Cover Image: Queenie

Queenie

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Member Reviews

I literally couldn’t put this down! Queenie is one of those books that you open, read the first page and then know instantly that you are going to be up all night reading it. This book has so much going for it: brilliantly written, relatable and lovable characters, family dynamics, messy break-ups, and a story line that so many of us can relate to. It also has the added depth of having a main character who is Black (of Jamaican decent) and deals with many of the daily micro-aggressions, full on aggressions, stereotypes and racism that Black women deal with.

Queenie is 25, works for a newspaper which she had considered her dream job when she landed it a few years before, and is on “a break” that was not of her choosing with her boyfriend. She’s dealing with what she calls her “issues” on top of the “break”, leading her to make some sometimes stupid, sometimes strange, and all-around unhealthy choices in dating, sex, and life in general. I love Queenie, her reactions to what life throws at her are similar to what mine were in my 20’s and early 30’s, and while I cringed a few times at some of her choices, it was mainly because I was cringing at my own. I got her. Queenie is very real to me.

This book has been advertised as similar to Bridget Jones, but apart from the single woman living in London thing that’s where the similarities end. Queenie deals with 20 something life, relationships, friendships, finances (or lack of), and job worries. But it also deals with childhood trauma, anxiety, mental breakdowns, and cultural, and intergenerational trauma. And it also hits on so many stereotypical actions and reactions on the part of (British) white people. I think the novel does a good job of sending a message that the US may top the charts in systemic racism, but it’s very much prevalent in the UK too.

I also loved Queenie’s group of friends. As someone who always tried to bring my girlfriends together as a group I totally related to why Queenie would do that, and I love how they are supportive, fun, caring, and hilarious. Despite the deep, and sometimes dark, themes of the book, humor is a huge part of it and you will laugh out loud more than a few times.

The only thing that I found a little surprising was that there was so much US English slang in the book. I haven’t been back to England (my home country) for a few years, but I did wonder if it was written specifically for a US public at times. It wasn’t bothersome though, just surprising.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, but I do want to say that this book is a brightly shining gem. And I cannot wait to see what Candice Carty-Williams comes up with next, because I fell in love with her writing, style, and insight.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy!
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Queenie is 25 and lives in England. Her and her boyfriend Tom have been together for 3 years, but he wants to take a break. Queenie moves out and misses Tom a lot and believes that the timeline Tom gave her for them to get back together will come true. Due to this break, Queenie starts to spiral out of control. She is having a harder time with work and is sleeping with any man that gives her attention. 
Queenie explores Blacks Lives Matter, culture, mental illness, breakups, and friendship. 
It took me two days to read Queenie and I wouldn’t say it is a light read. There is a lot of humor in it for sure, but there are some heavy topics addressed in this book. I did dock a star because I felt like once I was halfway through it dragged for a bit. Other than that Queenie was very enjoyable. I loved seeing the culture of Queenie’s family, her friendships, and I loved the humor in the book.
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If you wished HBO’s “Girls” had more racial diversity, there’s “Queenie,” Candice Carty-Williams’ debut novel about a size-14, 25-year-old British Jamaican woman who’s both black and not black, but only dates white boys.

Like her 20-something-year-old American counterparts in Lena Dunham's hit television show, Carty-Williams' Queenie struggles through dating and heartbreak and anxiety and work while also dealing with casual racism and sexual harassment on an almost daily basis.

Her life is harder than Hannah Horvath's and Marnie Michaels' and Jessa Johansson's and Shoshanna Shapiro's.

She'll be more likely to face complications from pregnancy and childbirth, even if she was rich and successful as Beyonce or Serena Williams. (Even before the book begins, she already suffered from a miscarriage, a secret she keeps from her ex, Tom, a white software developer who "wants to take a break" from their relationship.)

She's also more likely to fall victim to domestic abuse, a statistic her gynecologist brings up during sessions.

In some ways, "Queenie" reads like a cautionary tale on modern dating: Men are the worst and dating apps are a time suck. Those happily engaged or married won't miss the cringey menacing messages from guys. (Queenie replies rather than ghost some of these Felipes, setting off more cringey scenarios.) 

