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Pub Date 25 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 02 May 2023
Zando Projects, Get Lifted Books

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A deliciously gritty and strikingly bold debut novel about discovering love where it has always been.

Elsie is a sexy, funny, and fiercely independent woman in South London. But, at just 28, she is also tired. Though she spends her days writing tender poetry in her journal, her nights are spent working long hours for minimum wage at a neighborhood dive bar. Not even sleeping with her alluring coworker, Bea, can quell her existential dread. The difficulty of being estranged from her family, struggle of being continually rejected from jobs, and fear of never making money doing what she loves, is too great. But Elsie is determined to keep the faith, for a little longer at least. Things will surely turn around. They have to.

But when Elsie is suddenly evicted from her social housing, her fragile foundations threaten to collapse entirely. With nowhere left to go, Elsie turns to her childhood friend, Juliet, for help.

Among Juliet’s mismatched cushions and shelves lined with trinkets, Elsie is able to breathe for the first time in years. But between their reruns of Drag Race and nights smoking on the balcony, something else soon begins to glimmer in Elsie’s heart . . .

Sometimes what you’ve been searching for has been there all along. Can Elsie see it in time?

Featuring the incredible poetry of Kai-Isaiah Jamal, Rosewater is a story of intergenerational love, healing, and one woman’s journey home.

A deliciously gritty and strikingly bold debut novel about discovering love where it has always been.

Elsie is a sexy, funny, and fiercely independent woman in South London. But, at just 28, she is...

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ISBN 9781638930228
PRICE $27.00 (USD)

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Average rating from 67 members

Featured Reviews

This book really surprised me. It’s definitely slower paced compared to the books I normally gravitate towards, but I really enjoyed it.

I thought the author wrote the characters so well. They all had such distinct personalities that I felt like I really knew them. The growth of the MC was written so well, and so realistically - which I loved.

The last quarter of the book took a turn that I wasn’t expecting but left me with teary eyes and a happy heart.

I will be keeping my eyes peeled for more from Liv Little for sure!

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4.25 stars
I ran through this book, it was so captivating. A great debut by Liv Little. Little did a great job at making a protagonist that is selfish, flighty, and uncommunicative but that has us still rooting for her. I enjoyed many of the side characters. I liked Elsie’s dynamic with Bea, Maggie and Juliet even when she didn’t at times. The stages in the relationships she’s in with Bea and Juliet are realistic and necessary for Elsie’s self growth. I think people are gonna enjoy this messy 28 year old woman trying to get her shit together and figure out her feelings. I was pleasantly surprised by the casual addition of Juliet’s camming job. The ending had me at the edge of my seat. I was in my emotions. I couldn’t get through it fast enough.

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I absolutely adored Rosewater! There’s certainly more than meets the eye with Liv Little’s debut novel and there are some unexpected turns that will have you experiencing all the emotions.

Rosewater is a gorgeously written queer love story. Throughout Rosewater, protagonist Elsie learns to confront her feelings, rather than running away from them, and allows herself to be vulnerable. Although Elsie begins the novel thinking her life is a mess than is beyond repair, she slowly picks herself up again and starts to heal. Little sensitively, and powerfully, explores many topics throughout the book, including race, sexuality, strained relationships with family, the importance of community and the power of art.

Utterly captivating and incredibly emotional, Liv Little’s debut novel is an absolute must read!

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I received this book as an arc from Netgalley.

This book follows Elsie being evicted from her apartment. She moves in with her best friend and the book continues from there. This book is a clear example of finding love where it has always been. It explores family and the relationships Elise has. Also, Elsie deals with self-sabotage and how it can develop within herself. This book just shows how life can be messy and how people constantly have to adapt to their circumstances. It was just interesting to see where this book would go. I think I would check out the audiobook because there are Elsie's poems and I want to hear how they would be performed. I really appreciated the Guyanese dialect and the descriptions of food were just amazing. I feel like my review does not fully capture my feelings about the book but I would recommend this to a specific group of people.

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This might be the best book I’ve ever read. I loved it. I loved the characters, their spirit, their trials. I wanted to dive in and be a part of their group. I wanted to support them and lift them up. I never wanted it to end.

