Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Review: London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning

Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: June 2nd 2016
Source: Review Copy

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Seventeen-year-old Sunny's always been a little bit of a pushover. But when she's sent a picture of her boyfriend kissing another girl, she knows she's got to act. What follows is a mad, twelve-hour dash around London - starting at 8pm in Crystal Palace (so far away from civilisation you can't even get the Tube there) then sweeping through Camden, Shoreditch, Soho, Kensington, Notting Hill . . . and ending up at 8am in Alexandra Palace.

Along the way Sunny meets a whole host of characters she never dreamed she'd have anything in common with - least of all the devilishly handsome (and somewhat vain) French 'twins' (they're really cousins) Jean Luc and Vic. But as this love-letter to London shows, a city is only a sum of its parts, and really it's the people living there who make up its life and soul. And, as Sunny discovers, everyone - from friends, apparent-enemies, famous bands and even rickshaw drivers - is willing to help a girl on a mission to get her romantic retribution.

 Thank you to Hot Key Books for providing me with a review copy of this novel in exchange for my review. I was so very excited to read this novel as Sarra Manning is an amazing writer. Her novel Let's Get Lost was one of my first YA novels and is one that I so want to read again soon, especially after reading London Belongs To Us

This novel centers around Sunny and her discovery that her "oh so perfect and wonderful" boyfriend has cheated on her. Sunny then embarks on a chase through London and its landmarks with two french boys while meeting all manners of characters and ending up on an adventure. 

The characters in this novel were typical of Sarra Manning- bright, entertaining and love-able. 

Sunny was a very relate-able character who was just the right amount of timid and shy to let the reader take her into their heart from the very first page and then fall in love with her more as she grew and progressed through the novel. Sunny was definitely a character I think readers will see a little of themselves in and absolutely adore. 

I loved the portrayal of the relationships in  the novel. From Sunny's strong relationship of trust, loyalty and fun with her best friend Emmeline, to her growing friendship with the Godards- all were portrayed in such a three dimensional way. Also the Godards were hilarious with their big hair and arguing- definitely one of my favourite Manning characters to date. 

Sarra Manning's writing style was so descriptive, vivid and entertaining. From the crazy fun chase through London, to the perfect dialogue scenes. All were so wonderfully written. Although I did find some scenes were unnecessarily dragged out and the book started to lose its pace near the halfway mark, I still enjoyed the story wholeheartedly. 

The style of the novel was very unusual with the pie charts, playlists and the entire novel taking place in one night all added to the enjoyment the reader felt while going on this adventure with Sunny. 

I also really enjoyed the paragraphs informing the reader of the history of some of Londons key places Sunny & the Godard's visited such as Camden, Shoreditch, Notting Hill etc,. I felt it really added to the vivid setting of the novel which at times made me feel as if I was there with Sunny on this adventure.

Sarra Manning's talent for writing is obvious as she weaves so many more serious topics into what reads as a fun contemporary novel yet also allows the reader to stop and think. The scene in which Sunny recalls her father telling her to not let people stereotype her as the "angry black girl" was really poignant and well written. Female friendships are also well written in this novel as we see girls bonding and not tearing each other down  or encouraging internal sexism towards each other. This was so very well presented in this novel. 

 Overall London Belongs To Us is a novel that will inspire you to travel and will definitely make you fall in love with London. A fantastic, high pace road-trip that is laugh out loud funny and addicting while also touching on sexuality, race, feminism, virginity, etc. A wholly entertaining contemporary novel written by one of the queens of UK YA fiction. 

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