Huge thanks to Liana and Carla for giving me the opportunity to review Cities.
Cities by Carla de GuzmanGenre: Romance, Contemporary
Published November 30th 2014 by Midnight Books
AMAZON | CREATESPACE
Celia has dreams.
She dreams of going to Seoul for that scholarship she never took, of leaving everything behind and moving to New York.
In all those dreams, she finds herself attached to Benedict, the boy she has always loved, who didn’t love her back.
Ben believes in parallel worlds.
Worlds where the things you didn’t do come true—worlds where he went to London and fell in love with Celia, where he shows up on the day she needed him most. He believes that dreams are glimpses into that parallel world, and it’s not a coincidence that Celia’s been having them too.
It’s the day of Ben’s wedding, in the middle of a typhoon in Manila. How will these dreams and unmade decisions change their lives? Will they bring them closer together, or just drive them further apart?
"I wish I was someone else, somewhere or some-when else," Ben said. Celia felt something pull at her for a second, but ignored it as she tossed their ice cream into the trash. "Maybe you and I could have had a better first meeting. Maybe you would never hate me."
"Aigoo. What makes you think I hate you, laser breath?" Celia teased, tucking her hands into her pockets. Ben took
the opportunity to lean against her, his forehead on her shoulder as he folded his body against her. It surprised Celia that physical displays of affection were apparently no issue in public. People were walking right past them. Ben smiled.
"I don't," he said. "I just wanted to see if you....liked me."
Then he looked up at her, his big, puppy dog eyes melting right through her, her immense affection for him surging inside her. She remembered that stolen kiss from the other day, and it made her smile.
"Oppa," she said seriously, pulling away to make him sit up and look right into her eyes. “I do.”
Ben hadn't smiled this much in his entire life, but he couldn't say that it was a bad thing exactly. He took Celia's small face into his hands and kissed her. This time, he actually puckered his lips. This time she actually leaned into it, rubbing a small circle into his hand like they had kissed a million times before. By the time they had run out of breath, he leaned his forehead against hers, and both of them were smiling.
I have a lot of firsts for this novel.
First novel for review from a Filipina.
First time to review a book with tagalog/korean in them.
Going back to the review…
“Maybe in another universe, I loved you too.”
Celia was stood up by Ben in the past. Now, she’s the Maid-of-Honor in Benedict’s wedding. But before the day even begins, she’s having these dreams of what could be or what could have been. Even the people were talking about what ifs.
Ben is getting married to Celia’s best friend, Vivian. He believes in multiverses. That dreams are glimpses of different scenarios and different chains of events in multiple parallel universes. Will knowing that Celia is also having these dreams change anything for them?
Vivian is every girl’s dream of being. Or so I was led to believe. According to Celia, she’s wonderful and perfect. But is she just as great and flawless in the multiverses?
(I didn’t like her much.)
(THE wonderful and perfect character here. HA!
You might’ve guessed that he’s my favorite) the ideal guy friend. He’s
loyal and dresses to kill. He’s constant in Celia’s life, but will this
universe be his time? Or is it in another?
Seoul, London, New York – In these cities, what could’ve been will be showcased. Altered situations will unfold. Will Celia and Ben finally get their happy ending?
We know “What Ifs” are very painful. Regret can be vicious. We’ll just have to rely on faith and fate to answer the constant questions that plagues everyone from time to time.
I was under the impression at the first chapter that it was like Something Borrowed but I was sorely wrong. With the exception of Henry, I was not fully connecting with the other characters as I would’ve liked. But the different scenarios with different cities made an interesting twist to the story.
Cities is like a combined version of a Teleserye and Koreanovela. Heartbreak, humor, hope, and a little bit of multiverses thrown in, it will make you wonder whether a different you is experiencing what you dreamt of having.
10 Things You Didn't Know About Cities
by Carla de Guzman
When my friends and family started reading Cities, one of the questions that people always seemed to ask me was ‘did this really happen?’ and ‘ooh, was this character based on someone we know?’
As much as I would love to say that the entire book was a figment of my imagination and based solely on real life, real life had a way of slipping through the pages. So here are ten things you didn’t know about Cities!
1. Ben was named after Benedict Cumberbatch.
For the very obvious reason that Benedict Cumberbatch is a wonderful actor and human being, and that if I ever had the good fortune of meeting him, I would become a puddle on the floor.
2. Henry was supposed to be gay!
In the original draft of Cities, Henry appears only in Manila, and fills the role of Celia’s sassy gay friend. But when I started the Seoul chapter, it felt strange to bring in a new character into the mix when I had Henry waiting in the wings. I also thought that it would be such a cliche if I did!
3. All the food featured in the book can be found in real life.
From the chocolate pizza in CM’s Box, the ddak ggalbi in Yoogane, the lovely tea set in the Orangery to the horrible papaya juice in Gray’s Papaya, these are all places that you can visit when you make your own trips there.
4. Sunflowers were my Lola’s favorite flowers.
The book has many nods to my grandmother, who passed away last year. One of which is the sunflower theme that keeps popping up in all the cities.
The original draft of the story had Ben and Celia living happily ever after in all scenarios except in Manila. But I felt that would be unrealistic and kind of cruel for Celia to live through, thus the ending that exists in the book today.
6. The book cover is also real.
Painted by my brother and sister, the cover is based on a photo I took from my trip to London. It was taken in Knightsbridge. The red/pink building in front of the bus is actually Harvey Nichols, a high end mall in London.
7. I do love none in the world so well as you.
I made a lot of references to Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, especially in the London chapter. The last line “some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps” is also from Much Ado. This has a connection to my Doctor Who obsession, as the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) and his companion Donna Noble (Catherine Tate) starred in a production of Much Ado in 2011.
8. Cities was originally a short story.
Originally titled ‘Multiverses,’ it was a short story contained in a cafe that was also a bar and a restaurant, and Vivian’s character commits suicide in one multiverse, which forces Celia’s character back to reality. Ben’s whole speech about parallel worlds is verbatim from the short story.
9. To be fair, in my real experience, he was there.
The Senior’s Night rose thing really happened in my school. My receiver was very sweet and lovely about the whole thing, and we are still friends to this day. :)
10. The inside illustrations were done by me :)
Carla de Guzman (firstname.lastname@example.org) had horrible handwriting as a kid. That didn't stop her from writing, though. Riddled with too much energy and a vivid imagination, she started writing every midnight. She grew up with her toes in the sand and her bags packed and ready to go on adventures. Her books are chronicles of her journeys, with a little romance mixed in.
When she’s not sitting in a plane or working, Carla writes for her blog, Some Midnights (www.somemidnight.wordpress.com) and for When in Manila.