Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Title: Where I Belong
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: February 8th 2011
Pages: 289
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Won from Jen
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Corrinne Corcoran’s upscale Manhattan life is perfectly on track—until her father announces he’s been laid off and she’s shipped off to Broken Spoke, Texas, to live with her grandparents. All alone in a big public school and forced to take a job shoveling manure, Corrinne is determined to get back to the glamorous life she’s supposed to be living. But as she grudgingly adjusts—making new friends and finding romance along the way—this city girl begins to realize that life without credit cards and shopping sprees may not be as bad as it seems....
My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

It might be my own fault that I didn't like this book. I haven't been reading much ever since starting college, and I always felt like I had to force myself to keep reading. So I feel a little bad judging this book. But, to be honest, I'm pretty sure I would've disliked it either way, because every little thing about it just bugged me.

The main reason Where I Belong didn't work for me, is Corrinne; our main character pissed me off throughout. She's a brat in the worst way and pretty much does everything possible to piss off readers. I get that you're not supposed to like her in the beginning, so I tried to keep an open mind. But I just thought it was too much; Corrinne was just too much of a spoiled, selfish brat for me to handle. She does grow over the course of the novel; that's the point of the story. But it wasn't enough. She isn't quite as terrible at the end as she was in the beginning, but I still didn't like her. I didn't feel like she learned enough to really become a better person; there's no active character growth; just the natural way things develop when Corrinne has to leave behind her life. I wanted her to gradually grow, but it seems like she just suddenly isn't as terrible anymore. I just didn't buy the character growth.

None of the storylines or relationships were explored thoroughly enough for me. We barely scratch the surface of the family storyline. I have no idea what Corrinne's relationship with her parents is like, and the relationship with her grandparents is underdeveloped, too. When they got along and when they didn't just seemed very random to me. In the beginning, there's some hinting at drama, a family secret, but that's never really explored later on; the storyline just kind of... stops. I didn't even like Corrinne's little brother - little siblings are always cute in books, but this one was so cliched, I couldn't even enjoy that.

I didn't see the point of the romance, either. There's a love triangle, and even though I'm not someone who always automatically condemns love triangles, this one did not work for me. It's entirely predictable - there's a hot, rude guy that the MC likes and a sweet guy Corrinne doesn't pay attention to; guess who she ends up with. Neither of the love interests is a fully developed character; I never felt like I knew either of them. The whole thing felt kind of pointless, since as soon as Corrinne makes up her mind, the book is over.

Life in a small town for a big-city girl could have been fun to read about, but it's way too cliched. The descriptions of Broken Spoke had me rolling my eyes throughout; just... UGH. Life there doesn't even make sense; supposedly, the town is tiny, the type where everyone knows each other and the town has two restaurants, nothing else. But it's also a big theme how Corrinne has to go to this huge public school instead of the small private ones she's used to. But how does such a tiny town have such a huge school!? Little things like that just bugged me.

If I had to sum up Where I Belong in one word, it would be basic. All the storylines and characters are basic and cliched; there was no originality or surprise in this book, for me. That, combined with the annoying main characters, frustrated me to no end. I'll probably end up reading A Long Way from You since I already own a copy, but I can't really recommend Where I Belong.


  1. Sigh. I hate it when stories turn out that way. It's too bad this books lacks in creativity, because the synopsis sounds really fun. Oh well…

  2. Eeeeek, an unlikable character is pretty much the death for a contemporary YA, and when plot lines kinda fade to nothingness it's so disappointing - like you've skipped a few pages!

    Hopefully you'll have better luck with your next read :)

  3. I want, NEED, more than this book can deliver by the sounds of it.


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