In brief: Dimple knew she had half-siblings; she just didn’t really hang around with them until she really needed them in a crisis. Now they are part of each other’s lives, like it not.
The good: Fantastic portrayal of siblings and a wayward father.
The not-so-good: Dimple isn’t always that likeable.
Why I chose it: Adored Queenie. Thanks to Hachette for the copy.
Publisher: Trapeze (Hachette)
Setting: London, UK
Rating: 8 out of 10
Don’t expect Queenie from the second novel by Candice Carty-Williams. This is not a book about one person, but rather dysfunctional siblings. Sure, it has its darker, cynical moments but it also had lighter, funnier moments. It’s a lot more family oriented with more characters. Really, the two novels shouldn’t be compared in my opinion other than that they are both great reads.
Dimple Pennington likes to think of herself as an influencer, but she really buys the products she promotes on her social media. In her latest video, she discusses how her boyfriend and her are definitely off for good. Unfortunately, that leads to an incident where Dimple doesn’t know what to do. She remembers her half-sister Nikisha telling her to call her if she was in trouble half her life ago, so Dimple does. Suddenly the five half-siblings are all together since an ill-fated trip in their father’s gold jeep when they were kids. Each of the siblings is very different but they are thrown together in a crisis. That leads to friendships (some more begrudging than others) and a lot more time together. Can Dimple’s siblings help her out and will the siblings stay in touch now they are adults?
There are good contrasts between the siblings, with a range of interesting characters. Dimple is the main character, who is quick to panic and quick to cry. She can be rather self-centred, but her lack of self-confidence is what makes things awkward for her. Nikisha, the oldest, is tough and protective of her family. She is quick to help out and bossy enough to get things done. The youngest, Prynce, is a dreamer who is open to anything and lacks direction. Danny is driven after events of the past to protect his family and work hard. He’s wary of trouble, but knows family is important. Lizzie doesn’t really want a bar of any of her siblings, and tells them frequently. She’s more of a closed book than the others, independent and rather prickly. All together, they make for an interesting mix.
The premise that draws the siblings together came completely out of left field for me and had me wondering what the story was actually going to be about. It’s extreme, almost comical, with repercussions for Dimple but not the others. It certainly got my attention! The remainder of the plot wasn’t as outrageous and followed how the siblings got to know each other, and the complexities around their father and other family. The story moves at a good pace and the dialogue is wonderfully true. I wish there had been more about the other siblings, as Dimple isn’t always that likeable. The glimpse the reader had into Danny and their father’s lives were fascinating, and nicely balanced the lighter moments (such as Dimple’s actual Karen for a neighbour). It’s a solid read, as long as you’re happy to go with the extreme opening.