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Book Reviews

Review: “Where I Belong,” Gwendolyn Heasley

August 21, 2011
Review: “Where I Belong,” Gwendolyn HeasleyWhere I Belong (Standalone)
Written by Gwendolyn Heasley
Published February, 2011 by HarperTeen
289 pages
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance
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four-stars

Meet Corrinne. She’s living every girl’s dream in New York City—shopping sprees at Barneys, open access to the best clubs and parties, and her own horse at the country club. Her perfect life is perfectly on track. At least it was…

When Corrinne’s father is laid off, her world suddenly falls apart. Instead of heading to boarding school, she’s stripped of her credit cards and shipped off to the boonies of Texas to live with her grandparents. On her own in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the life she’s supposed to be living. She doesn’t care who she stomps on in the process. But when Corrinne makes an unlikely friend and discovers a total hottie at work, she begins to wonder if her life B.R.—before the recession—was as perfect as it seemed.

I’m so pleased to have discovered this gem of a YA contemporary. Where I Belong is sweet and a complete page-turner with a lot of heart.

First of all I have to say the cover is very misleading. Before I started this book (and a good few chapters in) I was expecting something of a sweet love story between a city girl and a country guy. Although done to death I was pretty much excited to dive right in because I haven’t read one of these before. Instead, I found myself frowning and trying to work out just WHO was going to be Corrinne’s love interest.

First we have Bubby; the football player who Corrinne originally disregards as potential boyfriend material. She had me believing it, too! I completely shut Bubby out of the race, thinking ‘okay he can’t be the love interest because he doesn’t fit the guy on the cover!’ Then we meet Rider, the sexy farmhand Corrinne meets when starting work for Ginger, and I think ‘Okay, here’s the love story and guy on the cover!’ Then Rider’s appeal took a complete nose dive when he turned out to be a total douchebag!

So I guess what I’m trying to say is, this is not a story about finding love in unlikely places. Well, not love with another person, anyway. It’s about discovering yourself and adopting a new set of values and a better attitude. It’s about Corrinne’s struggle to adjust to a new way of life, and her realization that it may just be a little better than the life she had before. Even if the place doesn’t even have a Starbucks.

Where I Belong is a great read – one that had me devouring it within two nights. I picked it up in hopes of an enjoyable contemporary and got just that. I’m so glad I wasn’t dissappointed. Despite the lack of a forerunning love story, Corrinne’s journey manages to entertain. Gwendolyn Heasley’s characters are incredibly realistic – a welcome change. I particularly liked Kitsy, the Broken Spoke Mockingbirdette.

There’s also a great amount of laughs – from Rider’s movie-montage appearance to Corrinne’s realisation her once wore bejewelled – or ‘bedazzled’ – clothes!

Recommended to: Fans of contemporary fiction will enjoy this one, however don’t let the cover fool you into believing it’s primarily a love story. I highly recommend Where I Belong!

About Gwendolyn Heasley

Gwendolyn Heasley is a graduate of Davidson College and the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she earned her master's degree in journalism. When she was a little girl, she desperately wanted to be the next Ann M. Martin, so she's grateful that the recession rendered her unemployed and made her chase her nearly forgotten dream. Gwendolyn now lives in New York City, teaches in New Jersey, and eats too much mac and cheese for an adult.

6 Comments

  • Reply Cialina August 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I’m slowly starting to pick up more contemporary novels recently and I think I like the sound of this one! Thanks for the warning that this isn’t mainly a romance though. You’re right; the cover is really misleading!

  • Reply Steph August 21, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Sounds awesome. It shall be on my TBR list :) Nice review!

  • Reply Steph August 21, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    This sounds super cute so I’m glad to hear you enjoyed it so much. I really hope to pick it up soon! :)

  • Reply Andrea August 21, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    I have been wanting to read this one, but wasn’t sure about it. Your review has helped me decide it should be on my TBR list.

    Andrea @ Reading Lark

  • Reply Kylie1403 August 21, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    I really really really want to read this!

  • Reply Lux August 21, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I like the sound of this one. Although the boy on the cover makes me think of Tucker from Unearthly!

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