But at least there are the stories — told over happy hours and group chats — and those willing to listen and reply with support and horror at the appropriate moments. (Queenie has a group text she calls "The Corgis" because, as she reasons, "A queen needs her corgis.") These subjects are the best part of the book.  

Disclaimer: I received a free eARC of "Queenie” from NetGalley in exchange for this honest review.
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This book was such a lovely surprise. I've seen it described as Bridget Jones-esque, and while there was some awesome British humor in it, there was also a surprising amount of depth and darkness. Superficially, it's a book about relationships, but it is actually much more than that. Mental health, family, culture, and race are major themes addressed in this novel. 

I can see how some people would not like Queenie-- her choices were often cringeworthy. However, I loved her and her resilience, humor, and bravery. I especially loved Queenie's friends, Darcy and Kyazike. They were fiercely loyal to Queenie, and represented the cultural struggle that was present in Queenie's life as she tries to survive in a white world as a black woman.

I really loved this book. Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an e-ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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A great women's fiction book. Loved the diversity and depth and range the author explored. Will definitely recommend to more mature high schoolers looking to see themselves in the main heroine.
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think the publisher does a great dissevice to this book by comparing it to Americanah. This is a wonderful book and once read I needed to take time to get over my disappointment that it wasn't Americanah. 

This is the story of Queenie. We meet her at a moment of loss in her life. This loss sends her into a downward spiral in her life. During this time she is supported by friends and family. As is true for many people, when she's in this downward spiral she's not making choices that are in her best interest yet end up landing her in a place that pushes her to make a change. 

The characters we meet are interesting and humanly flawed. I do wish some of them were more fleshed out, particularly Queenie's mother. I'd also have liked to learn more about Jamaican culture. 

Overall, I appreciated this story on it's own merits and look forward to reading more from this author.

I received a galley of this book from the publisher and through Netgalley. This has not impacted my review in any way.
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To compare this book to Bridget Jones's Diary is apt...on a very surface level. Sure, it's about a young British woman who's quirky and sort of bumbling her way through friendship and dating, but it's also about much, much more. Queenie isn't necessarily a fun romp through modern dating - it's also depressing, harsh, uplifting, cringe-inducing, hilarious, and hard to watch (read). So yeah, it's pretty much modern dating in a nutshell.

This book goes to some really dark places that I wasn't expecting. While Bridget Jones is clumsy and cartoonish, Queenie is a more true to life version of that trope. She's just gone through a break-up she never saw coming, and still thinks will disappear. She has all these emotions she doesn't know how to deal with, and so she doesn't. She goes on a binge of casual sex and bad decisions instead until it all comes crashing down around her. And while most of us haven't experienced a rebound at this level, we'll all been there in one way or another. Bad choices abound when the person you thought you loved decides they don't want you anymore...

On top of Queenie's heartbreak is something that a some of us don't have to deal with on a daily basis - inherent racism. Her ex was white and she maintains that she'll only date white men, but as expected, that comes with its fair share of hardships. Her ex's family treated her with casual racism that he never took the time to defend her against; the men she meets on dating apps treat her like an exotic conquest, never bothering to get to know her; even her friends say the wrong things some times. It was hard to read about, but as a self-proclaimed liberal white woman, really enlightening and heartbreaking. Tied up with her anxiety and placelessness, it makes your heart hurt for Queenie.

Queenie explores dating, yes, but in the end, it's more about mental illness and dealing with it in a modern world while also trying to date, and please your family, and maintain your friendships, and keep your job. This book will make you cringe, but for me, it was more out of familiarity than anything else. I saw myself in some of Queenie's less than perfect choices, and it brought me back to the mental place I was in at that time...and made me glad I had pulled myself out. This book is honest, relevant, messy, and something well worth reading. It doesn't answer the question "who do you want to be," but it sure makes you think about it.
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Queenie is the type of book that hits your in the gut and truly makes you think. 

Queenie has been asked to move out of her apartment by boyfriend and doesn’t know how to process the breakup. She spirals from there making one bad decision after another. Her friends attempt to help her but even with their advice she continues on a destructive path. 

