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Thirteen-year-old Byron needs to get away, and doesn't care how. Sick of being beaten up by lads for 'talkin' like a poof' after school. Sick of dad - the weightlifting, womanising Gaz - and Mam, who selfishly pissed off to Turkey like Shirley Valentine. Sick of the people who shuffle about Hucknall like the living dead, going on about kitchens they're too skint to do up and marriages they're too scared to leave.
It's a new millennium, Madonna's 'Music' is top of the charts and there's a whole world to explore - and Byron's happy to beg, steal and skank onto a rollercoaster ride of hedonism. Life explodes like a rush of ecstasy when Byron discovers the Fallen Divas Project and the East Midlands' premier podium-dancer-cum-hellraiser, the mesmerising Lady Die. But when the comedown finally kicks in, Byron arrives at a shocking encounter that will change life forever.
Unflinching, hilarious and heart-breaking, What It Feels Like For a Girl is the unique, hotly-anticipated and addictively-readable debut from one of Britain's most exciting young writers.
© Paris Lees 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021
Fresh, original, heartbreaking and optimistic. The subtlety of time passing reminds me of Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie's writing.
Paris Lees is the voice of a generation
Brilliant, brutal and bitingly funny, Lees is going to rip your heart out and show you the ugly truth about kids Britain would rather pretend don't exist. There's never been a book like this
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After eight years composing her memoir What It Feels Like For A Girl about a tough adolescence, the writer tells Alice Vincent why revisiting her trauma was worth it.