by Candice Carty-Williams


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“[B]rilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” —Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

For fans of Luster and I May Destroy You, a disarmingly honest, unapologetically black, and undeniably witty debut novel that will speak to those who have gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.

Queenie Jenkins is a twenty-five-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 break up 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.

With “fresh and honest” (Jojo Moyes) prose, Queenie is a remarkably relatable exploration of what it means to be a modern woman searching for meaning in today’s world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Brilliant, timely, funny, heartbreaking.” –Jojo Moyes, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You

"A must-read novel about sex, selfhood, and the best friendships that get us through it all." —Candace Bushnell, bestselling author and creator of Sex and the City

"A book that sneaks up on you... I am hooked." –Roxane Gay, New York Times bestselling author of Bad Feminist, via Twitter

"Candice Carty-Williams delivers a hilarious roller coaster of a story." –US Weekly

"[A] brazenly hilarious, tell-it-like-it-is first novel." O, The Oprah Magazine

"Vibrant, confused and honest, Queenie is a relatable heroine for modern times." –USA Today

"You'll likely feel seen while reading this (yes, it's that relatable), an example of what happens when you go looking for love and find something else instead." –PopSugar

"Candice Carty-Williams, a young Londoner, has a flair for story-telling that appears effortlessly authentic. Her title character is a woman you both know and cannot forget... Carty-Williams has taken a black woman’s story and made it a story of the age." TIME Magazine

“The vibrant Queenie is a modern-day Bridget Jones's Diary, and so much more... [Carty-Williams’] debut reads a lot like its smart, sensitive protagonist: full of flaws and contradictions, and urgently, refreshingly real.” Entertainment Weekly

"[A] hilarious, heart-shattering, deeply lovable novel... Debut author Candice Carty-Williams has created a truly one-of-a-kind heroine in Queenie, whose story is universally relatable without ever flinching in the face of challenging subjects that are more important now than ever. All hail Queenie." –Newsday

"You’ll read Queenie, a novel about a young Jamaican British woman trying to find her place in London, in one day. It’s that good." Hello Giggles

"Meet Queenie Jenkins, a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman who works for a London newspaper, is struggling to fit in, is dealing with a breakup, and is making all kinds of questionable decisions. In other words, she's highly relatable. A must read for '19." Woman's Day

“My favorite novel this year. Queenie is the sort of novel you just can’t stop talking about and want everyone you know to read. Snort your tea out funny one moment and utterly heart breaking the next, (and with the best cast of characters you’ll read all year), I absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to read whatever Candice writes next. If there is anything right in the world, Candice Carty-Williams is going to be a literary superstar.” –AJ Pearce, author of Dear Mrs. Bird

"Queenie is the best mate we all want—funny, sharp, and more than a little vulnerable. I loved climbing inside her mind and wish I could have stayed longer. I adored this novel." –Stacey Halls, author of The Familiars

"Hilarious and off the wall and tender." –Nikesh Shukla, author of The One Who Wrote Destiny

"Candice Carty-Williams is a fantastic new writer who has written a deliciously funny, characterful, topical, and thrilling novel for our times." –Bernardine Evaristo, author of Mr. Loverman

“I ate up Queenie in one greedy, joyous gulp. What a treat of a book. Lots to enjoy and think about. I loved Queenie and was cheering her on all the way. I thought all the mental health stuff was brilliant and so well done and authentic—it so often isn’t, in novels—and also all the unhappy sex rang so true. Is there a sequel planned? All I wanted to do when I finished was to open book two.” –Cathy Rentzenbrink, bestselling author of The Last Act of Love

"Queenie has all the things you want in a debut novel—a startlingly fresh voice, characters you fall in love with from the very first page, and a joyous turn of phrase that makes this book almost impossible to put down. In turns hilariously funny and quietly devastating, Queenie is an important, timely story." –Louise O'Neill, bestselling author of Asking for It

"A really special book with much to say about black female identity, sexual politics, group chats, emotional becoming in a way that feels totally unforced. Filthy, funny, and profound." Sharlene Teo, award-winning author of Ponti

“This book isn't even out yet and people are talking about it. Written by a new and exciting young woman, it's articulate, brave and, in the new parlance, 'woke.' Funny, wise, and of the moment, this book and this writer are the ones to watch.” –Kit de Waal, author of My Name is Leon

“Candice gives so generously with her joy, pain and humour that we cannot help but become fully immersed in the life of Queenie—a beautiful and compelling book.” –Afua Hirsch, author of Brit(ish)

"So raw and well-written and painfully relatable. It's also clever and funny and has the most glorious cover." –Ruth Ware, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in Cabin 10

"The protagonist of this debut novel has been dubbed the 'black Bridget Jones' and comes from England buoyed by praise from Jojo Moyes. Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican-British woman, a newspaper reporter in London, forced to re-evaluate her life choices after a bad breakup with her white boyfriend. A trio of girlfriends offers support via text messages; we can’t wait to meet them all." Newsday

