Book Review of London Belongs To Us by Sarra Manning

London Belongs To Us is nothing short of a love letter to the city. It’s an unapologetic celebration of all of the areas of London and the things that make the city unique. It’s also a fun filled across the city one night story that you won’t want to miss.

Sunny is having a lovely afternoon with some friends at a picnic in South London when she receives a text with a picture of her boyfriend Mark kissing another girl. Upset and wanting to find out what’s going on she leaves her friends and starts the trip back across from South London to the North to find Mark and get her answers. Except everything is stacked against Sunny getting back to her beloved North London. The tube is closed and a dreaded replacement bus service appears the only option until the Goddard’s, two unlikely French rescuers from the picnic who know her Mum take it upon themselves to accompany her to find Mark. Off they all set on their mopeds.

The trouble is that Mark won’t stay still. Every time he calls Sunny or sends her a text he’s always gone to another bar or is on a waiting list for a party that he has to get to right now. Sunny is always one step behind and he won’t wait for her. Her wish for answers and fear that their relationship might be over turns to outrage and a newfound confidence as the night goes on.

The Sunny we start the night with is not the one we end it with. She is transformed through the story in a series of laugh out loud scenarios. She’s incredible and lets her friends (old and new) see her true self and gets into some entertaining situations. Not least that she spends most of the night holding onto a broom that a friend gives her early in the night to replace a ruined one.

For if it were not bad enough that her boyfriend has kissed another girl, her Mum and step dad are out of town for a week and coming back tomorrow. She has to clean the house, remove the damage from the BBQ the day before and hide the evidence of all of the things her Mum told her not to do.

It’s an incredibly fun read and a great insight into friendships, confidence and what it feels like to date someone who doesn’t see your true colours or value who you are. It’s a wonderful and exciting view of London, whether you know the city well or not. You really feel Sunny’s passion for the city by the end. The London from the book is real London. Long streets, takeaway places and sparkling lights. The dirty and the clean, the rowdy and the quiet. It all makes up London and Sunny celebrates it all. Her city feeling like home.

It’s everything you want from a teenage romance. A real adventure captured all in a single night which makes it so much more exciting than if it had been spread across a few days. It really gives a sense of this being a life changing night for some of these characters. It was also refreshing to read a romance story that was about the breakup rather than two people meeting. Sunny does not need a man to find out who she is.

The book’s additional characters are great too. Best friend Emmeline who is a tough roller derby player but who is shy telling a girl that she likes her. Jean-Luc and Vic Goddard the iconic pair who teenagers whisper about but no one really knows. Are they brothers, lovers or even French? It gives them such an air of mystery. Their descent into French at times of frustration and insisting on jostling each other constantly is very entertaining.

This is a short, fun read. If you’re in the mood for humour and empowerment this is the book you should read next. You’ll be rooting for Sunny and rushing through the book to find out if she will ever find Mark and what she’ll do if she does. I really enjoyed reading this book.


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