Thank you so much Kirkwall Books and Jacquelyn Middleton for sending me your book for review! I settled into this cozy read right away and fell in love with all the characters within a few chapters. I lost myself in London with Alex and her friends and did not want to come back! An endearing story about self discovery against the odds in a new city, many readers will surely fall in love with Alex and the gang. I rate this contemporary, new adult book 4 out of 5 stars!
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.
An instant connection to the main character of any book always wins me over. Alex Sinclair is no exception. A nerd, a fangirl, in love with London, eats all the cheese, and struggles with anxiety, yup I can certainly relate. The fact that she is also a playwright is really interesting. We often see characters who write books or are actresses, but the playwright aspect is more unique and I liked all the theater nods and history. The diverse cast that makes up this book are each in their own way a fun addition to the book. Without Lucy or Freddie this story would not be the same. Lucy is so spunky and unfiltered that she brings a raw element to the book. Freddie is too funny and I love seeing what he has to say next. Not to mention Mark who may just be a new book boyfriend for me, swoon! Add into the mix the girl who resembles a high school enemy that you love to hate and I think you have your bases covered.
I loved the writing and the ease in which the story tucks you in and pulls you along. Every bit of detail of the London sights and feeling made me feel like I was at the pub with this group of friends. The struggles Alex went through along the way were no small feat and it made me think what I would do if I just up and left, wanting to start over somewhere completely new. I also liked that topics such as anxiety and panic attacks were addressed because I feel that there isn’t always enough discussion on these topics that affect so many people.
While I did appreciate mental health issues being addressed, I wished it wasn’t addressed in such a negative way at some parts. For example, as if it was some huge secret to have panic attacks and people wouldn’t like Alex if she let them know she suffered from them. Yet, being able to connect with a character that goes through that was certainly comforting and relatable.
I also didn’t love how when things would go wrong there was almost always a neatly wrapped up answer to the problem. When Alex had to move out, conveniently her friends apartment opens up instead of having to get a better job that she should have been looking into and figuring out something on her own. Or when her computer is broken, well here’s a new one for Christmas three days later. An old dress worn once before has to be worn again on New Years, nope here’s that new dress you wanted, etc, etc. Life isn’t always wrapped up so easily in little red bows and I wish every time something went wrong in this book it wasn’t solved so conveniently.
Overall this book sucked me in and I didn’t want to leave the streets of London. I closed this book feeling as though I had made a new group of friends. These characters felt so genuine and real that I know they’ll stick with me for a while. I can’t wait to dive into the second book following Alex Sinclair and the gang and see what’s in store for all of them next!