Cover Image: Strange Sally Diamond

Strange Sally Diamond

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Member Reviews

I've read and enjoyed all previous Liz Nugent books and I was really excited to read this one. I think it's her best one yet. Absolutely loved it!

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My favourite book of the year! I absolutely devoured Strange Sally Diamond. The characterisation was so brilliant and I really felt for Sally so much but I equally loved where the story went and how everything came together.

With probably the most shocking opening to any book I’ve ever read, this one kept me hooked right the way through. I adore Liz Nugent’s writing and loved Our Little Cruelties so much too that I will be reading through Nugent’s backlist!

5/5 stars!

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Liz Nugent just doesn’t fail to deliver. Strange Sally Diamond had me gripped from page one and didn’t let go until the end.

It’s fast-paced with great characters and a tightly woven plot.

If you’re looking for a neatly and nicely packaged story, this is not the book for you.

It’s big, bold and dark in places but you’d expect nothing less from this author.

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I love being given the opportunity to update our school library which is a unique space for both senior students and staff to access high quality literature. This is definitely a must-buy. It kept me absolutely gripped from cover to cover and is exactly the kind of read that just flies off the shelves. It has exactly the right combination of credible characters and a compelling plot thatI just could not put down. This is a great read that I couldn't stop thinking about and it made for a hugely satisfying read. I'm definitely going to order a copy and think it will immediately become a popular addition to our fiction shelves. 10/10 would absolutely recommend.

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The story of Sally Diamond, who puts her father’s remains out with the rubbish, makes headlines in Ireland while Sally doesn’t know what the fuss is. I’ll admit when I was a few pages in I forgot myself and posted all about, telling people it was heartwarming and heartbreaking and made it sound a bit too warm, perhaps forgetting that this was a book crafted by a master crime author. I remembered when I realised that Sally’s past had some extremely grim and dark moments, with tragedy and abuse and despair, hatred of women in general and such cruelty. It was a book that, as all Liz Nugent’s books do, had me exhaling at times, and I do believe I said ‘ah no’ out loud twice. (Professional reviewing at its best, eh?😉). Unputdownable doesn’t even touch this book! Characters and community you root for, or despise, settings that make you despair, or which give hope and comfort, and a story that has you holding your breath. (Or saying ‘ah, no’!) Thanks to netgalley and the publishers for this arc. Rating:5:5

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Oh wow I loved this one so much. Sally is a rather strange character but I absolutely loved her. This book utterly consumed me right up to the final page. Just brilliant

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I like the very strange Sally Diamond, but I did also find the story a bit disturbing in parts. I had hoped for a different ending though

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'I am forty four and I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.'
.
I finally understand the hype! This is probably my favourite Liz Nugent book so far, definitely recommend reading it!

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Another fantastic read by Liz Nugent. Sally, with her unique charm and naivety, was an instant favourite, offering several light-hearted moments that evoked genuine laughter. Peter's storyline added a darker, more intense layer to the narrative, which was another reason to keep turning the page. The end of the book felt somewhat hurried, but I thought it was a decent end to a great story. Highly recommended.

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I was so excited to read this, as I have seen so much hype surrounding this book. However, I felt that there where so many plot holes that the story just felt flat for me. It had a lot of potential that it didn't quite fulfil.

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Strange Sally Diamond is the quirkiest book that I have read this year. That is a big statement being that I am 154 books in but I really believe that no other story has disarmed me as much as this one has.

It focuses on our eponymous character - Sally Diamond - and how she is rather an odd duck. A square peg in a round hole. Sally has been sheltered from the "normal" world but due to unforeseen events now has to confront a society that is very confusing and one that Sally doesn't know all the rules for.

Strange Sally Diamond is a brilliant story which when you scratch the surface isn't just about fitting in or conforming but is a story about nature versus nurture. Are we made to be a certain way by our experiences or are these things completely beyond our control?

Strange Sally Diamond is a fascinating read and one that I will be gifting to a lot of people.

Strange Sally Diamond by Liz Nugent is available now.

For more information regarding Liz Nugent (@lizzienugent) please visit www.liznugent.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

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I am a huge fan of Liz Nugent and I was delighted to get the opportunity to read her newest book Strange Sally Diamond. This was of the most gripping and disturbing books I have ever read. I read it over the course of a day as I simply couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to read more from the author in the future.

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This was a fascinating book, unlike anything I’ve ever read before. It was refreshing to read such a unique book with a brilliant protagonist with a voice that was clear and developed. I think the author hit the nail on the head with the personality and it was easy to imagine what Sally was like.

The writing, however, could get monotonous. Although it fitted the protagonist’s personality and manner, it made the book a little harder to get through.

Unfortunately, despite the things I loved, it got too dark for me. This is no reflection on the book itself. I just wasn’t personally able to make it to the end, as it made me too uncomfortable. However, I also think this could be a positive for some people, as it was so realistic and in depth. Especially people who like their fiction dark.

