Zoella Book Club September 2021: Reviewing Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Keep reading to see how the team rated the latest masterpiece from one of the greatest contemporary novelists of our time.

Bookworms everywhere be buzzing because Sally Rooney is back with a truly readable bang.

It’s Rooney’s first outing since she became a global literary phenomenon with Normal People (the greatest love story of all time IMO) and Conversations with Friends, and she’ll be excused for keeping us hanging because her latest work is just as chef’s kiss as her last best-selling tomes.

In the most anticipated new release of 2021, Beautiful World, Where Are You explores the lives of four friends in Dublin.

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a distribution warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend Eileen is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

Alice, Felix, Eileen and Simon are still young—but life is catching up with them. They desire each other, they delude each other, they get together, they break apart. They have sex, they worry about sex, they worry about their friendships and the world they live in. Are they standing in the last lighted room before the darkness, bearing witness to something? Will they find a way to believe in a beautiful world?

Keep reading to see how the team rated the latest masterpiece from one of the greatest contemporary novelists of our time.


Zoella Book Club August 2021 Reviewing Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply raw, compassionate and intimate novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama, ravaged by addiction, depression and grief.

Trigger warning: grief, race, addiction

They say don’t judge a book by its cover but in the case of Transcendent Kingdom judge away because the story it contains is even more captivating than its Instagramable pink and green jacket.

Transcendent Kingdom is a deeply raw, compassionate and intimate novel about a Ghanaian family in Alabama, ravaged by addiction, depression and grief. Yeah, possibly steer clear if you’re PMSing or on a fragile hangover because the tears will be on tap.

For anyone familiar with Gyasi’s award-winning debut Homegoing, this novel is the opposite in both scope and feel. With a laser-like focus on its characters, the author dissects grief with a deft touch, peeling back the layers of human suffering with unsentimental precision.

The narrator, Gifty, is a 28-year-old Ghanaian-American neuroscientist studying reward-seeking behaviour in mice and the neural circuits of depression and addiction. If that went right over your head, fear not. This book belongs entirely to Gifty and her family story, as she looks to science for the answers she needs to make sense of the tragic loss of her brother Nana and her mother’s debilitating grief.

It is nothing short of a masterpiece and a work of whispered beauty and for that, Yaa Gyasi deserves to take the crown for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2021. Best of luck!

Keep scrolling to find out what the team thought of this month’s pick…

But first… the blurb:

As a child Gifty would ask her parents to tell the story of their journey from Ghana to Alabama, seeking escape in myths of heroism and romance. When her father and brother succumb to the hard reality of immigrant life in the American South, their family of four becomes two – and the life Gifty dreamed of slips away.

Years later, desperate to understand the opioid addiction that destroyed her brother’s life, she turns to science for answers. But when her mother comes to stay, Gifty soon learns that the roots of their tangled traumas reach farther than she ever thought. Tracing her family’s story through continents and generations will take her deep into the dark heart of modern America.

Find the team’s reviews in the gallery below >

Purchase Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi through the here and enjoy 10% off your first order with the code ZOELLA10 at checkout, valid until September 30 2021. All sales support independent bookshops across the UK. Select a bookshop from the map before browsing so your chosen bookseller will receive the direct benefit of the sale. Thank you for supporting independent bookshops!


February Book Club 2020: Such A Fun Age

For this month's Book Club, we're reviewing Kiley Reid's debut novel, 'Such A Fun Age'. Dubbed the most provocative page-turner of 2020, we can't wait to get stuck in!

When Emira is apprehended at a supermarket for ‘kidnapping’ the white child she’s actually babysitting, it sets off an explosive chain of events. Her employer Alix, a feminist blogger with the best of intentions, resolves to make things right.

But Emira herself is aimless, broke and wary of Alix’s desire to help. When a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege.

Buy the book here. (Ad-Affiliate link)

Will you be reading along with us this month? Don’t forget to tag us in your posts using the hashtag #ZoellaBookclub


January Book Club 2020: My Sister The Serial Killer

We've inhaled the pages of Oyinkan Braithwaite's debut novel, 'My Sister The Serial Killer' and with a title like that, you can see why!

When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This will be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first.

Until that is, Ayoola starts dating the fit doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

Find out if this crime thriller had us on the edge of our seats…

Did you read along with us? We’d love to hear what you made of it!