In One Word

In One Word, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is…


  • Published in 2019 by Orion Publishing
  • Format: Audiobook
    • Narrator: Shvorne Marks
    • Listening Speed: 1x
  • Listening time: 4 emotional days


  • Heard lots of good things about this book and, since it has a pink cover, this is an excellent candidate for the Golden Trio Reading Challenge.
  • Easily see where most of the plot points are going to go. Queenie’s life is on very uneasy footing: her boyfriend wants ‘a break’ after a long rough patch, she gets no appreciation from her unpredictable boss, she gets a very shocking revelation from her doctor at the start of the book and she struggles with catastrophically low self worth all the way through the novel. Some parts of the story will genuinely take you by surprise but anyone familiar with rom-com or comedy tropes will see some things coming a mile off. Yet, predictability didn’t diminish the story at all. If anything, the slowly unfolding disasters were disturbingly engrossing like watching a slow trainwreck and I wasn’t at all irritated when things turned out exactly how I thought they would.  It’s a sign of a well-written story when it manages to make me not hate tropes I usually despise.
  • Amazing main character. Queenie is undeniably flawed but also undeniably lovable. If it was any other character, I would want to reach through the page and strangle them for getting into those obviously terrible situations but, in the case of Queenie, you know full well why she’s doing this to herself and it really tugs at the heartstrings.
  • Racism is dealt with very thoroughly and not just the blatant racism spoken by a backwards uncle at a party but the indirect sort that even the most well-meaning white person seem unable to stop themselves uttering and the internalised sort that leaves Queenie feeling she’s too much of one thing, not enough of another and never good enough for anything. The book also does a good job of showing black people turning against each other for acting ‘too white’ and penalising them for being successful.
  • Though I’ve only watched one Bridget Jones film, it does feel sort of like Bridget Jones in that bad luck seems to follow Queenie everywhere and, just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, it does. If the author chose, they could have made it completely comical but instead tinges each of them with tragedy. Tragedy is comedy plus time and the author gives it that time to feel the consequences of each new outlandishly unlikely humiliation.
  • Well, I think we all need friends like Darcy and Kyazike in our lives. One to provide a warm, nurturing base of support and another to make us laugh ourselves silly and both will always have your back.
  • Rather surprised at the way the budding romance went. I was sure we were gearing up towards a sweet new relationship as the old one falls apart but it went in a drastically different direction than I was expecting.
  • Explicit sex scenes and some get very disturbing but there’s nothing non-consensual. Just things Queenie only agrees to because her self esteem is at rock bottom.
  • Nearly all of the characters get some good development. Some even get some negative character development. First impressions are always deceiving and so can fifth impressions.
  • Capable of showing how anxiety and mental illness ruins one’s life extremely well, along with the stigma surrounding getting the help you need. Especially within Queenie’s family, who see therapy as ‘shame on the family name’ and who, though they clearly care for her, don’t exactly provide a warm safe space needed for healing.
  • Horrific, vivid depictions of emotional abuse. When that part came along, it almost made me furious and physically sick that she had to go through that.
  • I am very pleased that one of the nicest characters in the book is a Northerner, especially after all the incredibly unpleasantly Londeners we come across.
  • Nice to see the author showing that the road to recovery is not a smooth one but with several bumps and it takes the smallest thing to destroy all the progress made.
  • Going for not a complete fairytale ending but it’s a nice one nonetheless. I’ve grown incredibly attached to Queenie and I’m just glad she’s come out alright. Not okay but, as we know, not being okay is totally okay.

Goodreads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Did you agree with my rating? Can you think of a better word to describe it? Please let me know with a like, share or comment.

3 thoughts on “In One Word, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams is…”

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