“Adorable, funny, heartbreaking. People are going to love it.” –Nina Stibbe, author of Love, Nina

"An irresistible portrait of a young Jamaican-British woman living in London that grows deeper as it goes." —Entertainment Weekly (ew.com)

"Sometimes achingly sad, at other times laugh-out-loud funny, Queenie is a welcome debut from a seriously talented author." The New York Post

"Carty-Williams creates an utterly knowable character in Queenie, who's as dimensional and relatable as they come as she tries to balance her own desires with what everyone else seems to want for her... This smart, funny, and tender debut embraces a modern woman's messiness." Booklist (starred review)

“With resonant reflections on race, relationships, sex and friendships, Queenie is a terrific debut that’s delivered with a touch of British humor and plenty of feel-good moments.” –Bookpage (starred review)

Publishers Weekly

★ 01/28/2019

Carty-Williams’s smart, fearless debut follows Queenie Jenkins, a Jamaican-British woman, after her longtime white boyfriend, Tom, asks for a “break.” Queenie’s impulsive behavior (promiscuity; distancing herself from friends) begins to unearth memories of childhood abuse, causing her to make more bad choices in an effort to alleviate her pain. When her career as a newspaper reporter begins to suffer and she’s issued her final warning before being fired, she decides to confront her demons head on. To emerge from her crisis, Queenie begins psychotherapy, much to the consternation of her grandmother, who sees Queenie’s mental health issues as a weakness she need only be strong to overcome. The result is a novel that stares directly into the pitfalls of being black in white spaces and (through flashbacks with Tom) the challenges of interracial relationships. Carty-Williams doesn’t shy from the messiness of sexual relationships, racial justice issues such as police brutality, or Queenie’s promiscuity, and the narrative is all the more effective for its boldness. This is an essential depiction of life as a black woman in the modern world, told in a way that makes Queenie dynamic and memorable. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider/ICM Partners. (Mar.)

Library Journal


DEBUT This long-awaited first novel from Carty-Williams presents an updated take on Bridget Jones's Diary with the story of 25-year-old newspaper editor Queenie Jenkins and her Jamaican British family. In the midst of a prolonged breakup with boyfriend Tom, Queenie experiences a miscarriage and begins to feel adrift. Carty-Williams creates a fast-paced narrative in the form of texts between Queenie and close friends Kyazike, Darcy, and Cassandra. Interspersed are chapters set in both the past and the present, focusing on the beginnings of Queenie's unstable dating history, particularly being fetishized for her ethnicity, along with her evolving relationship with Tom and the racism she experiences from his family. The author takes care when including flashbacks to Queenie's difficult childhood and current efforts to incorporate social justice work into her life, and she is at her best when describing the stigma of mental health within black communities, especially as Queenie's grandparents question her decision to see a therapist. Yet we never fully understand Queenie's yearnings for Tom or why she feels continually drawn to him, and the Daniel Cleaver-inspired character, Ted, could have been better fleshed out. VERDICT Overall, a charming read for fans of women's fiction; Carty-Williams sets herself apart with her relatable and poignant writing. [See Prepub Alert, 10/1/18.]—Stephanie Sendaula, Library Journal

Kirkus Reviews

★ 2018-11-12

The life and loves of Queenie Jenkins, a vibrant, troubled 25-year-old Jamaican Brit who is not having a very good year.

" 'My last girlfriend was black.' I looked at my date and blinked, sure I'd misheard him. 'Sorry?' I asked, leaning across the table." But indeed, that's what he said. Just as she heard correctly when "Balding Alpha," a guy she dates later in her annus horribilus, licks her shoulder and comments, "Tastes like chocolate." Queenie's attempts to get over Tom, the long-term white boyfriend who dumps her at the beginning of Carty-Williams' debut novel, send her stumbling through a mined landscape of interracial dating and friendship, including the occasional white stranger who reaches to fondle her hair as if in a petting zoo. Terrified by the continual news of violence from the United States, Queenie is trying to get the paper she works for in London to cover important issues—"I'd wanted this job so that I could be a force for change"—but her editor responds to her pitches by suggesting a piece on "ten of the best black dresses Me Too movement supporters have worn at awards ceremonies." After all, it's the holiday season, and what people are really thinking about is party dresses! Queenie's main supporters are the three girlfriends who make up a texting group called The Corgis (a reference to the queen's loyal pack of pooches), but one of these relationships is about to detonate due to our heroine's wildly indiscriminate sexual choices, choices that keep her running in and out of the health clinic on a biweekly basis. At least she'll always be able to fall back on the judgmental embrace and reliable hot water of her ultratraditional Jamaican grandparents. Why she ever fell for that drip Tom and why she still loves him so much are never at all clear, but perhaps that's how these things go.

A black Bridget Jones, perfectly of the moment.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501196027
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publication date: 11/05/2019
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 9,793
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews