In at the Deep End
A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones–like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighborhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman.Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, and . . . the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . . In at the Deep End is an unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self.

In at the Deep End Details

TitleIn at the Deep End
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherHoughton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN-139781328628657
Rating
GenreFiction, Lgbt, Contemporary, Adult

In at the Deep End Review

  • Joc
    January 1, 1970
    Julia, a civil servant in the correspondence department in London, shares a flat with her best friend Alice and her boyfriend Dave. Grumpy from being kept awake most of the night by Alice and Dave’s sex noises her mood is further soured by Alice pointing out that she hasn’t had sex in three years. Determined to change that, Julia sets off on a mission to meet people and bring about some changes in her life. What she doesn’t expect to discover is that she’s perhaps not straight after all. What fo Julia, a civil servant in the correspondence department in London, shares a flat with her best friend Alice and her boyfriend Dave. Grumpy from being kept awake most of the night by Alice and Dave’s sex noises her mood is further soured by Alice pointing out that she hasn’t had sex in three years. Determined to change that, Julia sets off on a mission to meet people and bring about some changes in her life. What she doesn’t expect to discover is that she’s perhaps not straight after all. What follows is the entertaining, and sometimes poignant, sexual awakening of a 26-year-old who finds herself in at the deep end. Julia is a wonderfully complex character. She’s funny, self-deprecating in a witty way and unflinchingly direct. She also lacks confidence sometimes, doesn’t always express her anger when she should and goes with the flow when she’s really not comfortable with the direction. Essentially, she’s perfectly human. She’s seeing a therapist (in training, because she was cheap) who calls a spade a bloody shovel. She’s sure therapists should be more supportive and give less advice but then, you get what you pay for. She’s a contract worker and has never applied for a permanent position because then when people asked her what she did she would have to answer, “civil servant”.There’s a fantastic cast of secondary characters that further enrich Julia’s journey. She corresponds with a 96-year-old WWII veteran who writes in regularly to complain about the health system. Owen, her colleague, and Alice are steady sounding boards. Her therapist is combative, her friend Cat flits in and out of London bringing another level of quirkiness with her. Julia’s parents need to be in their own special category. And then there’s Sam, who is a powerful presence.I loved reading this. I started off by laughing at the wittiness and unusual turn of phrase and as it progressed I found I was still enjoying the turn of phrase but undertones kept changing. There is explicit sex which is more descriptive than erotic or romantic. This is a great debut and I’m looking forward to more by this author.Book received from Netgalley and The Borough Press for an honest review.
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  • Julie Parks
    January 1, 1970
    This is a hilarious book with a somewhat dirty sex description in every chapter. It's like reading a book version of GIRLS.Beware of the inevitable tears at the end, though!Thank you NetGalley for this one-night-stand page-turner adventure in exchange for my honest review.
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  • Stephen Clynes
    January 1, 1970
    Follow Julia who is 26 years old and is single. She lives in London but has not had sex for 3 years. Julia decides her dry patch has lasted for too long and jumps In at the Deep End to have some fun in her life.I was really attracted to the cover of this book. It shows two red chilli peppers arranged together to let the reader imagine they were labia. In at the Deep End gets off to a great start from the first paragraph by informing the reader of Julia’s sex life. The writing style within this b Follow Julia who is 26 years old and is single. She lives in London but has not had sex for 3 years. Julia decides her dry patch has lasted for too long and jumps In at the Deep End to have some fun in her life.I was really attracted to the cover of this book. It shows two red chilli peppers arranged together to let the reader imagine they were labia. In at the Deep End gets off to a great start from the first paragraph by informing the reader of Julia’s sex life. The writing style within this book is jolly and the mild humour will make you smile. For example…Staring into my eyes, he went to push himself into me. He missed. ‘Jesus. That’s never happened before,’ he said. He picked up his penis and guided himself in, frowning as though he was trying to assemble a particularly tricky piece of IKEA furniture....In at the Deep End is a story told in the first person and this format is ideal for this book as it lets the reader walk in Julia’s shoes. It does not matter what gender or sexuality the reader has, because Julia tries many, many things for the first time and like her, you can enjoy what happens like a virgin too.I liked how this novel was not just about sex. Character development of Julia was very good and I found it very easy to enter her world of work, flat sharing, friends and family. In at the Deep End is Kate’s debut novel but it does not show. Kate is a great storyteller and her book is an intelligent read. I loved all the observations and social commentary. I found