London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning
Published by: Hot Key Books
Format: ARC e-book
Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I was first drawn to this book because of it’s short timeline. It takes place over one night, and that would probably mean it would be a quick, fun read that could entertain me for a few hours. And I was right! London Belongs to Us is snappy and fast paced, the perfect read to start a summer of reading contemporary books.
P L O T
Sunny, our protagonist, is preparing to have sex with her boyfriend, Mark, on the night her mother is out of town, but finds out that he’s been cheating on her with another girl. Enter two French boys, some drag queens, a rock band and a broom. It all adds up to a long, wild night of goose chase and seeking revenge.
Sometimes, I thought things got a little messy. Sunny was like a pinball, zinging around London all through the night, trying to meet up with Mark. But, the wild things that happened to her pushed the plot along, if a little forcefully. Sunny was quite passive in that way, letting the plot happen to her rather than the other way around.
S E T T I N G
So, obviously, London plays a huge part in the book. At the beginning of each chapter, there’s a time stamp, to let you know how far through the night you are, a place name so you can locate Sunny in London, and a little description of where she is, to give all of us non-Londoners some fun facts about the city. It was charming to read about Chelsea Buns and where Madonna was born. I really love it when a book is firmly grounded in an easy-to-visualise location. I feel like setting isn’t something a lot of contemporary books focus on and if they do, it’s just ‘small town in the middle of nowhere’ kind of thing. In that way, London Belongs To Us is a lot like Anna and the French Kiss. An immersive adventure.
R O M A N C E
Cheating is never a good thing. Whether it’s genuine, or if the characters just think it happened, I normally hate whenever it pops up, but in this book, there was a mystery behind it. I liked that the lack of romance made sure that friendship was more prominent, and looking out for one another was the top priority.
V E R D I C T
I’m giving London Belongs to Us a nice, middling star rating of 3 stars. I enjoyed it, all the lists and pie charts of the evening, the references to RuPaul’s Drag Race that added another star on it’s own, and the racial and sexual diversity of the main cast. But, it wasn’t a permanent favourite, and the plot needed a little more pushing for me.