Experienced by Kate Young

Experienced by Kate Young is billed as a sapphic romantic comedy. It is a late coming of age story, about Bette, a woman who came out much later in life than most. At almost 30, she is super happy in her relationship with Mei, the first woman she has ever been with, and now understands what she has been missing all along. Living a happy life in her London flat, surrounded by friends and fun, a relationship is all she needs to feel complete. But Mei has other plans. She thinks they should take a break, allow Bette to get some experience and then come back to her. It just might be fun for Bette to gain more experience, right? Bette will do anything that Mei tells her to, so she agrees, as long as it means she can still be with Mei in 6 months. So, she goes along with the plan, how hard can it be right? If she loves this woman, and she does, she can do this little thing. 

Bette signs up for the dating apps and starts trying out the “no strings attached” style of relationship, even though it is not what she wants. But it is what Mei wants, so she goes with it. Along the way, she is learning to understand herself and find her community. This book has many levels and layers. Bette’s best friend and flat mate Ash is so sweet and always has great advice for Bette. It also has some really sexy scenes. More than that, Experienced goes a little deeper into some of the struggles of family acceptance, small towns, and religion. It’s also very modern and full of cultural references, and I caught myself laughing at some of the cultural mentions, seeing myself in Young’s words: “She could hear Adrienne, the YouTube yoga woman, telling her to take the deepest breath you’ve taken all day and she tried it, over and over, until her head felt cleaned out. Empty.” 

An enjoyable read about finding out who you really are, and learning to accept yourself where you are at … great for anyone into literary fiction romance with a little sapphic spice.

The book might have a bit of a predictable romance arc, but it also is an enjoyable read about finding out who you really are, and learning to accept yourself where you are at. It is a late coming of age charmer and would be great for anyone into literary fiction romance with a little sapphic spice.

Kate Young is a writer and cook, whose award-winning Little Library Cookbooks feature food inspired by beloved works of literature. After a sunny Australian childhood (spent indoors reading books) she moved to London, which suited her much better. She now lives in a converted mill in a Gloucestershire town. Experienced is her first novel.

Publisher: Penguin Random House (June 4, 2024)
Paperback 5″ x 7″ | 384 pages
ISBN: 9780143137986

Laurie Burns is an English as additional language teacher to immigrants, literacy volunteer and voracious reader living in Dartmouth.

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