Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
by Kirkwall Books
Goodreads | Amazon
A New City A New Start. Same Old Demons.
Your flight is now boarding! Join Alex Sinclair for a life-changing, trans-Atlantic journey. London Belongs to Me is a coming-of-age story about friendship, following your dreams, and learning when to let go … and when to hang on.
Meet Alex, a recent college graduate from Tallahassee, Florida in love with London, pop culture, and comic cons. It’s not easy being twenty-one-years-old, and Alex has never been the most popular girl. She’s an outsider, a geeky fangirl … with dreams of becoming a playwright in a city she’s loved from afar, but never visited. Fleeing America after a devastating betrayal, she believes London is where she’ll be understood, where she belongs. But Alex’s past of panic attacks and broken relationships is hard to escape. When her demons team up with a jealous rival determined to destroy her new British life, Alex begins to question everything: her life-long dream, her new friends, and whether London is where she truly belongs.
I recently read I See London, I See France, a book about two best friends who travel around Europe together. Since then I’ve been in the mood to read more travel books, so I picked this up and dove in.
London Belongs to Me is a New Adult contemporary following our main character Alex as she moves to London after college to pursue her dream of becoming a playwright. When she gets to London, it’s nothing like she expected, her luggage is lost; her room is ridiculously small; and Harry, her only friend is always busy, so she doesn’t have a support system during this new transitional period.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the setting: London. I love the way the city is described, so vividly and beautifully, the way Alex feels about it adds to the excitement and beauty of the city. I’ve never been to London, but the writing was so descriptive I felt like I was there.
I also really liked how Alex’s anxiety was portrayed. It is a part of her, and something she has to live with, but doesn’t hate that about herself. Throughout the books Alex talks about how having a good support system helps decrease the amount of panic attacks she has. I think this part helps bring awareness to the fact that if you have support, they can help you control your anxiety a little bit, just by knowing you have people there for you. Once she gets settled in London with her new friends and moves out of a toxic situation, her panic attacks decrease because of her environment and friends. She still gets anxious, but it doesn’t escalate to a panic attack as often. I’m so glad books are starting to include characters with mental illnesses, and letting readers know that it’s okay to have an illness, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of.
My absolute favorite part of the book is seeing Alex struggle to figure out what she’s doing with her life now that she’s out of school. She struggles with her decision to move to London, and constantly doubts that she’ll have a career in the theater. I relate to this so much. I recently graduated from college, and while I know what career I want, applying to graduate programs and finding a new city is kind of terrifying. I love that I read about a character experiencing the same things I am, and how she had to put herself out there to get ahead, that really resonated with me.
“Destiny may sprinkle clues along your path, but it’s up to you to act on them.”
Alex and Mark’s relationship is refreshing, and feels so natural. It’s nice to read a book where there’s no insta love. The two start out as friends, and progress naturally to a romantic relationship. Unlike most books I’ve read recently, Alex’s relationship is not the focus of the book, there are more important things to her than her relationship status. Career and friendships are a bigger part of the story than the romantic relationship, and for that I was happy. This seemed very realistic to me, because yeah having a significant other is great, but your world doesn’t revolve around that person.
There’s no way I can write this review without talking about how nerdy Alex is. I loved the parts of the book when one of Alex’s superhero shirts was described, or she made comments about Doctor Who or Sherlock. I’m not in any of those fandoms, but I can relate because I also consider myself to be a nerd and in love with so many different fictional characters and books.
While I did enjoy the book overall, the one thing I didn’t like was how Alex and her friends handled the situation with the antagonist, Olivia. Everything could have been so easily resolved if Alex would have told Harry or the playwright Isabella View Spoiler »that Olivia plagiarized Alex’s script « Hide Spoiler. Even after listening to the reasons Alex’s friends gave for withholding this information from Harry and Isabella, I still didn’t see why it would be better to keep it to herself. I get frustrated when characters decide to withhold information/lie about stuff that could solve the problem easily and quickly.
I really enjoyed this book because I relate to Alex in so many ways and I loved reading about people traveling to other countries. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a fun and nerdy contemporary. I’m definitely picking up Jacquelyn Middleton’s next book! As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been into these types of travel books recently and want to read more, what are some of yalls recommendations?