There were so many moments in this story where I was torn between frustration with Queenie’s decisions and wanting to try to shelter her from the challenges she’s facing. But in the end Candice Carty-Williams created such a compelling character in Queenie that you cannot help but root for her and want her to succeed no matter what choices she makes. This story addresses so many difficult topics including racism, sexism, mental illness and the stigma associated with it. Candice Carty-Williams presented these complex issues in a way that felt real and authentic that I haven’t often experienced in a novel. 

I would say that the description makes the book sound like it will be light reading and while it has an enjoyable writing style I wouldn’t consider this an easy read. There are some very heavy and disturbing moments that may be difficult for some readers. Regardles, Queenie was a great, thought provoking book.
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3.5...
Let's start with this: Queenie is no Bridget Jones' Diary, one of the books it has been compared to. While Queenie has a quick wit and sense of humor, and is a loveable character, she is going through much darker times than it first appears. 
Carty-Williams touches on mental health, dysfunctional relationships (romantic & familial), and even racism with no hesitation. With the bold and multi-faceted Queenie, she does so with a sense of humor, as well as a sense of true impact. 
Much thanks to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for this early review copy.
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This was a book that I was really looking forward to reading. Everything from the cover to the blurb screamed that this would be a book that I would adore.  I started it and was instantly drawn in to Queenie's story but then after a few more chapters I had to admit that I was not loving this book.  I carried on and there were points in the middle that I was actively disliking the book.  It got better for me in the end but not enough to elevate the feeling of deep disappointment in my chest.  I know a lot of people love this book but in the end it just wasn't what I wanted it to be and what it was did not work for me.

I could see what the author was trying to do (or at least what I thought she was trying to do) but I never felt she achieved those goals.  Instead of a thought provoking analysis of a character caught in a self-destructive downward spiral and all of  the ways the world around her has contributed to her current state we have a long, depressing slog with so many issues thrown in that could have been given more attention for better emotional resonance but are instead just seem like a laundry list of things we are expected to understand are impactful to Queenie even if they receive superficial treatment on the page. There is abuse, inter-racial dating, cultural biases in regards to mental health, Black Lives Matter, and so many other topics that could carry novels in their own right.  More time and effort was spent on illustrating all of the ways that Queen's is making horrible choices over and over and over again. None of the secondary characters were more than one dimensional although I did really love Queenie's grandparents.  

While ultimately I did not especially like this book I will still be interested in seeing what the author does next.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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(Please disregard any grammatical errors)

I don’t think I’ve been this disappointed in a book in quite some time.

I’m disgusted.

Queenie with all of its rave reviews never hints at the alarming and problematic content.

Queenie is a twenty-something-year-old Jamaican woman—who is just about at her wit’s end. She’s messing up at work, and her boyfriend of two to three years just dumped her. Her white boyfriend of two or three years—this is significant.

I want to be as clear as possible, but I don’t want to be completely spoiler-y. However, some things I will bring up have to be mentioned to back up my distaste for this novel.

I have so many issues with this book, that we don’t have enough time to cover them all, but I’ll discuss the most glaring ones.

While I was proud that this novel featured what appeared to be a plus-sized Jamaican woman, she did nothing to deserve my pride.

Queenie is a hot mess. While the author places the blame on her mental state, it felt like a lackluster excuse. 

Queenie mourns the loss of her Caucasian boyfriend for about 60-70% of the book, and we get to see it through text-begging and whining on Queenie’s behalf. While she struggles to maneuver the breakup—we’re provided with flashbacks to mostly less than flattering moments between Queenie, her boyfriend and sometimes his parents.

One of the most startling situations come in the form of a game of clue. While playing clue with her boyfriend and his uncle, the uncle blurts out, “There’s a nigger in the closet.” Queenie was offended and rightfully so. She looks to her then boyfriend, Tom to defend her—which resulted in an argument between the pair. Their relationship was a mess. Yes, we get to see the good parts, but it’s glaringly obvious that they didn’t need to be together.

I won’t dwell on that. I’m more concerned about the after. The after that included multiple “white” sex partners who praised her for her black features and treated her as an exotic place to rest their loins. Even more frustrating was that she didn’t use protection. With. Any. Of. Them. This resulted in her having to visit the “racist” sex clinic far too many times. She not only faced the prospect of contracting some sexually transmitted disease but also the ridicule of white doctors who felt her behavior expectant of a young black woman. It was disgusting; not unrealistic, but disgusting.

