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Vicky Romeo + Joolz by Ely Percy - Review

Saturday, March 4, 2023

I backed this book on Kickstarter but then realised it had never arrived, thankfully they sent me another copy and I picked it up just after it had arrived in mid February. This was because I was really looking forward to reading it, and also because I wanted to lend it to my friend Chloe as I thought she would like it too. 

The book is set in the gay scene in Glasgow in 2001 and it is a little dated. The author themself acknowledges this in the foreword of the book, explaining that attitudes have changed a lot since then and that if they were writing the book today, it would be very different. There are a few instances of biphobia and transphobia in the book which are warned about, which I'm glad for, as they are jarring. I get the author's point at the beginning, and I'm glad the foreword is there. But I would like to also warn for this in my review.

So Vicky is twenty-one years old and she works in a cafe during the day, which she hates. She lives with several other LGBTQ+ people, including her best friend Minty and a girl called Kat. She is a proper player. She sleeps her way around the scene, rarely seeing the same woman twice. She promises and often delivers on her promise to give them the time of their lives, but she moves through the quickly, hence her nickname Romeo. Vicky is suspicious of femme lesbians and bisexual people. She had her heart broken by her ex girlfriend in her teens and has never got over it. She's a member of a lesbian support group and also, within the book, joins a threate troup which starts putting on The Importance of Being Earnest. 

Vicky meets a girl called Julie and goes home with her. In the morning Julie's mother finds them, having not known that her daughter is any kind of queer. Vicky and Julie fall out, but life keeps throwing them back together. 

Vicky's mum is also gay and in a relationship with a woman called Sam, who is also a parental figure for Vicky. Vicky tells some of her back story through Sam and her mum. 

The book is laugh out loud funny in parts, and had a lot of pathos in others. I liked it, but with caveats. Vicky is infuriating and self-centred and selfish at times. I also got confused with some of her friends and thought they could have been more streamlined. But in all i'm glad I got to read this book and am giving it four out of five. I'm also passing it on to someone who I think will enjoy it too!

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