Book Review: London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

Jacquelyn Middleton’s book London Belongs to Me opens with a young American aspiring playwright, Alex Sinclair, arriving in London fresh from graduating college. Her luggage, however, does not arrive, and things just keep going downhill for poor Anglophile Alex. Though she loves London’s culture and history, her initial flatmates are not the best of friends, and she makes a rival her very first day.

London Belongs to Me is fairly well written, though there are some discrepancies. The novel is mainly from the point of view of Alex, who grew up in Florida, but it is littered with British spellings and slang–something that would have been believable had Alex herself used such language. However, the character stuck primarily with American terminology, a point that is even referenced later in the book. As someone who has worked closely with British writers and knows the differences, I found it more than a little distracting.

The point of view occasionally shifted as well, and while this does not bother me when the change is intentional and well-defined, there were several points in the book where Alex’s point of view suddenly became someone else’s without warning then slipped back again. Things would happen through another character’s eyes that Alex couldn’t possibly have seen, then the reader would be back with Alex. It was a tad jarring.

The character of Alex was something of a doormat for most of the book, letting herself get pushed around and clinging to old habits and hangups. It wasn’t until she finally hooked up with her main crush that she opened up and became a strong character, which was a bit sad–especially when one considers that Alex prefers and admires strong female characters. Until she finds that One True Love, she spent much of her time moaning and moping–not very appealing in a main character.

Overall the book was a decent read, the above-mentioned distractions notwithstanding. The characters were otherwise rich and well-rounded, and the story moved along at a fairly steady pace. The descriptions of London really took me there. Though I liked the references to pop and geek culture, the constant use of brand names was a bit of a distraction as well … Perhaps a little too much description at times? Nothing to soil the flow of the story, though.

I would recommend this book to anyone who feels left out or bossed around. The messages about finding out who your true friends are and finding your place in the world are powerful and well thought out. Besides, what nerdy girl wouldn’t want to read about another nerdy girl trying to make it on her own abroad in her favorite city?


  1. Just finished reading this on Kindle, really enjoyed it! I found myself frustrated with the heroine a bit near the beginning, but when I came to appreciate the anxiety issues that the character had, and that made me want to root for her all the more. The writing really put me in London, scenes were painted with great descriptions – I never found myself lost in the narrative/perspective at all – it flowed pretty seamlessly I thought. Plus the friends/secondary characters were all well fleshed out and very likeable (with a few exceptions )

    Also, the reviewer seems to have missed something – the writer Jacqueline Middleton is from Canada, so the author uses Canadian spellings throughout 🙂 British & Canadian spellings are basically the same spellings I think, Margaret Atwood always uses Canadian spellings too, so I’m cool with that, didn’t really take me out of the story 🙂 (Middelton actually makes a joke about it in the acknowledgements in the final pages of the ebook!)

  2. I read this book last week and have been waiting to see reviews. I loved it! Flicking through it now, (OK, I’m reading it again), yeah… I thought so, you’ve got the POV wrong. This story is written in 3rd person omniscient POV. Recalling my English teacher last semester, 3rd person omniscient means the narrator can know the thoughts and views of ALL the characters in a scene, not just the main protagonist — in this case, Alex. If it was written in 1st person… or 3rd person limited POV, then it would seem head jumpy… but it’s not, if you understand 3rd person omniscient POV. 🙂 I remember only one big change in perspective, when Olivia checked her laptop. This confusion aside, I agree with you saying it was refreshing to see a geeky girl finding true friends and her place in the world. Highly recommended as a great geek girl read.

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