the novel to be very well written and although there was a fair amount of sex within the pages, there was no dumbing down of language or content. This is a quality read that I found to be enjoyable, fun and informative.In at the Deep End guides you into a lesbian lifestyle and demystifies how women can find love. This book allows the reader to access a lifestyle they may have no knowledge about, it is a kind of Lesbians for Beginners. Kate’s outline of sexual acts are told with skill and were not gross and do not make the reader feel uncomfortable.I loved the explanation of the lesbian lifestyle and it’s culture. I now know the importance of a toaster to lesbians. Because of my age, work, family and friends, I already knew there were many different types of lesbians but this book also mentions by name the different types. Going about your everyday life would you be able to spot the differences between butches, femmes, pillow queens and bull dykes?I thought the explanation of polygamy within the lesbian scene to be very helpful to heterosexual readers. I thought polygamists were just greedy people who wanted lots and lots of sex, with one partner never being enough for them. I have NEVER strayed away from my wife and would not dream of it. But In at the Deep End does offer the opposite view which helped me to understand why some people are polygamists when Kate writes…‘I wouldn’t want to limit myself to one woman. It would be like only eating cheese sandwiches for the rest of your life. Sometimes you just want pastrami, don’t you? Which is why I’m non-monogamous.’...I loved reading In at the Deep End and found it a pleasure to read. Kate’s writing is so good that I just imagined I was Julia and thoroughly enjoyed playing her part in this story. For an author to make the reader feel they are the central character of a novel is really good. For a reader to identify with Julia because they are a woman, or in their 20’s or a lesbian is very, very good. For a 60 year old, heterosexual married man to feel as though he is Julia having all this fun, is absolutely BRILLIANT. I felt really included and could live out a lesbian sex life from the comfort of my armchair. I thoroughly enjoyed reading In at the Deep End, so it gets the top score of 5 stars from me. Only thing is trying to keep a straight face when moving past red chilli peppers in ASDA but I can live with that.Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher HarperCollins UK for giving me a copy of this book on the understanding that I provide an honest review.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com In at the Deep End is a brilliantly funny and honest read, and a book that not only makes a nice change from the many crime/ thriller novels I read, but also is so great that I will be buying copies for all of my friends.This novel has lots of situations I can relate to, or I’ve heard discussed by people I know, so for a lot of it I smiled as I read main character Julia's thoughts and experiences, and really identified with her as a late twenties woman.Julia r Book reviews on www.snazzybooks.com In at the Deep End is a brilliantly funny and honest read, and a book that not only makes a nice change from the many crime/ thriller novels I read, but also is so great that I will be buying copies for all of my friends.This novel has lots of situations I can relate to, or I’ve heard discussed by people I know, so for a lot of it I smiled as I read main character Julia's thoughts and experiences, and really identified with her as a late twenties woman.Julia realizes that she’s gay and Kate Davies writes so fantastically that I felt like I was experiencing everything with her, through her eyes. It made me laugh at countless points, and most importantly it made me really care about Julia and what might happen to her as well as being entertaining to read. It's also very crude at times, which just made me love this novel - and Julia - even more. Frank and funny are two excellent indicators of a brilliant book!In at the Deep End is a fun, straight-talking and entertaining read with some brilliant characters. It's easily a five-star read for me and I'll definitely be reading more from Kate Davies in the future!Many thanks to The Borough Press for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.
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  • Angelique
    January 1, 1970
    I read a lot of booker prize winners and capital L literature and was looking for something light. This did not disappoint. In fact, I read it in two sittings and absolutely loved it. It's got explicit lesbian sex, it's well written, it takes place in London, it's EXACTLY what I wanted to read without knowing it. While it's an engaging story, it's also sweet and nasty and just an enjoyable read. Davies really nails complicated relationships. The only thing I will say about it, is Sam using babes I read a lot of booker prize winners and capital L literature and was looking for something light. This did not disappoint. In fact, I read it in two sittings and absolutely loved it. It's got explicit lesbian sex, it's well written, it takes place in London, it's EXACTLY what I wanted to read without knowing it. While it's an engaging story, it's also sweet and nasty and just an enjoyable read. Davies really nails complicated relationships. The only thing I will say about it, is Sam using babes all the time is annoying but makes sense. I'm buying everyone I know a copy and hope it becomes a huge best seller, it deserves it. (Got a copy from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.)
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  • Sophie
    January 1, 1970
    Funny, filthy and full of heart. A brilliant cast of characters and a really interesting take on the line between love and obsession.
