Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old black woman living in London and working on the cultural desk of a national newspaper. She has a loyal bunch of friends (‘The Corgis’) but feels lonely because she’s currently in the middle of a trial separation with her boyfriend, Tom, who is refusing to answer any of her texts. She tries to block out the emptiness she is feeling by hooking up with sundry men but the sexual encounters she has are unfulfilling at best, and abusive at worst. She also has to move into accommodation that is just a few notches above dilapidated, and her professional life begins to suffer, particularly when someone working in the same building begins to hit on her. It may sound like Candice Carty-Williams’ debut novel is heavy going, but while she does deal with everything from racism to gentrification to therapy, as well as whole swathes of familial matters, Queenie is an engaging narrator throughout and a real hero to root for.