Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review: London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

 
It's no secret I'm obsessed with London. I always have been, and the obsession grew after my first visit in 2015. I love books, movies, and TV shows set in England, and as soon as I see the word 'London' or see an iconic London scene on a cover, I'm so there. I couldn't wait to read London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton, and I had so much fun seeing London through Alex Sinclair's eyes.

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London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton
Series: Standalone
Published: October 14th, 2016
Publisher: Kirkwall Books
394 pages (paperback)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Source: Won from Book Baristas
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}


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.

 
 
As an Anglophile, I was curious about London Belongs to Me from the moment I heard about it. Throw in the beautiful cover, and I didn’t even need to read the synopsis to know I needed this book. When a few friends read it and said it would be something I’d love, especially because of the nerdy fangirl references, I knew this book was written for people like me, and I was right. London Belongs to Me made my London-loving fangirl heart so happy.

I loved Alex and connected with her easily. Besides a mutual love of London, we’re both fangirls and writers. I’ve never had panic attacks *knocks on wood* but I do have anxiety, and I admired Alex’s strength and bravery taking off to London on her own to pursue her dreams. I appreciated that things weren’t all sunshine and roses for Alex. She had a lot of struggles, both internal and external, and faced plenty of obstacles on her journey. I was outraged on her behalf at some of the things she went through, and I rooted for her so hard, wanting to see her happy and successful. Middleton did a great job of drawing me in and making me care. I felt like Alex was a real person - like she could be a close friend, or even be me.

Besides Alex, London Belongs to Me was full of a wonderfully fleshed-out cast of characters. I adored Alex’s friends Lucy and Freddie and thought they added so much to the story. The three of them together were hilarious, and I liked that their interactions ranged from funny to touching and everything in between. They had disagreements and misunderstandings like normal friends, but they loved each other unconditionally and were always willing to work through any issues they had. I also loved that they were just as nerdy as Alex; all the Doctor Who and Sherlock references made me squee like the fangirl I am. I loved that Alex and Lucy met online and formed a really strong bond; this was just one of the many things I connected to since some of my closest friends are people I’ve met online. I also loved Mark, the hot Irish love interest (seriously, I feel like Ms Middleton peered inside my head and took everything I love and tied it all together in a book). I wish we’d seen more of him, and of him and Alex together, yet I understand why we didn’t. London Belongs to Me isn’t a Romance - it’s a coming-of-age story about self-discovery, and Alex needed to do a lot of things on her own to find her way and figure out her place in the world.

Fun, funny, and engaging, with fantastic characters, a great setting, and an interesting plot, London Belongs to Me sucked me in from beginning to end. This sparkling debut has me impressed with Middleton’s skill as a writer and as a storyteller, and I can’t wait to read more from her.






Have you read London Belongs to Me? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? What do you fangirl/boy over? Do you have a city you love reading about?
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