  • Crystal Blake
    January 1, 1970
    I stumbled across The Pigeonhole (If you haven't heard of it, there are a selection of books available, with a limited number of slots for each. The book is released in Staves over a period of time, but feel free to check it out for yourself here - https://thepigeonhole.com/) In At The Deep End was my first request, I was looking for something to read to distract me from half term and the bright coloured cover caught my eye. Disclaimer here, I didn't really pay much attention to the description I stumbled across The Pigeonhole (If you haven't heard of it, there are a selection of books available, with a limited number of slots for each. The book is released in Staves over a period of time, but feel free to check it out for yourself here - https://thepigeonhole.com/) In At The Deep End was my first request, I was looking for something to read to distract me from half term and the bright coloured cover caught my eye. Disclaimer here, I didn't really pay much attention to the description and wasn't really expecting such, um graphic descriptions. But I loved the format, small manageable sized chunks, easy to keep up with the pace and it's exciting to see you have a new part ready to read in your inbox or in the phone notifications. I can't wait for the next book to start!To be blunt, I really don't care if you are gay/straight or what your preferences are in the bedroom, but this book is difficult to read and understand when you are the sort of person who married their best friend. The idea of having sex with a stranger you met at a party kind of makes me shudder, add in the recreational drink and drug use and the extreme nature of some of the descriptions it was all just a bit much for me. It's not really personal prudishness, just overwhelming to think someone can so quickly go from I see you, I like you, I want you, so please shove your arm up me even though I don't know really know anything about you. Someone else summed it better than me in their review with this one sentence "Also this book is way, way, way too cavalier about fisting." It's just one of the many concepts I can't quite wrap my head around, but before anyone decides that is just because I am a boring old person I want to clarify, I will never understand how one person isn't enough and the food analogy has never worked for me because a person is not a "cheese sandwich" a person can be a whole bloody buffet if you love them and in the short space of time they were together they tried plenty of extreme choices designed to for the want of a better term spice up, a relationship that should have still been at the shiny and new, oh I love everything about you stage. They hadn't been together long enough for the sex to have become dull or routine. Plus (view spoiler)[Julia never seems to grasp that even Sam's beloved Virginie wasn't enough to keep her interested in just one person, she just feels like she isn't good enough, also if I was in that situation, it is much more likely that I would storm in and drag my partner off the other woman, rather than sitting watching depressing videos on my laptop and crying. If they told me in advance what they were planning on doing, the first repeatable words in the conversation would have been We're Done Goodbye (hide spoiler)]The sad part, the characters of both Julia and Sam and their relationship would probably have been just as interesting to read about if the sex had been toned down. It's not the lesbian nature of the relationship that's hard to deal with, it's just the speed and the crudeness of it all. It's easy to understand difficult relationships and how you can love someone but not like them, be desperate to be with them and fear them and how it can be a thin line between feeling loved and protected to smothered and overwhelmed. It's not easy to see controlling when you are part of it and it's even harder to walk away from something you think makes you happy, when mostly you just fear being whatever you were before they made you feel "special" or "loved", or ending up alone.
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  • Niamh
    January 1, 1970
    I was very kindly given an e-arc of this book through Netgalley and HarperCollins UK. If I were just judging this book on the first 35%, then it could have been a five stars. Funny, crude and startlingly open, this is a contemporary novel about a young woman named Julia discovering her sexuality (which happens surprisingly quickly) and beginning a life as a queer woman. But then, as you get further through the book, you lose the 'modern Bridget Jones' vibe and it becomes darker, more uncomfortab I was very kindly given an e-arc of this book through Netgalley and HarperCollins UK. If I were just judging this book on the first 35%, then it could have been a five stars. Funny, crude and startlingly open, this is a contemporary novel about a young woman named Julia discovering her sexuality (which happens surprisingly quickly) and beginning a life as a queer woman. But then, as you get further through the book, you lose the 'modern Bridget Jones' vibe and it becomes darker, more uncomfortable and increasingly more volatile. There are a lot of issues with this book. I understand that the author herself is queer, but there are some serious ignorances in this story, particularly towards BDSM. There's one instance where Julia's partner forces into a rape-fantasy scenario without asking for her explicit consent, even before hand. The language is coded, suggesting 'You'll like it' or 'You want to do it', and that made me feel ridiculously uncomfortable. It often felt closer to Fifty Shades horror than genuine SM work. Also, the main characters are utter trash. There's unlikeable, and then there's plain psychopathic. Sam, the 'girlfriend', repeatedly manipulates Julia, sexually, verbally and emotionally. At the end of the book, she even threatens to kill herself. There's no subtlety to this book at all, and you just feel angry instead of any other emotion. Some positives: it's genuinely funny. It has moments of sparkling wit, if you can get past Julia being a wet blanket the whole time, and it really captures the supportive nature of the LGBTQIA+ community in Julia's other friends. I think there is potential, but it was being dark for the sake of being controversial. I can see how people were turned off by this book and couldn't read it. It should probably come with a huge trigger warning slapped across the front of the cover. Also this book is way, way, way too cavalier about fisting. Damn. 'In At The Deep End' by Kate Davies is released in the UK on February 21st.
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  • Victoria Bird
    January 1, 1970
    Julia has been celibate for three years and when the dry spell breaks, it isn’t anything to write home about, to put it mildly. And it isn’t just her sex life that’s lacking. No longer able to pursue her dream of dancing professionally, she’s stuck in a dead-end job. When she meets Sam, Julia is in at the deep end as a new lesbian – introduced to a world of gay bars, BDSM and polyamory.I read somewhere that Kate Davies set out to write a version of ‘Girls’ for lesbians, and I think she’s realise Julia has been celibate for three years and when the dry spell breaks, it isn’t anything to write home about, to put it mildly. And it isn’t just her sex life that’s lacking. No longer able to pursue her dream of dancing professionally, she’s stuck in a dead-end job. When she meets Sam, Julia is in at the deep end as a new lesbian – introduced to a world of gay bars, BDSM and polyamory.I read somewhere that Kate Davies set out to write a version of ‘Girls’ for lesbians, and I think she’s realised her goal. Julia’s voice is unique, warm, hilarious and utterly relatable. Whilst the sex, drugs and parties are all plentiful and no holds barred, the voyage of self-discovery in this novel goes far beyond sex and sexuality. It’s a nuanced and at times heart-rending exploration of the intensity of first loves, coercion, guilt and jealousy.The changes in Julia’s life touch every corner of it – from her relationships with her family to her job, her past and her ambitions for the future. We see a woman not only getting to grips with a new understanding of her sexuality, but settling into a life which is altogether changing shape to meet the person she is becoming.This book is as frank, filthy and funny as billed and I read it in a couple of days flat. An abundance of laugh-out-loud moments, a rounded cast of characters and a tangled central relationship is a winning combination that kept me coming back for more.
