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Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Contemporary fiction

Queenie

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Candice Carty-Williams, on your first book!

by Candice Carty-Williams

Quick take

Good friends, bad breakups, and life as a Jamaican-British millennial.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance

    Romance

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Feminist

    Feminist

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

  • Illustrated icon, Icons_Buzzy

    Buzzy

Jojo Moyes is the author of Still Me.

Why I love it

Jojo Moyes
Author, Still Me

I have to confess I have a prior interest in Queenie’s author, Candice Carty-Williams. A few years ago, I created a competition offering up my cottage to an aspiring writer in need of time and space to complete their project. Candice was the first winner, chosen from more than 600 applicants. She had never driven outside London before, and it took her six hours to make a two hour journey (the kind of thing that would happen to her character, Queenie!), but when she arrived she declined a cup of tea and went straight to work—she was that determined to make the most out of the opportunity.

Fast forward two and a half years; Queenie is one of the most anticipated books of the year. It grabbed me from the opening chapter because it did something that happens far too seldom—it took me into a world I didn’t know: that of a 25 year-old black woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. Queenie is fresh and flawed and she made me wince and made me laugh and made me think.

Candice is a unique writer. Even that 500-word contest entry told me there was something special about her. After re-reading the finished work I knew I had been right. I’m excited to see Queenie meet a wider audience, and to see Candice’s star really shine. We need more voices like hers.

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Synopsis

Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy breakup from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places ... including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.

As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Queenie.

Member thoughts

All (5250)
All (5250)
Love (1986)
Like (2453)
Dislike (811)
5374 ratings
  • 37% Love
  • 46% Like
  • 15% Dislike
  • New York, NY

    It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book this un-put-downable. It’s only March, but I can already tell it’s going to be one of my top books of 2019. We are all Queenie, and I loved knowing her.

  • Quincy, MA

    A cross between Americanah and Bridget Jones’s Diary—at turns dark and funny. Queenie is such a wonderfully complicated, yet relatable character. Deals with themes of trauma, mental health and family.

  • Spartanburg, SC

    It’s been a while since I related to a protagonist with my whole heart. Queenie’s journey back into her best life is so inspiring because she makes it happen herself, with some help. Wonderful read.

  • Coconut Grove, FL

    Carty-Williams addressed mental health, trauma, dating as a millennial, family drama, and black lives matters flawlessly. Honest, raw, and relatable. In many ways, Queenie’s journey made me feel seen.

  • New York, NY

    I really enjoyed this book. The characters and the way it’s presented made you feel like this could be happening in your own friend group. It was emotional at times, but I felt tied to Queenie always.

  • Rye, NY

    Despite some dark and tragic themes in this book, Queenie left me feeling uplifted. She’s a funny and relatable protagonist/narrator and the dialogue and setting are very relevant and contemporary.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    It’s not a requirement for me to relate to the main characters of books so long as they compel me. Well, Queenie Jenkins was a compelling character I related to intensely! Stunning book all around <3

  • Cedar City, UT

    Everyone NEEDS to read this book! It’s extremely important and tells about the black experience through a black woman’s persepctive. Queenie will make you think hard, laugh and yes cry! Read this!

  • Oak Harbor, WA

    While reading this book I laughed, felt frustrated at times, cried, and inspired by Queenie’s strength. I wish I read this sooner. Such a beautiful story about overcoming rough patches in our lives.

  • Dayton, OH

    Roxane Gay said this is a book where the excellence sneaks up on you. I couldn’t state it better myself. The book brought up difficult & uncomfortable truths about racism & stigmas of mental health.

  • ASTORIA, NY

    Queenie is such a complicated character. Her story gave me insight into the life of an insecure woman dealing with childhood abuse and how that impacts her daily life and relationships. Her hardship

  • New Orleans, LA

    I didn't know I needed this book, until I realized that at some point in my life, I was Queenie. Such a strong story that everyone needs to read to understand the challenges that all black women face.

  • Colonie , NY

    I devoured this book! To me, the best part was getting to know Queenie, a funny, strong and real character. Her journey through the book made for compulsive and sometimes very sad reading. I loved it.

  • Fredericksburg, VA

    A strong female at a very vulnerable time in her life. The book emphasizes on support systems, when is it time to get professional help, and letting go. Heartbreaking and cathartic at the same time.

  • New York , NY

    There is nothing bad I can say about this novel. Queenie is like my best friend, she's my sister, & she's me. I related a lot to this character in some way. Thanks to Candice for creating someone real

  • Omaha, NE

    Ever wish you could reach into a book and hug a character? I wanted to hug Queenie so badly. Loved the writing style. Perfect mesh of humor and pain, like real life! Cannot wait for the TV adaptation.

  • Colville, WA

    Not going to lie, this was a tough book to read. Issues surrounding mental health and the character's struggle through them. This was an important book to read and face some of life's tougher moments.

  • Chicago, IL

    I loved this book so much, Carty-Williams has written a book so real that you swear you know Queenie. This is definitely a tear jerker, but there are still many light hearted moments as well. Read it!

  • Denver, CO

    Very true experiences of how struggles in life can bring you down and make you not feel like you are enough compared to others. Great story line and plot to prove that there is a way to overcome them

  • Washington, DC

    Queenie's actions made me want to shake her, but they allowed me to take a step back & realize we all have moments where we can learn & grow from. Queenie's strength made me love the book so much more

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