One Year of Ugly

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Member Reviews

This is one of the funniest book I read in some time and I found it engrossing and entertaining.
The author is a talented storyteller and I loved the description of the family and how she developed the plot.
I loved the style of writing, the colourful and well thought characters, and the well crafted characters.
I look forward to reading other stories by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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I loved this book, it was just everything I hoped for and more when I read the synopsis. It’s unique, quirky and absorbing, brilliant! I thought the humour used was perfect in dealing with important messages about immigration, freedom and the situation the world and humans are in at the moment. It highlights the real important things in life love, family and humanity. Thoroughly recommended and hopefully will be highly recognised for the brilliant book it need to read this !

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
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When I started this book I suspected I wouldn’t enjoy it, wouldn’t like its strangeness, its very foreignness. But I loved it! It’s like a taste of another life, another normality. 
That odd mix of humour (and there’s plenty of it!) and downright horror, shows a particularly light touch by the author. 
A startling book, about things I previously knew nothing about.
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Funny in places this book is about the life of Venezuelan refugees who are living in Trinidad. There is plenty of action and it is an enjoyable read.

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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Well. This book. I loved it.

I also didn’t realise Ugly was someone’s name, so that cleared things up when I knew 😂
As the quotes on the back of the book say: this is a like a combination of Ugly Betty and narcos!

This is a story about a Venezuelan family of illegal immigrants living in Trinidad and is filled with family drama, romance, money problems, careers, family loss, grief, guilt, and so much personality.

Their immigration status isn’t who they are, it is a circumstance if theirs, but it’s an important one. It’s the driving force for the plot and the cause of a lot of the big things that happen including the ‘one year of Ugly’.

This is very much a story about a complicated and hilarious family doing the best with what they have, the choices they make and the way they stick together.

There’s some teen pregnancy, some steam, a sassy dead aunt, drama, crime, murder, and love.

This made me more aware of the troubles of Venezuelan people circa 2016 when there were so many political and social issues. It’s an empathetic, book with a lot to give in terms of entertainment and character development and plot.

A LOT happens to the Palacios family and Yola is a brilliant protagonist. She’s an illegal immigrant but she’s also a woman in her mid twenties grieving the loss of her aunt, working out her career and figuring out some complicated romantic feelings.

I really enjoyed this book and I loved Caroline’s writing style, character development and scene setting. Caroline is a native Trinidadian and interviewed Venezuelan immigrants to get more of an insight into their experiences and it shows in the way the story of the Palacios has been built.

This is perfect for those who love contemporary fiction with a bit of sting, sass and eye-opening.
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It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I was in, I WAS IN!

We are swept into a year in the life of the extended Palacious family in Trinidad. Venezuelan by birth, but living in Trini as illegal immigrants. The story is told from the view of Yola, one of the daughters of the family. 
They all get caught up in a drama caused by illegal undertakings organised by Celia, Yola's deceased aunt, and are introduced to Ugly, a not very nice character, with his fingers in all the wrong pies. 
He expects the family to all club together by working for him, to run illegal safe houses for immigrants trying to start a new life in Trinidad.
Yola is already missing her aunt more than she could imagine, then has to deal with finding out about infidelities, untruths, and she meets Roman, one of Ugly's henchmen, for whom she develops a real soft spot.
What helps her through a year of struggle, is a manuscript that was penned by her aunt, Yola's only supporter of her writing.
It was funny, dramatic, and I found it addictive by the end!

Many thanks to NetGalley, Harper Collins UK and The Borough Press for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Caroline Mackenzie's offbeat debut novel certainly makes one heck of an impression and is bone-achingly funny about the most serious of issues, the horrors that underpin the global refugee crisis. Some might question whether it is appropriate to treat the desperate and despairing plights of so many in the world with such humour but Mackenzie succeeds in throwing much needed attention on and highlight a topic many would prefer to avert their eyes from. The Palacious family have left the political nightmare that their home in Venezuela had become and made their way as illegal immigrants to settle in Port of Spain in Trinidad. However, they just might have jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire when Aunt Celia dies, and Ugly and his criminal cohorts turn up to inform them of the huge debt that she has left behind and make it clear that they are now expected to pay it off.

Mackenzie presents us with a year in the life of the family as they face one worry and concern after another in a narrative interspersed with diary entries from the now dead Aunt Celia in the narrative. She creates a diverse and vibrant range of characters, larger than life, as Ugly has one of his henchmen, the dangerous Roman keep a close eye on the family. The Palacious's are forced into a range of unpaid 'work' to make good their debts. It is the women that make the deepest impression, such as the one off Aunt Milagros, the deceased Aunt Celia, and the 24 year old Yola, and the hot and heavy feelings of desire that spring up between her and Ugly's man, Roman. This family drama is entertaining, unforgettable and has some eye popping storylines that tackle the refugee crisis in the most surprising of ways. This was an unexpected delight of a read, fun, well written, and I cannot wait to see what the author comes up with next. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.
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The Palacios family have escaped from Venezuela for a new life in Trinidad, but when gangster ‘bad-man’ Ugly and his henchmen show up unannounced to a family barbecue, the family begin a year they won’t forget. Narrated by Yola, the oldest and the smartest, One Year of Ugly is a fizzling firecracker of a book. Not for the fainthearted, but thoroughly enjoyable, the family’s travails at the hands of Ugly (including unremunerated work at a strip club) are lightened throughout by Yola’s frank humour and excerpts from the diaries of her dead and incredibly foul-mouthed Aunt Celia, her role model. I particularly enjoyed the hot and heavy romance between Yola and Roman, Ugly’s enforcer; this could have been cliched but the author writes so beautifully about desire, this was more than a stereotypical bad-boy fantasy. Reminiscent of Junot Diaz but smarter, One Year of Ugly is well worth a read.
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This was such a well written book! It's an important one to look at the life of immigrants at present day. 
I found it also very entertaining, there were times to laugh out loud. Brilliant family life and excellent story telling. 