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  • Philippa Mckenna
    January 1, 1970
    After living for 3 years without sex, Julia discovers she's a lesbian, and takes us on a thoroughly riotous romp through her new found, sexually liberated life. This book is so graphic, it actually shocked me. And I'm generally unshockable! It would not do for prudes, but me? I loved it. Whilst there is also a deeper, darker under tone to this story, as book touches on abuse within a same sex relationship, the vast majority of it is utterly hilarious. In fact, I embarrassed myself several times After living for 3 years without sex, Julia discovers she's a lesbian, and takes us on a thoroughly riotous romp through her new found, sexually liberated life. This book is so graphic, it actually shocked me. And I'm generally unshockable! It would not do for prudes, but me? I loved it. Whilst there is also a deeper, darker under tone to this story, as book touches on abuse within a same sex relationship, the vast majority of it is utterly hilarious. In fact, I embarrassed myself several times by snorting loudly whilst in completely inappropriate surroundings. Great stuff!
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  • Philippa
    January 1, 1970
    A frank and entertaining coming of age story with lots of interesting plot points - sexual awakening (primarily this), career twists and turns, friendships, marriage, family, mortality, learning to remake your life after disappointment. I could relate to a great deal of it. Fabulous characterisation, a little disturbing in places (SM, etc! Not my scene!) but overall very well written and hugely enjoyable.With thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a kindle ARC.
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  • gem
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book! It was pant-wettingly funny so beware that if you’re reading it on public transport you’ll get some strange looks. (Plus, anyone who may be reading over your shoulder might see something they’re not expecting!)In at The Deep End focuses on Julia as embarks upon a sexual awakening that is told through her first person narrative in a believable, funny and incredibly detailed way. There are sex scenes galore as she explores her new way of life, and a new relationship.It soon beco I loved this book! It was pant-wettingly funny so beware that if you’re reading it on public transport you’ll get some strange looks. (Plus, anyone who may be reading over your shoulder might see something they’re not expecting!)In at The Deep End focuses on Julia as embarks upon a sexual awakening that is told through her first person narrative in a believable, funny and incredibly detailed way. There are sex scenes galore as she explores her new way of life, and a new relationship.It soon becomes obvious that her new girlfriend is manipulating her into doing things that she’d never have done before, and controlling all aspects of her life. It’s subtle at first but builds to become truly uncomfortable and i felt bad for Julia (even if she was being a cow) because her real friends couldn’t get through to her.The book features lust, sex (lots of sex) love, obsession, friendship, family and everything in between. It held my attention the entire way through and I read it within a few hours. This is going to be a surefire hit and will define one that everyone will be talking about. What sets it apart from anything it might be compared to is that the writing is spot on and infinitely enjoyable.Thank you to Netgalley for the chance to read this book.
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  • Ritu Bhathal
    January 1, 1970
    I'm not quite sure what I was expecting when I requested this book, but I have to say I was intrigued... I did have to read it in small spurts rather than in one or two sittings, as some areas were rather graphic!I certainly have more of an idea about particular erotic activities now!And I definitely had to be careful that my child wasn't trying to read over my shoulder!A sometimes funny, sometimes uncomfortable read, but a page-turner, nonetheless!
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  • Lindsay Cole
    January 1, 1970
    Hilarious and touching and smart and god damn delightful. These characters felt so real.
  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    Amazing! Hilarious, deep, dark and heartfelt. This book has stayed with me and I cannot wait to press it into the hands of all my friends (and enemies, seriously, everyone in my life must read this one).
  • Tea Leaves and Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Two stars for the humour - the rest - well... I don't really have words. This book was hilarious at points, but other times it was just cringeworthy and hard to process. Apparently every woman should own a copy of this book - not sure I get why really. It's not mind-blowingly amazing or anything like that. It's cute (at points) and crude (at many other points). It's honest - possibly too open at times - but if you like that kind of thing then you'll enjoy this. Easily offended? Not for you.
