Tuesday 7 June 2016

Book Review - London Belongs to Us

Because we're back to our normal schedule (no surprise themed month, dear readers... well, not yet, anyway...), here is a non-Murder Month read to get us back into the swing of things.

Expect, I did read this in Murder Month. I kinda hit a wall, murder wise. I discovered that there is only so much brutally murdered bodies in books I can take before I go "That's it! I need something light, something fun, something where I don't need to think 'Is it you?'." So, when London Belongs to Us came through the door via Hot Key Books (I love random surprise book post!), it just sounded irresistibly fun. And "Fun" is the word I was going for.

London is filled with lives, filled with untold stories. And here is one story. In it, we follow Sunny who, after she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, goes across London to find him and figure out what happened. What happens is a mad 12 hours through London's nightlife where Sunny meets a mix cast of characters that reflects London vibrant life, all willing to help with one girl's romantic retribution.

But will the Sunny who started this mad journey at 8pm at Crystal Palace be the same girl 12 hours later at Alexandra Palace?

This book, in a very odd way, reminds me of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Not because they are very similar - they aren't. Believe me - they are nothing alike. Expect both books are love letters. While Fangirl is a love letter to fandom, London Belongs to Us is a love letter to the city of London. You can tell that the author care deeply and passionately about these subjects.

Ok, let me get back to London Belongs to Us.

This is a fun, summery book. I can imagine some of you guys reading this on a beach over the summer. Or maybe over the weekend before the Notting Hill Carnival. It has that sunny (pardon the pun) feel that will make you smile while you read, even though this book is dealing with first love and possible first heartbreak.

But, saying that though, this book isn't a straightforward "first love" and "boy/friend issues". While these elements are important to the story (and, on my copy, this is what the book's focus is), I believe this book is more a "Find Yourself" story. Or, in the words of Chistina Yang and Meredith Grey from Grey's Anatomy:

This is mainly a story of a girl finding herself and claiming herself to be the young woman she should be. An individual, rather than X's girlfriend or Y's best friend... It's about about standing in your truth and embracing who you are, I feel.

Another thing I really enjoy about this book is how diverse this book is. Some of you will say "Well, this is a book about London, of course it's going to be diverse". But it never felt false. There wasn't a moment I felt like the diversity of characters was the author going "Ok, I need to tick this box to reflect London's mixed culture". It felt very natural to me.

There is one or two things that did annoy me a little. The main thing that might annoy you guys, I feel, is that, at times, things happened and it felt very coincidental. Very "She was in the right place and the right moment and this happened!". But over the course of 12 hours, at times, this felt a tiny bit far-fetched. Not that I'm complaining but I sense a few of you will go "Really? Really?!"

But this is a fun, summer read that you can speed through over a sunny bank holiday weekend.

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