Tuesday 17 April 2012


Hale knew, before he had been in Brighton three hours, that they meant to murder him...

Ok, so I promise not all of these posts are going to be about a location that starts with the letters BRI... Promise, this is the last one. I SWEAR.

Brighton, Brighton, Brighton...what can I say. 'London by the sea' as some folk might call it? This city on the south coast of England is famous for it's hipster-ish qualities, alternative vibe and just general trendiness. So, my reasons for including a location that is just shy of an hour's train journey from where I live at the moment?

Well, one hour on the train does still technically count as travelling. Fact.

Secondly, despite have lived in London on and off for the last nine years, I have never been to Brighton *hangs head in shame*. I know, it's ridiculous and embarrassing and I'm not quite sure why. I'm 99 percent sure I would love it there, but I guess it's that old saying all those people say (you know the ones), something about what's on you own doorstep and that you might over look it, or something. Ok, maybe there isn't a saying. Well, there should be. Or I should be able to remember it.

So, why a literary tour of Brighton? Well, only for the reason that I'm planning on going there in the next couple of weeks and it's probably the only place I'll talk about this month that I will actually visit in the near future. And I just wanted to write a bit about these books. So there. Well, I've picked a few books to talk about, not all of them I've had the good fortune to read (yet). The first is probably the most famous Brighton related book. And when I wrote the first book review I'd written since my school days last year, it was about this classic. So still fairly fresh in my memory then (hopefully).

It is, of course, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene.

And what a book. It has it's faults in terms of some of the characterisation, but when it comes to utterly compelling villains, teenage psychopath Pinky takes some beating.

The 1930s Brighton here is a bleak, tacky affair, where people fall victim to their weaknesses and they is always someone looming to prey on the vulnerable.

And the most amazing, most fabulous thing about this? It has THE BEST opening and closing lines ever. Seriously, they're just magnificent.

I've never since the original film adaptation. You know, the Dickie Attenborough one. Yes, him out of Jurassic Park. But I so want to after watching the more recent 1960s set one. (Looks good, but god, it was LONG). (And felt even longer when you're watching it in an empty room, sitting on a very uncomfortable plastic chair after all you normal furniture has been shipped half way across the world...)

So, if you've never read Graham Greene, you love classics and you love YA, then I would thoroughly recommend this - it goes for the extreme end of the teen angst spectrum but is defintely worth it.

Sugar RushBrighton Book Number 2 - Sugar Rush by Julie Burchill.

I can't believe I still haven't read this. I've been planning to for my YA classics month coming up in the not too distant future (ok, I haven't actually pinned down a month yet, but I'm guessing it will be closer to the end of the year then the beginning). In terms of UKYA, I would argue it has the reputation as a bit of a modern classic, with the Channel 4 adaptation from a few years ago gaining a slight cult status. Anyway, it's written by Julie Burchill, who you can find out a bit more about here. Trust me, you have to read this *lifts jaw up off floor*. To call her controversial is a slight understatement. Famous journalist and 'militant feminist' she appears to have pissed off pretty much everyone in the last 30-odd years. Having not read the book myself, I can't comment on the whole Brighton aspect of it all, but I know this is a bit of a milestone in LGBT literature and any book considered a 'milestone' is worth a read, in my book. (cue cheesy comedy drum roll)

When I started writing this, I was mulling the depths of my memory for some more Brighton-set YA, THEN - light bulb moment - of course, not that long ago, I read...

Let's Get LostBrighton Book Number 3 - Let's Get Lost by Sarra Manning.

Apart from being one of my favourite titles of a book ever, this has a great mix of comedy, snark and tragedy, following queen bitch Isobel as she comes to terms with an event from the past that's been haunting her and the fact that she has fallen for a slightly-less-than-acceptable older guy. I can't remember whether the location gets that much of a look in, apart from all the trendy references, but I love books about bad girls turned good(ish). And it has an awesome cover.

So, I'm fairly sure calling Brighton 'London by the sea' doesn't do it anywhere near enough justice. Maybe I'll go there, fall in love with it, move there and write a book set there. One day, Anna...One Day...

...She walked rapidly in the thin June sunlight towards the worst horror of all.


  1. So I haven't been to Brighton or read any of the books you mentioned, but Let's Get Lost looks really good. Awesome post--I really need to visit the UK one of these days.

    1. Yes, The UK is great, but I am biased ;)I would recommend Sarra Manning books - she has a really great sense of humour

  2. I've been to London but never to Brighton but I loved this post because I know a few vegans who live in Brighton and I'm sure they'd love this post!

    Also, I have a Sara Manning book but it's Nobody's Girl, looking forward to reading it and the one you mention as well!

    1. Nobody's Girl is great too - I read it a few months back and was going to review it for travel month, but can't find a copy to refresh my memory!

  3. I've never read Julie Burchill (what a bio) or Sarra Manning before, but these look like good places to start. I've been waiting for Adorkable as my first Manning book, but Let's Get Lost is available in the States so I may start there instead.

    Take pics of Brighton, Anna!!


  4. Will do! The weather has been so rubbish over here the last couple of weeks - just waiting for a sunny day and then I'll hop on a train and go!

  5. I'd have never considered looking at books set in Brighton! I guess it's because it's so near. Would have never realised Let's Get Lost was set in Brighton. Love that book and Sarra Manning of course.

    Still need to read Sugar Rush. It's just one of those books I keep meaning to read...

    1. It's been a while since I read Let's Get Lost and only remembered that it was set in Brighton when I was half way through writing this post!