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    I received a copy of In at the Deep End from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.In at the Deep End begins with Julia discovering she hasn't had sex in three years. She's not that bothered - all her sexual encounters in the past have been nothing to write home about (although, that would be weird, wouldn't it? 'Hi Mum, how are you doing? You'll never guess how last night was.) But when a woman comes on to Julia and asks her if she's a lesbian, Julia thinks that could be the lightbulb mome I received a copy of In at the Deep End from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.In at the Deep End begins with Julia discovering she hasn't had sex in three years. She's not that bothered - all her sexual encounters in the past have been nothing to write home about (although, that would be weird, wouldn't it? 'Hi Mum, how are you doing? You'll never guess how last night was.) But when a woman comes on to Julia and asks her if she's a lesbian, Julia thinks that could be the lightbulb moment she's needed. So she tries dating women and ends up meeting Sam, a long term lesbian with some very different views to Julia. She's into kinky stuff Julia has never even heard of before, and is polyamorous, and just out the closet Julia thinks she has a lot to learn from her. But her lesbian education doesn't go as smoothly as planned.When requesting this book from NetGalley, I was promised a hilarious, filthy, holds-no-bars book about unapologetic sex in your twenties and exploring who you really are. And, not to be somewhat cliche, it was so much more!There were so many great aspects of this book. The writing was very dry and witty, exactly my type of humour, and I love it when there's no huge punchline, no big deal made out of the fact the writer just made a joke - just one simple line and the end of a chapter to make it sit with you and make you chuckle. There were times when I felt the writing was trying too hard to be funny, but this was only in little snippets throughout the book and it didn't overpower the overall writing style and make it unreadable.Can we also talk about the female friendships in this book? For one thing - there are so many!! Alice, Cat, Uzo, Ella, Zhu - they all serve different purposes as friends but it's just nice to see some many women having fun, going on nights out, watching trashy TV and eating, and there's not drama (well, yes, there's drama, but it's necessary and reasonable and understandable and.. NOT ABOUT BOYS!!!!) and it's also nice to see so many women in a book about lesbians and I cannot think of one instance in which the 'oh, you're gay now, I can't be your friend in case you fancy me' type thing was used. No previous friendships changed because of Julia coming out, and it was so nice to see her forming new ones too. All of the friendships felt real - the bit where Alice and Julia are in the airport and neither want to talk about their partners, or politics, so Alice pulls up a hedgehog video she saw online the other day. That's what friends do!!Can you tell I just really love well written female friendships?Another thing I love is when characters have unusual jobs - Julia works for a correspondence team for the government, replying to their letters when they complain about NHS waiting times or council cuts. It wasn't a huge part of the storyline, but it made for fun reading and something a little different, and I just really enjoy it when characters are people behind the scenes that you've never heard of before.You know earlier, when I said this was so much more than a filthy book about sex? Well, it is. But also, it's a filthy book about sex. I felt naughty for reading it on the bus but I so desperately want to read more about female pleasure! women coming lots of times! fisting! polyamory! things outside of heteronormativity! This book just had it all. It explored so many things without trying to do too much, and for anyone not in the know, neither is Julia! So everything is explained in a non-patronising way (apart from when Sam says it) if you too know nothing about non-monogamous relationships.Sam was such a well written character. Note; not a good character. She was skin crawling from the moment she popped up, but the way she said things, and acted, and twisted words, manipulated, schemed, were all so subtle and clever - the signs of real abuse - that it was really uncomfortable to read at times. I was yelling for Julia to get up and walk out while at the same time realising how easy it would be to fall for everything she was saying and somehow feel in the wrong. I also think it was a really important thing to show - people think of abuse in terms of men hitting women, and it's really important to show the impact of mental abuse and manipulation, but also that, contrary to statistics (because yes, most abusers in domestic abuse are men)  it's crucial to see that women can be abusers too, and that the LGBTQ community is not immune from these dangers either.I really loved In at the Deep End. There were times when I found Julia annoying to read - she was naive and very blinkered at times and it was infuriating to see her make some of her decisions, but overall, the book went in a direction I wasn't expecting, and for that I'm grateful. I'll definitely be on the lookout for any further releases from Davies, and encourage you to all read In at the Deep End! Maybe not on the bus where people can read over your shoulder though!4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kitty
    January 1, 1970
    I had no idea what this book was about when I was offered a place to read it via the Pigeonhole ‘the book club in your pocket’, so went in uninformed.From the off, I loved the writing style and getting to know Julia, a woman in her late 20’s who we learn very early on is having a substantial drought in her love life and hasn’t had sex for over 3 years. Living with Alice and Dave in a flat with thin walls and listening to them enjoying noisy couple sex night after night quite literally just adds I had no idea what this book was about when I was offered a place to read it via the Pigeonhole ‘the book club in your pocket’, so went in uninformed.From the off, I loved the writing style and getting to know Julia, a woman in her late 20’s who we learn very early on is having a substantial drought in her love life and hasn’t had sex for over 3 years. 
 Living with Alice and Dave in a flat with thin walls and listening to them enjoying noisy couple sex night after night quite literally just adds to the frustration Julia is feeling.After a disastrous one night stand where she is accused of breaking her date’s penis, she heads to warehouse party full of trendy types in the hope of finding a more suitable social crowd. However once there, she catches the eye of a female artist in quite an unexpected way and decides to ride the wave and see what happens…What happens is that Julia’s sexual adventure takes flight. She embraces her new lesbian life, and a new, intense lover in the shape of another artist, Sam. Sam is a complicated character, and with Julia being so new to this world, she allows Sam to take control of the relationship and Julia finds herself being carried along on all kinds of experiences; some wonderful and some not so much. The characters are really well written, Sam is the mixture of vaguely scary, tender, loving and downright narcissistic at times, and Julia is hard to dislike, eager to learn, sweet and daft, very emotional (she seems to cry a lot on public transport) and really just wants to be out there living her best life.This book is not for the faint-hearted. There are graphic and detailed examples of sexual experiences that may open your eyes in more ways than one if you aren’t already familiar with the ‘ins and outs’ of lesbian sex. However given how popular the ’50 shades’ series of books are (I’ve never read them myself), that doesn’t seem to be a bad thing, especially when it is surrounding a genuinely interesting relationship.It’s definitely an interesting journey through what you’re likely to find in the dingy sex dungeons of Kings Cross including sex-slings, BDSM and an awful lot of sex. Don’t think it’s ALL sex though, while it is a huge part of the book, there’s also some complicated relationships themes including manipulation, emotional blackmail and friendship in general. I kept thinking that this book would do really well as a TV series, it’d definitely have high viewing figures!Thanks to the Pigeonhole mobile book club for letting me read this novel in return for an honest review.
