Review: What It Feels Like For A Girl by Paris Lees

Title: What It Feels Like For A Girl

Author: Paris Lees

Pages: 254 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

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 pissed off to Turkey like Shirley Valentine. Sick of all the people in Hucknall who shuffle about 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 escapes into Nottingham’s kinetic underworld and discovers 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.

Bold, poignant and riotously funny, 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.

The Review

I first came across Paris Lees on Question Time a few years ago. She spoke so passionately about being trans and the lack of visibility for the trans community. She highlighted how she was the first trans person ever to appear on question time and how about trans people are talked at and about but never included in the conversation which crucially had such a negative impact on how the trans community are perceived by society. She was, quite frankly, amazing.

Her autobiography, What It Feels Like For a Girl is pretty damn good too. Paris Lees has led a pretty interesting life. In her no holds barred account of what it is like to grow up in Nottingham whilst dealing with her sexuality and becoming the person she was born to be you really are taken on a massive emotional journey.

Through all the terrible things that Paris Lees has to go through you have no doubt that she will survive. She is a survivor. A fighter. And to be perfectly honest, after I finished the book I just wanted to be her friend. I feel that there is much more of this story to tell and I really hope that Lees does a follow up because besides leading such a fascinating life she also writes incredibly well.

What It Feels Like for a Girl is one that I would happily reread several times over.

What It Feels Like For a Girl by Paris Lees is available now.

For more information regarding Paris Lees (@parislees) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit

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