I finally got round to reading Queenie and I truly loved it. I got through it pretty quickly as I found it to be such a page turner. I’ve been meaning to read it for so long and it truly did not disappoint. If you want to hear some of my thoughts on the book, check it out below. There will be some spoilers in this review!
Candice Carty-Williams novel follows Queenie, a woman in her mid-twenties navigating her way through her career, relationship issues, and her mental health. The book is set in London and has some brilliant characters with memorable personalities and quirks.
The friendships are one of my favourite aspects of Queenie. They are such nuanced and wonderful friendships and the way Queenie herself describes her individual relationships with each of the women is wonderful. At the start, the group consists of Kyazike, Darcy and Cassandra – lovingly referred to as The Corgis (after the Queen and her three corgis). Cassandra turns out to be a terrible friend (I feel like she is lowkey redeemed at the end but what she did is not so easy to forgive in my opinion) but the other two are absolute gems. They are super different people but both wonderful friends to Queenie. She describes all of them as her best friends and there are a couple of great moments where she explains how each friendship offers something different which is something so rarely spoken about! I think it’s a great point and is really well portrayed here.
Kyazike and Darcy were probably my favourite characters in the book. They had Queenie’s back no matter what and gave her both tough and soft love when needed. The scenes between Queenie and Kyazike were always so quietly heartfelt and made me smile – Kyazike’s humour was brilliant and she was powerfully loyal. Darcy was always super supportive of Queenie but called her out for some bad decisions she made.
The family dynamics were also brilliant in this book. Diana, Queenie’s niece, was a real highlight – she was fantastically sharp and snappy with her retorts and whilst she often sarcastically made fun of her auntie she was also very much there for her. You could tell she was proud to have Queenie in her life. Her grandparents were also fantastic characters. I could truly read a whole book on most of the characters featured here!
My other favourite part of this story was the mental health representation. It felt super well explained and fleshed out. It wasn’t half-heartedly portrayed or added as a side plot. We saw Queenie deteriorate and improve throughout the novel – though her journey was not linear as I may have made this sound. We saw various destructive coping mechanisms and her journey to learning to use other, new ones which were helpful and not damaging. Her experience of therapy was also fantastically portrayed. I don’t think I’ve ever read therapy written in such a way. I find it hard to say any portrayal of mental health or therapy is ‘realistic’ as everyone has such different experiences but this was definitely very relatable and many aspects of the mental health issues explored I have indeed experienced in some way. It’s definitely a fantastic portrayal!
There are many toxic relationships explored in this book, particularly between Queenie and various men. The way they treat her is awful and some of the scenes can be so difficult to read. There is some past trauma of Queenie’s brought up too and, if you are triggered by certain themes, I think it’s good to be aware before reading this book that the story does describe toxic relationships and abuse.
I highly recommend this book! Candice Carty-Williams is a truly wonderful writer and I cannot wait for any books she may write in the future!