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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones-like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it.A fresh, funny, audacious debut novel about a Bridget Jones-like twenty-something who discovers that she may have simply been looking for love — and, ahem, pleasure — in all the wrong places (aka: from men)Julia hasn’t had sex in three years. Her roommate has a boyfriend—and their sex noises are audible through the walls, maybe even throughout the neighbourhood. Not to mention, she’s treading water in a dead-end job, her know-it-all therapist gives her advice she doesn’t ask for, and the men she is surrounded by are, to be polite, subpar. Enough is enough.So when Julia gets invited to a warehouse party in a part of town where “trendy people who have lots of sex might go on a Friday night”—she readily accepts. Whom she meets there, however, is surprising: a conceptual artist, also a woman.Julia’s sexual awakening begins; her new lesbian life, as she coins it, is exhilarating. She finds her tribe at queer swing dancing classes, and guided by her new lover Sam, she soon discovers London’s gay bars and BDSM clubs, and . . . the complexities of polyamory. Soon it becomes clear that Sam needs to call the shots, and Julia’s newfound liberation comes to bear a suspicious resemblance to entrapment . . . In at the Deep End is an unforgettably frank, funny, and racy odyssey through the pitfalls and seductions we encounter on the treacherous—and more often, absurd—path to love and self. As a serious Bridget Jones fan, this book seemed to be right up my alley: I also know some VERY kinky people so I figured that this book would not shock me. I was wrong. But not in a bad way. I loved Julia but Sam, well Sam I wanted to kill - he was such a toxic person from day one I could not figure out why Julia didn't leave him. (personal note: been there, done that, dumped him...after three years as I was an idiot and stuck around!) I was worried that the book would not have a happy ending but it did - but that's all I will say. It's a good book but not a great book ... 3.5 stars from me rounded up to four.
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  • Siobhan
    January 1, 1970
    In at the Deep End is a funny yet strangely inspirational novel about a woman learning to get what she wants. Julia lives in London, works for the civil service, and hasn't had sex in three years. Her attempts to find excitement aren't very successful, until she decides to do something about the lesbian making eyes at her at an art show. And suddenly, sex and love make sense to Julia. The book follows her as she makes a lot of sexual discoveries, tries to support her friends but doesn't listen t In at the Deep End is a funny yet strangely inspirational novel about a woman learning to get what she wants. Julia lives in London, works for the civil service, and hasn't had sex in three years. Her attempts to find excitement aren't very successful, until she decides to do something about the lesbian making eyes at her at an art show. And suddenly, sex and love make sense to Julia. The book follows her as she makes a lot of sexual discoveries, tries to support her friends but doesn't listen to their advice, and finds a whole new world of being a lesbian in London.The style is frank and witty, perfectly suiting the novel, and the characters are vivid and a real crowning point. Julia herself is a great flawed narrator, the kind of female protagonist that has been seen in recent TV series but maybe not as easily found in as many books. One of the highlights of the book is her web of friendships, from old friends to the new ones she meets when she goes along to an LGBT dance class. Though the novel is mostly about Julia's discoveries about sex, it is also a real testament to the power of friendships in your twenties, particularly to survive living in London. London itself is also vivid, another hilarious and brash character amongst the human ones.In at the Deep End is a sex-filled lesbian romcom that manages to give a sharp edge to a toxic relationship whilst showing someone realising a lot of things about what they want from life. It seems like the sort of book that people, regardless of sexuality or gender, should pick up, laugh at and learn from, with a message about taking control of your life and a lot of frank discussions about sex. And there needs to be more happy, funny fiction with LGBT main characters that is aimed at adults, seeing as YA fiction does so well at it.
