What they Say: Boy meets girl…
Alex Bradley can’t help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.
Girl meets boy…
Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.
Girl gets deported?
It’s going to be a bumpy ride, one she’s dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.
From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?
Funny, addictive and always honest, this is a love letter to London, friendship and the unexpected from the author of the bestselling The Best Thing I Never Had.
The Review: I’m afraid I’ve been sitting on this one a long, long time. A huge pity considering at the time I wanted to talk about it, tell everyone that it was one of those reads that was perfect for locking yourself away from the world for and just settling down and enjoying. Then again, at least it will remind people it’s out there and one to go for!
As you can see from above, we meet Alex Bradley, sleepwalking from day to day, in love with someone who does not return his affections, and not really feeling his job in the Immigration department. The book grabbed me straight away, as Alex appeared vividly in front of my very eyes. I loved that the author not only put us in his shoes, but allowed us to read a file as he read, containing a letter requesting that a deportation order not be served. We got to hear Alex’s disillusionment with the system in general, and see how people become faceless numbers after they are victims of assumptions made about their lives and so either tick the boxes or don’t.
Meanwhile we meet Nadia (Nadezha) , stressed out because she is sure she is to be arrested and deported at any time. We hear her hopes and dreams in London, and see how she is living her life in a way that will let her experience as much as possible as she knows her time is limited. The thing that grabbed me the most was how we got to see her through Home Office’s eyes and then experience the true Nadia. If Alex was vivid, then Nadia was painted in technicolour. She shone and jumped off the page, and I nicely settled into life with her and her band of friends who were also bright and interesting, with a loyalty and devotion that was so lovely.
This book contains a fair amount of coincidences which are very nicely done. The meeting of Alex and Nadia in the first place could be a ‘oh come on’ moment and yet it wasn’t at all for me. There were misunderstandings and mix-ups that were really well done and I was carried along by the story-line of Nadia, trying to show Alex how to enjoy life, while she prepared for the end of hers as she knows it. There are twists and turns, the pacing is great, the book lively, fun, enjoyable and intelligent. My only gripe would be with the ending which for some reason was just suddenly ‘there,’ it was as if it were an afterthought. All in all ‘Somewhere only we know’ will be predictable for some, not for others. Me? I loved it. Highly recommended.