Title: Where I Belong
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
Published: February 2011 (HarperTeen)
Summary: 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 Review: When I saw the cover of Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley, I wanted to read it immediately. I mean, just look at it! It is the epitome of cuteness. Also, I want her dress. And hair. And shoes. Cuteness of the cover aside, it sounded like it could be a fun read. Spoiled, rich city girl is sent off to live with her less-than-wealthy relatives in small-town Texas, and she begins to see the error(s) of her ways. That's exactly what it was.
I had a complicated relationship with this book. Honestly, I was not all that crazy about it at first. It had some funny lines, but the Spoiled Rich Girl, Corrinne, was just too spoiled. Think Blair Waldorf, but without the awesomeness. For the first third of the book or so, I was very annoyed with her as a narrator. One example of why: She referred to a size 4 as fat. Seriously? Um, no. After a while, though, I got to know her better and could begin to understand why she was the way she was. The annoyance lessened, and I could appreciate her even if I could not relate to her. As the story progressed, it was great to watch Corrinne come to terms with her situation and grow and learn from it.
The setting of the small town was just perfect. The characters were colorful and completely fitting for the atmosphere. I loved Corrinne's grandparents, her brother, and the new friends she made in Texas. Kitsy Kidd, one of Corrinne's new friends, was my favorite character in the whole book by far. Loved her! I can't wait to read her story in Heasley's companion book, A Long Way from You. I really loved Bubby, the local football hero, too, even though I have issues with his name. There was also Rider, Corrinne's super sexy, musical barn buddy. Another interesting facet to this book was Corrinne's relationship with her best friend from back in New York, Waverly. I won't say a lot so as to avoid spoilers, but I liked the way their story was handled.
Overall, I did enjoy this book. The last two thirds definitely redeemed the first third. I also liked that while Corrinne most definitely did make a lot of progress as a character, it felt completely realistic. She did not turn into some crazily unselfish let's-save-trees-and-volunteer-at-nursing-homes-and-kiss-babies do-gooder. She simply began to see life and her actions from a different perspective. Where I Belong was a very cute read. I'm super excited about Kitsy's book! Look for a review of A Long Way from You, as well as an interview with Gwendolyn Heasley, on the blog June 5.
❝There are times to diet, and then there are times for ice cream.❞
❝No one told me that I would need a translator in Texas. Maybe there’s an iPhone app on how to speak Texan.❞
❝My parents will have to pay for my hypnosis; I can’t live life with these memories.❞
❝Of course, this isn’t how I imagined meeting my soul mate. I definitely didn’t think I’d be wearing denim and cowboy boots.❞
❝Even though I’ve never been to a séance or a human sacrifice, I am pretty sure this would be the type of music that’d be played.❞
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