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  • Mary Picken
    January 1, 1970
    Don’t say the blurb doesn’t warn you. In at the Deep End is indeed extremely frank and deep down dirty. It is also gut achingly funny, tender, poignant and as a coming of age novel for the 21st Century, pretty unbeatable.I wanted something different for my first read of 2019 and In at the Deep End with its LGBTQIA affirmation felt like a great approach.Written in an engaging and slightly naïve voice, this novel begins in a traditional enough fashion with a young woman in a relationship that is b Don’t say the blurb doesn’t warn you. In at the Deep End is indeed extremely frank and deep down dirty. It is also gut achingly funny, tender, poignant and as a coming of age novel for the 21st Century, pretty unbeatable.I wanted something different for my first read of 2019 and In at the Deep End with its LGBTQIA affirmation felt like a great approach.Written in an engaging and slightly naïve voice, this novel begins in a traditional enough fashion with a young woman in a relationship that is bringing her no joy at all. In no time, I was laughing my head off, recognising some of the more awful moments I have had with fleeting relationships. It was great to revel in the female camaraderie, enjoying the rapport and sharing that marks out a group of close friends. But underlying this slightly Bridget-Jones-ish voice is someone more serious. A young woman searching for her sense of self; grappling for the first time with gender politics and struggling to find her own voice and sense of self-worth.I know young women who have entered into the kind of toxic relationship portrayed here. It feels valid and authentic and while this is ultimately a highly enjoyable, well written feel-good story with lots of graphic sex, it is also a vivid portrait of one woman’s struggle to assert her sense of self-worth in a toxic relationship.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    A book that will probably divide opinions, mine too. I wasn't a great fan of the beginning, other people (on Pigeonhole) found it hilarious, but I just feel vaguely depressed and too old for descriptions of bad sex and taking drugs and getting wasted. It did pick up though, I thought the first person narrative of coming out and entering into a relationship with a polyamorous controlling lesbian were very convincing, you can definetly see how a controlling relationship can happen to someone and t A book that will probably divide opinions, mine too. I wasn't a great fan of the beginning, other people (on Pigeonhole) found it hilarious, but I just feel vaguely depressed and too old for descriptions of bad sex and taking drugs and getting wasted. It did pick up though, I thought the first person narrative of coming out and entering into a relationship with a polyamorous controlling lesbian were very convincing, you can definetly see how a controlling relationship can happen to someone and the excuses that you can make for their behaviour. Plus I liked the little streams of story running through like her correspondence with a war veteran, joining a lgtbq jive class and her relationships with her friends and family. I also found the second half funnier, it was as if once the writer had calmed down and got into the writing, the funny parts shone through without there needing to be a 'look, hilarious straight dissapointing sex!' 'getting wasted in a toilet' label all over it!
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  • Sarah Connor
    January 1, 1970
    I read this through the Pigeonhole, so it came in staves. It's a great way of reading - slows me down a bit. It also means I'll take a chance on a book I might not normally choose - like this one. I'm very glad I did. First of all, the sex. There is a lot of sex. A lot. However, while there's a lot on the mechanics of it all, there's also a whole range of emotional contexts to go with it - bored sex, happy sex, guilty sex, edgy sex. The sex is nuanced, and it feels like an integral part of the p I read this through the Pigeonhole, so it came in staves. It's a great way of reading - slows me down a bit. It also means I'll take a chance on a book I might not normally choose - like this one. I'm very glad I did. First of all, the sex. There is a lot of sex. A lot. However, while there's a lot on the mechanics of it all, there's also a whole range of emotional contexts to go with it - bored sex, happy sex, guilty sex, edgy sex. The sex is nuanced, and it feels like an integral part of the plot, and the character development. If you took the sex out, though, you'd still have a good read. The characters feel real, the situations are believable, and while the first three quarters of the book are very much about the intensity of sexual relationships, they also hint at the other things we need to attend to to be satisfied with life - and towards the end, these are the things that blossom.Oh, forgot to mention, it's snorty funny in places, and quite moving in others.
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  • Ruth
    January 1, 1970
    Julia is lost - she's a Civil Service contractor who isn't sure that's what she wants to do, she's single and her flatmate is having great sex just next door and she still isn't sure who she is after having to give up ballet when she was 19. Deciding to start living a bit, she starts exploring her sexuality more - especially as her attempts to have sex so far have all been unsatisfactory - and throws herself in to a relationship with artist Sam and new friends at an LGBT swing dance club.Occasio Julia is lost - she's a Civil Service contractor who isn't sure that's what she wants to do, she's single and her flatmate is having great sex just next door and she still isn't sure who she is after having to give up ballet when she was 19. Deciding to start living a bit, she starts exploring her sexuality more - especially as her attempts to have sex so far have all been unsatisfactory - and throws herself in to a relationship with artist Sam and new friends at an LGBT swing dance club.Occasionally very funny, there's some pretty detailed sex (maybe not the book to lend my mother?) as Julia and Sam head to sex clubs (the In at the Deep End of the title), as well as some great new friendships - particularly through the dance club. It's not all fun though, it's also a portrait of how a controlling relationship takes hold and I thought that bit was particularly well done as it creeps up on Julia - I could see it happening and was wondering how it was going to work out.
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    Sadly this book wasn’t for me. It was advertised as a good read if you enjoyed the likes of Bridget Jones but after reading it - I can’t see any link there.This is a book focussed on a woman, Julia, coming out. You learn of her sexual exploits (a bit too educational at times!), you meet her colleagues and a ‘pen-pal’ called Eric who writes in to address issues he has come across in his care home - but Julia and Eric develop a more personal connection befriending one another in an unexpected mann Sadly this book wasn’t for me. It was advertised as a good read if you enjoyed the likes of Bridget Jones but after reading it - I can’t see any link there.This is a book focussed on a woman, Julia, coming out. You learn of her sexual exploits (a bit too educational at times!), you meet her colleagues and a ‘pen-pal’ called Eric who writes in to address issues he has come across in his care home - but Julia and Eric develop a more personal connection befriending one another in an unexpected manner.The book explores controlling relationships and the impact on those around you. It also reminds us to eat humble pie and admit when we are wrong.I’m sure many people out there will love it and its bursts of humour but for me it plodded a bit and didn’t flow as much as I would have liked it to.
