ARC review: London Belongs to Me by Jacquelyn Middleton

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After finishing college, Alex Sinclair flees to London to escape her friend’s betrayal and begin her career as a famous playwright. Living with her friend Harry, his posh girlfriend Olivia, and Olivia’s slacker brother Tom, she should have no problem getting established. But things don’t work out quite as well as Alex hopes when Olivia takes an immediate dislike to her and she finds the London theater scene a little harder to break into than expected. Her ever-present anxiety attacks don’t help, and neither does her growing conflict with Olivia. Will Alex persevere, or it is time for her to return home?

I had a really hard time getting into this book. It’s not the plot, because although it was predictable, I thought that was actually pretty well done. It was more the writing. Because the book, especially at the beginning, relies heavily on similes to paint a picture. There were so many that I actually took to highlighting them on my Kindle. Here’s a small assortment:

(Please note that these are from an uncorrected proof, and the final copy may be different.)

Slow walkers, and abandoned suitcases stacked high on carts like a haphazard Hadrian’s Wall, threatened to impede her progress, but she dodged around the obstacles like a Super Bowl-winning running back.
Alex rattled them off like Drake reeling off rhymes.
Like a sprite on a sugar rush, she veered off-course from Heathrow’s luggage carousels.
She rebounded through the herd, clutching the crumpled paper like a Get Out of Jail Free card.
Like a Rottweiler guarding a juicy bone, her expression snarled ‘approach at your own risk.’
Giggling to herself, she wriggled in her seat like a sleep-deprived kid on Christmas morning.
Alex hugged her laptop tightly against her chest like a life preserver and ran for it.
(All of these are before we even hit the 5% mark.)

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of the book. It’s actually been over three months since I finished it, and I thought I’d written a review. (I guess I didn’t.)

I know that there’s a lot of unnecessary angst. I know that the characters are either comically perfect or comically evil, and there is no in-between. I know that I highlighted a lot of passages in which I asked myself how Alex could possibly have graduated from college without a brain in her head.

But at some point, I stopped questioning the writing and Alex’s stupid decisions and tried to enjoy the story. And I did. Somewhat. I mean, this wasn’t the greatest book I read all year, but it definitely wasn’t the worst, either. If you’re into British pop culture references, you’ll probably find some enjoyment here.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC.

Final rating: ★★★☆☆