Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

Tags: middle grade, YA, contemporary, Texas


Corinne Corcoran was an NYC It girl who had it all—money, friends, connections—until she didn’t. Hit hard by the recession, Corinne’s family has to make drastic life alterations, and Corinne finds herself stuck in middle-of-nowhere Broken Spoke, Texas, her mother’s hometown, before she can even make an argument.

Corinne is certain that Cowboy Country will be hell…but then she actually starts meeting some nice people. And bonding with her family, including her long-absent grandparents. And enjoying the comfortable clothing and football games that Texas has to offer. But Corrine absolutely still wants to return to New York. That’s where she belongs…right?


WHERE I BELONG is a predictable but still charming story of a girl who has everything, who then gets more, though not the way she expected. Even those who are disenchanted with derivative feel-good contemporary YA—okay, me—will still find much to enjoy about this sweet little debut novel.

Corinne starts out as your average spoiled rich girl with a selfish view of the world, so the growth that she undergoes throughout the course of this novel is really remarkable and, better yet, totally believable. Long used to getting everything she wants and having unlimited money to spend, Corinne naturally doesn’t take her family’s change of circumstances well, and her narrow-mindedness and obsession with keeping her life the same glamorous way it was will probably irritate people. However, once in Texas, she really does grow in that wonderfully subtle way that the best kind of character development gives us, still remaining herself, but just a more mature version.

Events and the overall story arc are fairly predictable, so my enjoyment of the book definitely centered around Corinne’s growth. Not that she’s even an entirely likable person: just that she develops well over the course of the story. Corinne’s romantic dilemmas are forgettably typical; the potentials of the family tensions between the various generations of Houston women are not as fleshed out as they could have been; and friendship drama is resolved much more quickly than such a situation generally warrants.

Still, WHERE I BELONG turned out to be a quick, light read that makes for a decent book break. It’s not exactly the best of its type out there, but at $8.99, how wrong can you really go with this one?

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 4 out of 5 - It's fresh and colorful, the kind of cover I like. Though on second thought, I didn't think it did the story justice. The story is less a romance and more about a girl's journey of self-discovery, but this one implies that romance is a strong element in the book.

HarperTeen / Feb. 8, 2011 / Paperback / 304pp. / $8.99

ARC received from Around the World Tours.


  1. Well, I was wondering what people were going to think of this one. I felt like it would be too much of a romance style for me, judging solely on the cover. From your review this just isn't the case. So, I may try this one afterall. Thanks!

    Big bummer about the word verification, I just hate those!

  2. I thought it was cute, too, though I gave it a "B" (4/5 stars), since I'm a sucker for a fun transformation story.

    Thanks for a great review!
    The Book Swarm

  3. I have to admit this one didn't appeal to me from the start, seeing that you were a bit in the middle gives me even more confidence in my decision.


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