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I really loved this look at Elsie, a queer Black woman in London trying to find her way in life with no support from her biological family. I say biological, because her found family, mostly her best friend since childhood, Juliet, offer so much love and support to Elsie. This felt like such an honest look at what people sacrifice and experience in the pursuit of art and their dreams, especially when they don't come from money and don't have a fallback option. The portrayal of the Black poetry scene and Black queer scene in London felt so real and sadly relevant as gentrification continues to wipe out small safe spaces for queer people of color in a lot of major cities.

Above all, this is a warm hug of a book. It's about Elsie coming into her own, realizing she is capable of love, and hoping that her dreams finally start to come to fruition. I couldn't put it down, and I highly recommend.

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Great debut novel set in London about the life of a 20-something gay poet with Guyanese background. Gritty and real in its depiction of some of the difficult challenges of being gay. Raw with emotion - the good times and bad. Great read. Thank you to #netgalley and publisher for the opportunity to review.

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I am also a 28-year-old who is tired and trying to navigate adulthood. This was beautifully written and so tender. Add it to the list of sad girl books that help you feel less alone in your struggles.

I don't think I agree with the Such a Fun Age comp.

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Thank you NetGalley for giving me one more opportunity.
I don’t even know what to say, it’s queer, it’s messy, it’s sad, it’s lovely. I absolutely love this and words can’t describe how I couldn’t put it down. If I didn’t have responsibilities in my life I would’ve absolutely downed this at once. So far one of my favorite reads of the year and I cannot wait to recommend this!

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In Liv Little’s debut novel Rosewater we first meet Elise, after a drunken night with her co-worker Bea, she wakes up to two policemen knocking on her door, telling her she will be evicted from her apartment in the next hour. Elise does not know what to do, especially with Bea being there- a co-worker she hooks up with but doesn’t really know that well. With no one else to turn to, she calls her friend Juliet who she hasn’t spoken to in over a year to ask if she can stay by her until she sorts herself out. Juilet agrees, but there is still that conversation that needs to be had between them.

Elise goes through so many emotions, being 28, jobless, starving poet, living in her best friend’s apartment, little to no money, barely any contact with her family, except for her grandmother- all while trying to see if she wants Bea as more than a hook up. She tries to not be a failure but cannot help but feel like she will never make it in life, especially when she compares herself to Juilet.
This time the marketing department did not lie, if you did enjoy QUEENIE I think you will absolutely enjoy Rosewater. Yes, Elise reads way more mature than Queenie but both are going through the growing pain of finding themselves in the world. I love how relatable Elise was, as a Black woman in London, who cant seem to catch a break, who wants to be the next poet, it is great getting a look into the reality of what can happen.

I did feel like the author tried to cover a lot of different themes and some I felt got glossed over. The family bit, with the father cheating and who he cheated with- that felt a bit unnecessary because it did nothing to move the plot along. I also felt like the book dragged a bit in the middle and sprinted in the end and I wish they had taken more time to give us a slower ending.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable debut novel.

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I highlighted this book on my Booktube channel. The video can be accessed here:

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Rosewater by Liv Little

Published: April 25, 2023
Get Lifted Books
Genre: Romance
Pages: 317
KKECReads Rating: 4/5
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.

Liv Little is a writer of Jamaican and Guyanese descent via South London. She’s the founder and former CEO of the awardwinning publication gal-dem. Liv tells stories with heart about the people and places that matter to her. Her work spans journalism, audio, TV, and curatorial projects, for which she’s received various accolades, including LGBTQI+ Broadcaster of the Year and Rising Star at WOW. Her short story “The Sisters” was published in the critically acclaimed Hag, a collection of forgotten folktales retold. She was a BBC writer-in-residence for 2021, during which she developed an original pilot for a queer conspiracy thriller. Liv is most at peace in nature, and she now lives by the sea. Rosewater is her debut novel.

“The rose to my water. The water to my rose.”

Elsie is struggling. She has just been evicted, has more debt than she can handle, and her job closed down. She is a dreamer with a heart she protects at all costs. She is just looking for a break.

This was an unconventional love story and a journey to determine what you want. The trip was emotional and, at times, messy, but it was authentic.

The characters in this book were well-developed, and their roles were influential. Elsie transformed throughout this book from someone who was lost and afraid to someone who knows what she wants and refuses to quit.

I appreciate that Elsie’s journey was not a happily ever after. The struggles she faces feel real. And I loved that her wins were genuine and deep.

This was a beautiful story about unity, security, and love.

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