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and publisher, for a chance to read and review this book.

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A fast paced intruiging read, I read it very quickly over a couple of nights.
I have read a couple of Liz Nugents books and this was the most disturbing, it’s not a light hearted read and covers a difficult subject matter.
I have been thinking about Strange Sally Diamond long after finishing the book.

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Sally Diamond does not understand why people are making a big deal out of her following her father’s instructions of putting him out with the bins when he died. Why would he say it if she wasn’t supposed to do it? From the blurb, we know that Sally’s actions lead to a police investigation and media coverage, leading to revelations that Sally was unprepared for. 

As we’ve come to expect from Nugent, Strange Sally Diamond questions whether the horrible and disturbing things people do result from nature or nurture. These questions are never fully answered because there are no easy explanations for why people do ‘monstrous’ things. As I read, I kept thinking about Dr Gwen Adshead’s excellent non-fiction book The Devil You Know: Encounters in Forensic Psychiatry, co-written with Eileen Horne, which is a nuanced look at why people commit certain crimes. 

I desperately wanted everything to turn out okay for Sally. This is Liz Nugent, so I wasn’t expecting everything to end wrapped in a pretty bow. The position Sally found herself in at the end felt realistic to me, given everything that happened. 

Two aspects of the story kept pulling me out of the narrative. One is easier than the other to discuss without giving too much of the plot away. Sally’s asexuality is presented as being solely due to the trauma she has experienced. It is possible to be asexual and have experienced trauma, just as it is possible to be straight or bisexual and have experienced trauma. My issue is that Sally’s asexuality defaults to the asexuality = a trauma response trope that, while I do not think was Nugent’s intention, fails to see asexuality as a sexuality in its own right. 

The other major stumbling block for me, and forgive me for being vague here, are the circumstances of how Sally ends up living where she does. More than once, I thought, ‘In 1980s Ireland, really?!’ I get that these events and the actions of people making that decision are supposed to be unprecedented and unorthodox, but I could not shake the shadow of Ireland’s long history of institutionalisation. 

But it’s fiction; I can hear you saying! Just because it is set in Ireland doesn’t mean it completely matches our reality. I get that, and I accept that this reaction says more about me than Nugent’s storytelling abilities. But the present-day section mentions the pandemic, adding to my confusion and frustration. In my review of Cursed Bread by Sophie Mackintosh, I said that I didn’t know why the book affected me to the extent it did, allowing me to overlook things that ordinarily may give me pause. I equally do not understand why I got so hung up on this part of Strange Sally Diamond and couldn’t move past it. 

While this isn’t my favourite of Nugent’s novels, Strange Sally Diamond is a compelling and intensely disturbing psychological thriller examing the lasting impact of trauma. I read it in a couple of sittings, so if you are looking for a page-turner, Strange Sally Diamond is worth picking up.

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I wasn't at all sure about the extremely unconventional, quirky storyline at first. So glad I persisted with it. A hugely enjoyable read.

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Thank you Penguin and Netgalley for this ARC

Smashed it out of the park again! This is my second book by Liz and she's done it again.

An amazing read, I was so hooked into this book my husband actually took my Kindle away from me so I could sleep.

Absolutely brilliant - more more more please!

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Everyone has been talking about this book - and rightfully so! The main character is brilliant and the book gave me Eleanor Oliphant vibes (one of my favourite books) I loved the literal straightforward thinking of Sally and thought her character was brilliantly written. The twists and turns in the story kept me guessing and made it hard to put down. Another triumph of a book from Liz Nugent.

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I stayed up until 3 in the morning reading this, woke up at 5:30 and got up to finish it (sleeping on a mattress on the floor might have been a small part of it...). So, pretty unputdownable.

Liz Nugent smashes it again. There's not much you can say about this one without spoiling anything. Sally Diamond is an outcast.. After the death of her father, she gets pulled into the limelight, with community, media, and Gardaí attention. Sally is forced to look at her life, her family, and her past from a different angle.

I was gripped, and barely blinked just wanting to find out what happened next. Nugent really is queen of writing psychological dramas.

Is it Liz Nugent's best book? Yes...but also will that opinion change if I remember another on of her books? Probably.

One of the best books of the year, and absolutely worth picking up and clearing your schedule.

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The premise of this book is what drew me in. Sally, following her father's humorous instruction to "throw him out with the bins" when he died, introverted and private Sally draws attention to herself.

Some of the Sally's awkwardness can seem comical and put me in mind of Eleanor Oliphant at first. But don't mistake this book as a light hearted tale of a person at odds with society's norms. This is a dark story, growing progressively more disturbing as we uncover the reasons that make Sally the way she is and the impact that those things have had on others.

This is a compelling read and is an excellent choice for a book club.

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