August 18, 2017 | Posted by Victoria in Book Reviews | 9 Comments

Genres: Contemporary, New Adult
by Kirkwall Books
Format: Paperback
Goodreads | Amazon
3.5 Stars
Source: Purchased

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 ». 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?

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  1. I have got to read this book! I’ve heard good things about this for a while but I have no idea about how nerdy Alex is and that she has anxiety. Definitely going to pick this up as soon as I have the time now! Also, anything that’s set in London is an immediate plus for me!

    -Monica @ Tomes Project

    • Awesome, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Alex’s anxiety, and the fact that the book was set in London were two of the main reasons I picked this book up.

  2. Ooh, lovely review Victoria. This sounds like a great book. It’s going right onto my wish list. I struggle and get frustrated with characters who withhold information or lie for such a long time in stories so that would probably bug me but not enough to keep me from reading it. I love being a nerd and being in fandoms and loving fictional characters. It’s a huge part of who I am.

    • Thank you! Yeah, I was getting frustrated with them but other than that I loved the story so it was easy to get over my frustration and keep reading.

  3. Liv

    London was a cool city when I lived there. I hope you get to see it for yourself someday. I really enjoyed London Bound (Chase Brothers, #1) and London Calling (Chase Brothers, #2) by Nana Malone. Amy Daws also has a book entitled London Bound, but I preferred her sports romance Challenge (Harris Brothers, #1) to London Bound (London Lovers, #3) which didn’t inspire me to read any of the other standalone novels in that series. However, I do plan to read more of Nana Malone novels and to continue with Endurance (Harris Brothers, #2) by Amy Daws eventually. Happy traveling via reading! =}

  4. Megan McDade

    I love when a city feels like character. I do have this book so maybe I need to read it sooner than I was going to. I haven’t read a book in a while where the romance wasn’t the main focus don’t get me wrong I like that but it would be nice to read a book about friendship and a girl and her career. Great review!

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