What was most bothersome is Queenie’s incessant and unstoppable need to work her way through white men sexually, who showed her zero respect? They talked down on her, worked their way through her and discarded her like trash.

The author blamed this on her upbringing and her anxiety-riddled mind. While that’s not unbelievable, I truly wished she would have gone about it differently. 

Queenie is also a budding journalist. She’s been interning at the Daily Read for a few years and has had no significant or meaningful work. The author sort of implies it’s because she’s looked over because she’s black—and while that’s a part of it; it’s mostly because she sucks at her job.

Throughout the book you see Queenie fighting to get through her day; struggling with the devastation of a broken heart—and her anxiety; as explained in the latter half of the book.

She fights to write about black people at the paper—only to face dismissal by her editor, who is white. That whole part of the book was hardly convincing and felt as if it were added on at the last minute.

Queenie seemed faux angry about black issues and I could have done without that entire idea altogether. She seemed angry and riled up out of obligation. 

But, let’s not dwell on that. 

She has a group of best friends that do their best and their worst to help her cope through her breakup and deal with whatever’s been lurking in the background.

She has two white best friends, and one Ugandan dark-skinned best friend, that says things like bruh, and fam repeatedly.

Though, her “black friend” had the most sense. I won’t get into the fact that her character was very stereotyped. I want to wrap this thing up.

I thought by the time we got to the healing portion of the book that all of what I had to endure would have been worth it. It wasn’t.

I’m still wholly disappointed.

As someone who has struggled with anxiety, not clinically diagnosed, but self-diagnosed—I can totally understand not recognizing the anxiety for what it is.

I can also understand how someone might deal with their anxiety; in whatever way, they feel comfortable. Queenie dealt with everything by having a lot of sex. If I felt convinced by it I’d be able to excuse it. I can’t seem to get over her being used and abused by white men so steadily, easily and repeatedly.

When her friend suggests she date black men—which doesn’t fix the root problem. Queenie has an almost physical reaction to the idea. She mentions something about being afraid or uncomfortable with black men and then it was my turn to recoil. The author does not allow the character to explain this, and she definitely needed to. You don’t drop a bomb like that and leave the room.

I really wish I thought to highlight that portion.

Even after everything she still chose another white man; with whom she wound up arguing about black lives matter with, on the way to sleep with him.

It was a mess.

While I believe black readers will relate to Queenie’s “black” struggles, the rest is just frustrating and offensive. 

Queenie digs into deep issues: discussing micro-aggressions in the workplace, the treatment and mistreatment of the black body by doctors; and the overall fear of mental work by psychologists and psychiatrists by the black family.

I thought it was relatable, no doubt about it, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough to convince me that Queenie was the character we needed. It didn’t convince me that black lives mattered.

It amplified mental health issues in the black community and how it’s dealt with, but it was all surface; not digging deep enough to have any kind of real effect.

This book was disappointing and unenjoyable, at least it was for me. I don't recommend it. But
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Queenie, this is a story of a woman actually named Queenie at first 25 years old and turns 26 before the end of the book and she is Jamaican and British, in which the story is set over in the London area. Throughout this story you are reading about Queenie's life and all the struggles she must endure throughout. I thought this story was so  beyond great and I absolutely loved the writing style of this book. There was so much detail and dialogue happening and it really made the story personal. The author wrote such a good story and she put high quality into this story. I loved Queenie's family and friends, they were all such strong characters and showed much emotion for Queenie. The author also including Queenie's journey to look more like what someone would actually go through and endure like a regular lifestyle just made this even more perfect and shows that women can get lost and that's life for you. I also definitely was happy this story was not a full romance novel either, it was perfect that it was a life journey for Queenie. I loved all the love and support this book had included and brought and this is just a book I would highly recommend anyone to read. Absolutely stunning work overall.
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Queenie is a delight.  A full realized (an just as flawed) Bridget Jones for the millennial set.  The pacing was bang on and the characters were developed in just the right fashion.  I couldn’t put it down!
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Queenie was billed as “Bridget Jones Meets Americanah“.
Did it live up to the description?

