Bust out your London maps! Needless to say, the city’s most central to London Belongs to Us. Anyone who lives in or has ever been to London is bound to appreciate the landmarks that the characters pass through in this book. I’ve never set foot onto the capital of the UK, so I might’ve derived greater joy if it had been set in Geneva, Paris, Rome, Berlin or another big city I have been to. Nonetheless, I appreciated the sentiment behind the heavy focus on the locale.
Time travel in books is my weakness. I used to actively seek them out as a kid. Nowadays reading about such stories feels like visiting old friends. Sadly, The Girl from Everywhere didn’t quite have enough of it. The setting of The Girl from Everywhere was predominantly Honolulu 1884. There were glimpses of India, New York and China from various eras but not a lot happened in these places. Being stuck in Hawaii for so long gave rise to a slower moving plot than I had anticipated.
Seven Ways We Lie was very ambitious. With seven main characters a lot could go wrong: unresolved plot lines, not enough depth, loss of focus and characters that might be too similar. I’m glad to say that Seven Ways We Lie didn’t suffer from any of these shortcomings. In fact, the choice to integrate so many characters’ perspectives worked!
Books set in university that aren’t entirely pre-occupied with romance are surprisingly tough to find. During my own undergraduate studies I wished for so many more but had to make do with books set in high school. Maybe “make do” sounds like I didn’t enjoy those books but I did. It’s just that the university setting tends to be rather neglected. That’s why I was pretty excited to learn that Counting Stars featured university students.
When it comes to contemporary fiction, I love books with protagonists who have ambition and passion for something. Cut the Lights fully delivered in that department. Drama and theatre were the main focus and very little detracted from that. I think in part that stemmed from the shortness of the book. The length didn’t allow for much else beyond theatre, which means there were no unnecessary distractions.