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  • Mrs LIR Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Julia was an interesting character to follow. I was intrigued at how she finally realized that she is in fact a lesbian as I had preconceived notions that the person in their teens would know this - so it was really fascinating to see how she learns who she really is. It was also very educative to see how she stumbles into a mentally abusive same sex relationship with a partner who is all about control. I liked the way her true friends and family try (with Julia resisting) to help her. It was lo Julia was an interesting character to follow. I was intrigued at how she finally realized that she is in fact a lesbian as I had preconceived notions that the person in their teens would know this - so it was really fascinating to see how she learns who she really is. It was also very educative to see how she stumbles into a mentally abusive same sex relationship with a partner who is all about control. I liked the way her true friends and family try (with Julia resisting) to help her. It was lovely to see her find a truly caring relationship.I must say that some of the graphic descriptions of lesbian sex were quite a revelation to me too, so I can clearly say that I enjoyed reading this book whilst gaining quite an insight (education) about true lesbian relationships.
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  • Lola Dreamfire
    January 1, 1970
    This book is hilariously funny. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed the complex characters Davies created. It’s a story of discovery, obsession and identity with a lot of sex thrown in for good measure. It’s Bridget Jones’ diary for today - but with a bit more about it.Fast-paced, moving in places and always honest, this is a refreshing and fun read. I’ll be recommending it to friends although I’m worried they will assume my life as a gay woman is waaaay more exciting than it actually is! What This book is hilariously funny. I read it in one sitting and enjoyed the complex characters Davies created. It’s a story of discovery, obsession and identity with a lot of sex thrown in for good measure. It’s Bridget Jones’ diary for today - but with a bit more about it.Fast-paced, moving in places and always honest, this is a refreshing and fun read. I’ll be recommending it to friends although I’m worried they will assume my life as a gay woman is waaaay more exciting than it actually is! What an excellent find - I can’t wait to read more from Davies!Thanks to #netgalley for the copy in return for an honest review
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  • Sara Oxton
    January 1, 1970
    In at the Deep End by Kate Davies a four-star read that will rock you. If you like your writing gentle and soft, then this isn’t the one for you this was crude and honest and fantastically brilliant. This one had me grabbing my kindle and announcing to my work crowd with a crazed look on my face and going ‘I’m diving in and I may not come out alive or at least not without blushing’ they are used to my brand of crazy and know it takes some to get me blushing with my lunch time reading. This one h In at the Deep End by Kate Davies a four-star read that will rock you. If you like your writing gentle and soft, then this isn’t the one for you this was crude and honest and fantastically brilliant. This one had me grabbing my kindle and announcing to my work crowd with a crazed look on my face and going ‘I’m diving in and I may not come out alive or at least not without blushing’ they are used to my brand of crazy and know it takes some to get me blushing with my lunch time reading. This one had me blushing and snorting, Julia is such a great character you will have a hard time not loving her, her journey is a tough one but its also revealing in many ways.
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  • Emma
    January 1, 1970
    This was a fun and filthy read and I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to read this book. Julia is a great character, she's not happy and wants to get out their and find what she's missing. She attends a party and meets Jane who then makes her question if she wants a man or woman. She soon realises women are for her and embarks on a relationship with a woman called Sam. Julia ends up in a whole new world, with frequent visits to sex and bdsm clubs thrown into the mix. This really delves This was a fun and filthy read and I'm glad to have been given the opportunity to read this book. Julia is a great character, she's not happy and wants to get out their and find what she's missing. She attends a party and meets Jane who then makes her question if she wants a man or woman. She soon realises women are for her and embarks on a relationship with a woman called Sam. Julia ends up in a whole new world, with frequent visits to sex and bdsm clubs thrown into the mix. This really delves into the relationship between Julia and Sam and how their love affects the lives of Julia's friends and family. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Clare
    January 1, 1970
    The first quote in the blurb on the cover of this book says:'Every woman should own a copy of this book' (Erin Kelly). Well. Perhaps not if you're easily shocked. Julia lives with her best friend Alice and her boyfriend, Dave, and after yet another night of listening to their enthusiastic sex life through the wafer thin walls of their flat, Julia decides it's time to end her three year sex-drought. Except I don't think that she expects to learn that her drought might be because she has been look The first quote in the blurb on the cover of this book says:'Every woman should own a copy of this book' (Erin Kelly). Well. Perhaps not if you're easily shocked. Julia lives with her best friend Alice and her boyfriend, Dave, and after yet another night of listening to their enthusiastic sex life through the wafer thin walls of their flat, Julia decides it's time to end her three year sex-drought. Except I don't think that she expects to learn that her drought might be because she has been looking in the wrong places. After a disastrous experience with a one night stand where she's accused of 'breaking' the man's penis (!!), she meets a female artist - and learns that she's much happier and more fulfilled with a woman. This book is sexually graphic, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. Julia is rediscovering her life, and is on a mission to make radical changes - she wants to be happy. It's a great story. I laughed, I felt sad and sorry for Julia in some places. It illustrated complicated relationships really well. It's a great debut, and I'll be interested to see where the author goes next. Thanks to The Pigeonhole for choosing another great book to read along to.
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