Rating: 4 Stars
London Belongs To Me by Jacquelyn Middleton is a book about growing up, finding your place in the world, and learning to overcome you shortcomings in order to do so. I stumbled across this book via Instagram and it just so happened to be on sale, so I bought it. Isn’t that how all great love stories start? I thought so. I’m a huge nerd so needless to say I related to Alex. I also have anxiety so I related to Alex on that front as well.
The plot of this book follows recent college graduate Alex Sinclair; who after being betrayed by those closest to her decided to pack up everything she had and move to London. Waiting for her in England is her Father who lives up north and her best friend Harry who has offered a place for her to stay until she gets her sea legs under her.
This book is a dichotomy in that nothing works out for Alex while simultaneously everything works out for her.
Alex is an honest and she tends to be upfront about most things; because of that this book avoids a lot of the secret keeping and backstabbing that a lot of stories like this suffer from. This tended to keep stress from building up in the book. Alex is also a nerd with anxiety and both of these things were portrayed well. The things that trigger Alex’s panic attacks make sense as do her feelings before during and after these attacks. She doesn’t let her attacks dictate her life though. She still goes after the things she loves although sometimes more hesitantly than someone without anxiety might and she’s open about the things she’s passionate about.
I also felt that Alex’s relationships with her friends and family were honest and real. Apart from a few things which I’ll mention in the dislikes section Alex’s relationships felt honest and true. Her new best friend Lucy who was once and online friend demonstrates home friendships are based on more than seeing each other all the time, her relationship with Freddie shows how friend groups can grow and change, her friendship\more with Mark shows how being friends is the best basis for any relationship, and her friendship with Harry shows how you can know one side of a person but not another and still care about them. Also her relationship with her Dad and Step-mom show how family can be a choice as much as something you’re born into. Then there’s her newfound closeness with her grandmother which shows it’s never too late to bring people you love into your life and her estrangement from her Mother that demonstrates how not all family relationships are healthy ones.
The mean girl aspect of the story was definitely something I didn’t enjoy at all. I know every story needs a villain but Olivia was so needlessly hateful it made me sick at times. Not to mention the way she poisoned everyone around her and very few people seemed to notice. I understand that not all women are nice to each other but Olivia felt more like a caricature of an actual person than a believable character who the author wanted me to believe could be a person and for this reason I sometimes had trouble even caring about Alex being attacked by her.
While I admire Alex, the way she tries to quit more than once over the course of the story but then still gets her way in the end irked me. If it wasn’t for all the friends and family who pushed her to keep going her perfect happily ever after never would have happened and that bothered me me. Yes she worked for it and yes I’m glad the villain didn’t prevail but the ending could have been less fairytale and more realistically beautiful.
All in all I enjoyed London Belongs to Me and I will hopefully get around to reading the sequel. My inner geek enjoyed every second of this book and my anxiety helped me understand the story on an emotional level. I liked the characters and England was such a perfect setting. I could taste and feel every little aspect of this book and despite my minor misgivings I would recommend this book to anyone who would like a relatable, light, contemporary read with a touch of gloom.
Until next time, stay passionate and excelsior!
Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/michalo/