When we meet Queenie at the beginning of the novel, she’s going through a hard time. She is going on a “break” with her boyfriend Tom and while we don’t know about the specifics of their issues then, as they unfold over time, we start to understand that they aren’t necessarily things that are easily fixable through time apart.

Then things go from bad to worse for Queenie. And at the age of 25, it’s almost as if she has truly hit rock bottom. She is making terrible decisions, having scary sexual encounters and just plain needs help.

I think the comparison to Bridget Jones comes from the way that Queenie just is kind of a mess in every way. Although I would argue that for the most part, Bridget Jones does it with some degree of humor. And Queenie was kind of a tougher read.

She definitely is messing up a lot of things and the more she tries to fix them, the worse her life gets, but there are stark differences. Bridget also has some scandalous encounters with men, but Queenie’s relationship with her own body and how she allows men to treat her is just downright dysfunctional.

Which brings me to Americanah. Which I have never read. But it seems like I probably should. But from what I have gathered, it focuses on a young Nigerian who heads to America and has to face head-on what it means to be black for the first time. Knowing this and seeing all that Queenie has to work out from her childhood as the grand-daughter of Jamaican immigrants and a mother who for all intensive purposes abandons her right before the teen years where a girl really needs her mom.

So I would agree that Bridget Jones and Americanah are probably the least likely of books to appear in the same sentence, but together I can see how they really relate to Queenie. Queenie is a tough read, about a girl who is grappling with her identity a woman, her identity as a black woman, and her status as a young person trying to be successful in the world.

While definitely not a light read, Queenie is still lighter than a book on this topic could be. And I believe the book has a lot of value to open reader’s eyes about racial divides and mental health.

Special thanks to Gallery/Scout Press and Netgalley for an e-galley in exhange for my honest review. This one releases on March 19, 2019.
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Queenie was a great read. I felt like she was like a couple of women I know, especially since childhood. Including  a best friend who amuses me to this day. She's in a steady relationship for the first time in years. But prior to that? I digress. But I would love to see Queenie made into a movie. There are funny moments, the 'Girl, no. don't!' moments and you also cheer her on. I did not like Tom at all. I liked how thorough she went through the motions, then finally moved on. Queenie grows into herself and her identity. Very well written. I can't wait to read more from Candice.
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Queenie is one of the year’s most anticipated novels and I have to say that I enjoyed this story immensely. Described as Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah, I felt it really delivered in sharing about what it would be like to be a Jamaican British woman who is navigating the world of dating today.

Queenie is a 25-year-old woman living in London and straddling two cultures while fitting into neither. After breaking up with her white boyfriend, she begins to seek comfort in all the wrong places and puts herself into terrible situations that don’t, ultimately, validate her self-worth.

Queenie is surrounded by women who do their best to help Queenie overcome her breakup, but she can’t seem to stop chasing after the wrong things. The reader is lead down each cringe-worthy scenario from unexpectedly awful sexual encounters,  to discovering that a man who seemed like he was Mr. Right was actually married,  to even the embarrassment of having to live with your grandparents because you can’t pay your rent .

Queenie begins the long journey towards healing when she begins to see a counselor and must learn to love herself, even in her brokenness.

I loved this story for a couple of reasons.

One, I think that Carty-Williams really showcases the difficulties of dating today and how many people treat dating sites like meaningless hookups instead of striving to find one’s match. As someone out of the game, I really felt for Queenie and these terrible scenarios she found herself in.

Secondly, I love seeing characters evolve and I think Queenie really grew through this experience and it helped propel our story as she finds love within and through surrounding herself with the right people.

Carty-Williams writes with heartfelt honesty, humor, and with vulnerability. I hope we can follow more of Queenie’s adventures in the future.  I highly recommend this one for fans of Insecure. It helped me get my fix until the next season comes!
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As a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, Queenie is trying to find her way in an often cruel world. And when her boyfriend wants to go on a break, she's thrown even more off balance. After a series of bad hookups and questionable decisions, she tries to get her life back on track. 