Thanks a lot to the publisher and NetGalley for this copy.
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This book was an unexpected gem. It dealt with both grief and dealing with impossible situations. 

The family of characters described was so vivid I didn’t want it to end.
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Fast-paced and fun! Plenty of entertaining characters and just the right amount of drama to be enjoyable. This was definitely a surprise read for me and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. A brilliant debut which I would recommend to others.
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Described as the 'most raucous debut of 2020' and 'told with raw, acid humour,' I was desperate to read One Year Of Ugly. I finished it just the other day and I can definitely say it lives up to its reputation! One Year of Ugly is sheer brilliance! 

It tells the story of the lovable Palacios family, who having fled from their home country Venezuela, are now living as illegal immigrants in Trinidad. Told from the point of view of 24 year old Yola, the Palacios's appear to be settling into their new life under the radar. 

But when Yola's Aunt Celia suddenly dies, the family are visited by a local crime lord called Ugly. Aunt Celia kept a massive secret - she owed Ugly thousands. But now Celia is dead, it is now the family that has to repay the debt. 

This sounds pretty dark, but believe me, this book is far from dark. It is hilarious and refreshing. When writing this sensational read Caroline Mackenzie purposely used humour to portray the dangers, hardships and prejudices of being an illegal immigrant - and she does this to great effect.

And then there is Roman who is Ugly's right-hand man. Roman, a dangerous man is charged with keeping a beady eye on the family. Yet the sexual tension between Roman and Yola is explosive. 

I really believe everyone is going to be raving about One Year Of Ugly. Everything about is brilliant. I think there is also talk about it being made into a Netflix series, which will be ace!
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Thank you to Caroline McKenzie, Borough Press and Net Galley for the ARC of ONE YEAR OF UGLY.
I certainly expected a different novel bearing in mind the title but what I got was a roller coaster ride of family saga, criminal characters and a love affair of forbidden fruit. Set against a background of illegal immigration to Trinidad from Venezuela, blackmail and threatened violence, One Year of Ugly was very entertaining with some brilliant characters you couldn't help but champion.
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A great read. Fun, quirky and entertaining, and full of interesting characters. You hope everything can work out for Yola and Roman despite what is happening around them.
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I received a copy of this book via net galley in exchange for an Honest review.

i found it a very difficult book to get into, I restarted it at least 3 times and still had no idea what I was reading. The author says she was writing with humour , I can only say that our idea of humour must be very different as there was nothing remotely funny about this book. Illegal immigrants under appalling duress due to financial difficulty. Made to do things they would never contemplated. Attacked with iron bars and constantly under observance this is far from comical. I hated every minute of it and would not have continued had it not been for a challenge. I would gie it 0 stars if i could but as i cannot it will have to be 1. I won't be reading any more by this author and don't understand how such drivel gets published
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There are very few books that kept me up all night, but with Roman and Yola’s sultry forbidden romance bursting from the pages against a backdrop of ridiculous gangsters and refugees, One Year of Ugly was well worth it. This book is worth its weight in gold, I cackled with laughter throughout and finished with a new life ambition – to ascend to the role of family b*itch. Highly recommend!
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This was a truly surprising book, in a really good way. So surprising that I will not go into any details as I do not want to spoil your enjoyment.

Please take my word that a bunch of Venezuelan refugees smuggled into Trinidad can interact in some very curious, surprising and entertaining ways and that their story deserves you spending your money to discover what on earth I am on about. I will be very surprised if you end up feeling my advice was misplaced. Oh and watch out for the sting in the tail/tale.
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A book a family I will not forget.A look at the life of immigrants in today’s world.This group of characters come alive they had me hysterically laughing as they jump from one problem to the next .This is so well written quirky entertaining.An author I will be following a book I will be recommending.#netgalley#harpercollinsuk
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This was a great first book. There’s too much going on here, which got in the way of the heart of the story. This is my only complaint. It started off strong, I kept highlighting lines and laughing at the Aunt character. But the flow was off, as there was the love interest stuff and the writing, the huge family, them all getting different ‘illegals’. I liked learning about Venezuela- my goodness, I had no idea. It’s an interest back drop. And it picks up and runs at the end. But for the majority, nothing kept me reading or hooked. I would totally look into her next book!
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I absolutely adored this book. It was a different read, I’ve not mead many similar books *this is good ;)* 
I was desperately flipping pages to see how it was all going to pan out. It was well rounded off but I could have continued to read. It was fantastically written. I’ll for sure be on the lookout for more from this author in the future and I hold hope that this isn’t over 🥰
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