter, the Me Too movement, the fetishization of black bodies, and mental illness, but, at times, it seemed like this book was trying to do too much.

I loved her interactions with her family—especially her grandmother. The group chat was also a welcome break from it all as well. It was quite funny.

Queenie was a hard book for me to rate. I did enjoy parts of it, but, overall, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would.
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Thank you to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and Netgalley for providing my an ARC for my honest review.

This book centers around Queenie, a 20-something Jamaican Brit living in London.  The book was hailed as Bridget Jones meets Americanah. The comparison was warranted but this book goes a bit deeper and complex (i. e. mental health, race, feminism). The book did include humourous and thoughtful moments as she navigated the ups & downs of her life. I would have like to see more development in terms of plot regarding Queenie seeking counseling. 

All-in-all, I rated this book a 4 out of 5 stars. I did, really enjoy it and I think most readers will too!
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This book follows Queenie, a 26 year old woman in London, through a year of ups and downs. It has funny and deeply serious moments. 

During most of the book, she is living with her Jamaican grandparents while getting her life back together. Her closest friends are her other support through the good and bad times.

My only disappointment was the preachiness of the last couple of chapters. I get it - Queenie learned a lot about herself but it felt heavy-handed after an otherwise enjoyable book.

My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.
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A wonderful story that feels at once universal and unique. Carty-Williams writes with distinct voice, creating a character you can't help but love, worry about, and cheer for in all turn.
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I was looking forward to a fun, quirky character from the comparison to a Bridget Jones Diary. Unfortunately, that was not the case. There were some light moments as we followed Queenie, a 25 year-old Jamaican British woman as she navigates her life; however, there were too many dark times. I did put this book down a few times. Bridget gets herself into first time sexual encounters that were very risky, has trouble at work which cause her problems, and at times has trouble with her girl friends. Trying to get her life on track, she gets counseling. This is where the author could have expanded Queenie’s story on the road to wellness. For me, there were just too many plot lines that needed more development. It almost seemed like a first draft that needed editing. I do think this would be a great book for a bookclub to discuss. Thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an ARC of Queenie.
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A fresh voice and a plausible journey with a woman navigating race, culture, heartbreak and hope. I really enjoyed going along for this ride and will be eager to read the next Carly-Williams.
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I see why the blurbs mention Bridget Jones, but I don't think that labeling it as such is fair to this novelist. This book is so much more honest, deep and gritty. It's very sad as well and Queenie will break your heart as she tries to make it in the world on her own. 

I'll admit it was difficult to read at times because of the content, but sugarcoating her struggles wouldn't have been realistic.
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This was a fantastic read. It had me wishing that my flight was longer or delayed.

The book opens as Queenie receives news of a miscarriage, which later feels like the spark that lit the fire that burnt down her life as she knew it. What unfolds in the following pages is a heart-wrenching depiction of a mental breakdown, but we get to know Queenie well enough to cheer for her every step of the way, confident that she'll pick herself back up by the end. Even when she's making terrible choices, she's still loveable to the reader.

Carty-Williams' writing is sharp and every word delivers a punch to propel the story forward. She weaves in current events to create relatable characters. Darcy and Kyazike could easily exist in my sphere of friends. Her depiction of Queenie's Jamaican immigrant family is vivid, well-rounded, and clearly informed by experience but still accessible to readers who have little knowledge of Jamaican heritage. This book also tackles the stigma around mental health care, with the added layers of being a woman of color and having an immigrant family in the UK. 

As a white American reader, this book was well outside my usual reading and a welcomed change. I am so grateful for the opportunity to read stories like these. 

Thanks to NetGalley for a digital copy of this book.
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Queenie is an important lesson in empathy. I'm sure some readers will say, I just couldn't relate to her or the situations she's facing. And that's right. Relating to a character is about you, empathy is about seeing and understanding the world through another person's eyes. While I'm a PoC, I'm not black or Jamaican or even British, but there are some things that are familiar in Queenie's story-- fetishizing/exoticizing certain ethnicities or how non-Euro cultures view mental health and therapy -- but other things I"m experiencing second hand. 

While the compare to Bridget Jones (meets Americanah) is a nice shorthand because Queenie is a 25-year old Jamaican-British woman who's dealing with a breakup and some self-destructive habits, the book is much heavier and more complicated than the number of cigarettes she's smoking daily and her parents getting divorced. Queenie addresses feminism, racism, code switching, Black Lives Matter, workplace inequality, and mental health. 

Someone else will have to comment on the specifics of the representation, but for me, Candice Carty-Williams is using a fairly universal plot to illuminate how those experiences can be vastly different depending on the protagonist. It wasn't always easy to read, sometimes I yelled, "What are you doing?!" and still, I loved it.

I'll also just say, everyone needs a friend like Kyazike.
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Queenie Jenkins just broke up with her live in boyfriend, and she is spiraling out of control. She's making very poor decisions, particularly when it comes to men, because she's hurting. It's an age old story, but one that we usually don't get from the woman's prospective, especially a black woman. The pressure on women, and, again, particularly black women to be perfect is ultra high. It was nice to see a character who was flawed and messy. Her desperation and panic are palpable. It does get a little slow at about the middle point when you start to wonder what's going to happen or what the point of the book is, but it quickly goes darker and deeper into Queenie's psyche. The book really shines in the darker parts of her story and in the female friendships. I really enjoyed this book. Thank you, NetGalley for the opportunity to review it.
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This one reminds a lot of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. It really speaks to the mental health issues and stereotypes that plague the world today, especially people of the black community. The emotions and messages of this novel conveyed felt personal and allowed me to feel a deep connection with Queenie. The pain I saw in her I have felt and continue to feel within myself. Candice-Carty Williams is such a great writer and a new voice that we need in this generation.
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