I love how real this book is. Carty-Williams doesn't shy away from how hard life can be for a young woman of color dealing with everyday racism, sexism, and her own personal trauma. Queenie's journey is painful and sometimes hard to watch, but I love the way her story unfolds. The pacing of the book is great, and it's full of memorable characters (can we please get a follow-up novel about Kyazike???). I could see this turned into a killer Netflix series.
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This book is all about the titular Queenie. She’s your average Jamaican-British mid-twenties young adult person living in London with her boyfriend and working at a newspaper in an intro-ish level job. Basically, just living life the best she can. But things start to unravel for Queenie and pretty soon she is single, jobless, living with her grandparents, and dealing with a number of traumatic health situations, self-destructive rebound relationships and dependent friendships in quite a short amount of time. It’s a fast spiral and she’s struggling to cope. When she starts having panic attacks, she decides that perhaps, finally, it’s time to seek help. But can she truly recover and learn to deal better in the future?

Literally, Queenie is one of the most relatable characters I’ve read in years. She has a wry and kind of inappropriate sense of humor that is present from the start (I actually laughed out loud like 3 times in the first few pages). Her personality and attitude totally had me cheesing and wanting to be her friend. Though all that waned in the middle as she works through her mental health issues (naturally), it remains in undertone and starts to bounce back as she does herself…which is essentially spot on for the situation. I loved it. Also, what she is dealing with as far as jobs, relationships (friends and men both), living situation(s) and finances are all insanely familiar. And though I am not personally a minority, nor am I trying to live within two cultures at the same time, I still felt like we had a lot in common. As for the things I just mentioned that we don’t share, childhood trauma included, I thought the author did a fantastic job writing them in a way that made me deeply feel how those extra burdens made things exponentially more difficult for Queenie. That’s just great writing. Along those same lines, I was very impressed with the way Carty-Williams dealt with such incredibly intense topics (mental health, childhood trauma and the following adult self-destructiveness, race/racism, fetishizing of black bodies, interracial relationships, and so much more) in a way that was both authentic, yet surprisingly light. Based on the seriousness of the concepts addressed, this book seems like it should be a real downer, but it’s really not. I mean, it’s not a comedy, for sure, but it’s got just the right touch of realism and almost satirical dark humor that to keep it from being overwhelmingly depressing. At the same time, that doesn’t prevent the reader from understanding the gravity of Queenie’s struggles.

I just want to really call out, again, how awesome this book is in the way it deals with mental health. First of all, I truly had no idea how intense that part of the book would be, based on the description. So, I’d like to include a minor trigger warning here related to that. But I also liked that the book went there. It was such a surprise to see anxiety, panic attacks, and self-worth looked at from such a legitimately psychological perspective. And though Queenie clearly doesn’t want to see a therapist (and comes from a culture, the Jamaican half of her life, that traditionally severely frowns upon seeking counseling…more so than even the general public, which is clearly and genuinely portrayed here), I also love the way that the therapy is portrayed once it enters the picture. It’s useful and effective, but not immediately or universally so. And how that interacts with Queenie’s day-to-day life, in regards to her relationships with friends and family, as well as coping in a workplace environment, is also fully and openly developed. In general, recovery is very realistically written as a bumpy/winding path and, again, the authenticity of that representation is everything. I was not expecting the vulnerability and candidness this book had in dealing with mental health, how big a role that would play in the overall story, or how natural Queenie’s spiral would seem (bringing important light to a truth that has long been pushed under the rug – mental illness can strike anyone, at any time, regardless of background or situation). But I am here for it.

Although I was excited for this book, I did not really know what I was really getting into. And I actually think I’m glad for that. The honesty and clarity in the writing, the relatability of our heroine, and the overall beautifully handled pacing and character development were all so much more than I was expecting. This was in no way the fluffy contemporary it sounded like, that’s for sure. Yet the depth of the story took me by surprise and made me love it even more than I thought I was going to. This is definitely a novel I’ll be recommending far and wide.
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The comparisons to "Bridget Jones" and "Americanah" were what drew me into "Queenie", but I worried they would be too reductive to describe a book about a single black woman from an immigrant family living in contemporary London.  But there is no better comparison than to the charm and liveliness of "Bridget Jones", though "Queenie" stands wholly on its own two feet (or perhaps with one foot on the ground, and one foot in the air).  

