Earlier today, Bookish debuted Kelly’s Pick, a new feature to help you and your book club decide what to read next—including exclusive materials hand-curated by the Bookish team! We’re thrilled to announce the inaugural Kelly’s Pick: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. This is one of the season’s buzziest titles, and we think it’ll add some spark to your next book club meeting. Here’s a sneak peek at what the book is about, why Kelly picked it, the goodies you’ll get in the book club kit, and how you can start reading even before it hits shelves.
What it’s about
The official synopsis
Here’s a look at the official synopsis of Queenie from Scout Press:
Bridget Jones’s Diary meets Americanah in this disarmingly honest, boldly political, and truly inclusive novel that will speak to anyone who has gone looking for love and found something very different in its place.
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 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.
The Bookish take
Don’t be fooled by the rom-com comparisons: U.K. author Candice Carty-Williams’ debut is darker than the bright orange cover would lead you to believe. Queenie’s realization that her life isn’t going according to plan leads her into a dangerous downward spiral. Her passion for journalism, particularly reporting on movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, isn’t encouraged at work. Her boyfriend turned their break into a break up. And her mother… well, Queenie doesn’t like to think about her mother. But when Queenie realizes it’s time to confront the issues she’s been running from, she starts a journey towards healing and self-acceptance.
Why Kelly picked it
When Kelly brought the Bookish team together to talk about this spring’s selection, she decided that the most important factor in a pick would be a good discussion. It’s great if everyone enjoys the book, but it’s even better if everyone has something to say about it.
Queenie is a book that offered a wide range of topics to cover, and as an all-female book club we were eager to dig deeper into Queenie’s experiences with the men in her life, her relationship with her own mother, and her connections to her friends.
As a character, Queenie doesn’t trust easily. The story slowly reveals the reasons for this. During our discussion, we explored why Carty-Williams used this technique and how it impacted our understanding of Queenie’s thoughts and actions throughout the novel.
Queenie also has a valuable and unique focus on many current issues that we believe are important to see in books. This includes women’s health care, sexism in the workplace, and the ways casual racism impacts every part of a person’s life.
This book sparked an intense and lively meeting for our team, and we know it’ll do the same for your book club. Plus, what better way to debut Kelly’s Pick than with a debut author!
Who will enjoy Queenie?
Queenie is a great pick for readers who are looking for novels that discuss race, mental health, and relationships. Your club will find lots to talk about regarding Queenie’s friendships, her “break” from her boyfriend, and the challenges of navigating adulthood. Queenie’s journey to find herself takes readers to some dark places, while still offering moments of levity. If your group likes deep discussions about modern issues faced by women of color, this is the pick for you.
What you’ll get in Kelly’s Pick book club kit
Our coverage of each Kelly’s Pick will include exclusive materials for your book club to use. We’ll have everything from a discussion guide to a fun quiz, food and drink recipes to a themed-playlist. Consider Kelly’s Pick your one-stop shop for a Queenie book club meeting!
How you can get an early copy
(and the chance to interview the author)
Queenie hits shelves on March 19, but we’re giving you a first look! Visit BookishFirst.com to read an excerpt of Queenie, and enter the raffle for your chance to win the full book! After you read the excerpt, just give a quick first impression of the book and you’ll be entered to win one of 20 advanced reading copies. Raffle winners will also get the opportunity to submit questions for our interview with author Candice Carty-Williams!
Who’s the author?
Candice Carty-Williams is a senior marketing executive at Vintage. In 2016, she created and launched the Guardian and 4th Estate BAME Short Story Prize, which aims to find, champion, and celebrate underrepresented writers. She contributes regularly to i-D, Refinery29, BEAT Magazine, and more, and her pieces, especially those about blackness, sex, and identity, have been shared globally. Queenie is her first novel. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.
Content warnings to be aware of before reading
Not every book is right for every reader, and some books contain potentially triggering content. Here we’ve listed some of the prominent themes and topics in Queenie that readers may want to be aware of before deciding to read.
Reader beware: Spoilers ahead
Queenie contains racism, sexual violence, a miscarriage, child abuse, and struggles with mental health (including depression and anxiety).