As a single woman now Bridget's age, I found myself sometimes cringing and rolling my eyes at 25-year-old Queenie's behavior and thought processes, but I appreciated the self-reflection that this brought on.  Didn't I have frighteningly similar experiences when I was in my early twenties?  Where is the line between judging self-destructive behavior and slut shaming?  And, though different for Black women and South Asian Muslim women across the US and UK, haven't I felt the bewildering jab of a microaggression?  Queenie is going through a lot -- and while I sometimes felt like a friend exhausted by listening to her constant agony, I also felt like a reader captivated by Carty-Williams's frank and emotional descriptions of depression and anxiety.  Parts of this book were difficult for me to read, as they hit very close to home.  Ultimately, this put "Queenie" at the top for me, because I'm not sure I've ever read a book that evoked and understood the struggle of a mental health journey quite so well.  More than that, "Queenie" absolutely nails the experience of a young single woman of color living in a major metropolitan city, struggling with ambition, pressure, and stress, trying to balance your career with your social life, and navigating the annoyance with and love for your immigrant family.  The characters were memorable, and I loved the South London setting.  I feel genuinely sad that I won't get to keep reading the Corgis text chain, especially the budding back-and-forth between Darcy and Kyazike, or see where Sylvie goes next.  Luckily, I hope that this will ultimately be possible -- it would be criminal if Carty-Williams deprived us of a sequel.  

There were also some things I didn't like.  I got lost in the pacing a little at the beginning, particularly when Queenie was transitioning into her dating app life.  The jump from "Is this cheating?" into "have had sex non-stop for weeks with randoms" was jarring, and written in a way that will probably translate better into a film montage or quick-cut in a movie.  I thought the character of Cassandra was a little over-the-top, almost satirical in terms of her judgment and treatment of Queenie -- their interactions were the only ones where I felt like the message being imparted by Carty-Williams overtook the characters themselves.  I wish Queenie had spent a little more time reciprocating as a listener for her friends; I felt like even in the end, I didn't really know much about Darcy's background or home life, especially.  I also cannot believe that at 25 and in 2019, Queenie does not use condoms consistently, and I wanted her friends to be yelling at her about this as much as I would yell at my friends for the same!  Fam, please look out for your sexual health. 

But the good far outweighs the bad here, and in the end I most appreciated the book's message of progress and hope, and most importantly, learning to love yourself instead of relying on a man to fulfill your emotional needs.  In 2019, that is exactly is the happy ending that we need.  A hearty thank you to NetGalley and Gallery/Scout Press for an advance reader copy.
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I'd like to thank Netgalley and Gallery Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 


Queenie Jenkins is a 25 year-old Jamaican born British woman who's beginning to hit rock bottom.  Her boyfriend of three years has called a "break" on their relationship which causes her to move out of their apartment.  On top of that she's hit a rough patch at her dream job, a journalist on at a local newspaper.  Queenie decides the best way to relieve some her stress is to "get back on the horse" which leads to a lot of sexual escapades.  This decision, however, is not for the good of Queenie's life and puts her further down a rabbit hole.

Candice Carty-Williams does a good job of creating Queenie and her "corgies" (her best friends).  What I don't think worked as well was the integration of the Black Lives Matter movement and some of the mental health issues that were presented in the novel.  Yes, I do know I'm a white woman so I feel weird mentioning my opinions on the integration of the Black Lives Matter movement in this piece of literature.  I thought both matters were very much mentioned on the surface layer only and Carty-Williams could have delved deeper to give even more background to Queenie and her viewpoints on the Black Lives Matter movement along with her lingering mental health issues from experiences as a child.  I know mental health issues are not talk about was much within the African American community.  I appreciate that it's also mentioned in the novel when her grandmother chastised Queenie for seeking help via therapy.

Queenie is definitely a book that will be talked about throughout the spring and summer.  It's also one that has slowly started popping up on social media, particularly Bookstagram, and I have no doubts once it's published we'll be seeing it everywhere.  It was a very quick read and I think many people will find it enjoyable.
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