Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Book Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley


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....

In this sparkling debut that flawlessly balances romance and humor, readers will grow to love sharp and sassy Corrinne as she goes on her totally reluctant but completely irresistible journey of self-discovery


The Short Version:
Character focused and cute in playout, Where I Belong mixes personal growth with romance for an enjoyable read. The small town Texas setting is well done, and the blend between high school settings and everything else is balanced. With plenty of humor thrown in to what is a trying situation for Corrine, Heasley has made a great and easy to read contemporary book.

The Extended Version:
Corrine is a snob, used to having money and the Manhattan life she loves. Materialistic and selfish, it is easy to dislike her from the start but she’s written in a way that buffers against this. She has plenty of good qualities, some of which are shown from the start, and others that come out as things progress. Her mentality against being in Texas drives much of her actions, but the steady shift in her thoughts has a smooth flow. Her overall change is very realistic, some aspects happening quickly and others taking more time.

Kitsy is an adorable character, bubbly and energetic, and a big factor in Corrine’s overall change. She wants to get out of Broken Spoke, but knows it might not ever happen and though it’s clear that does bother her to some extent, she still has an exceptionally bright outlook on life. Her friendship with Corrine has a nice give and take, and Kitsy is very likable from the start.

Bubby is witty and sarcastic, but sweet underneath. He’s a true country boy, and though he’s the star of the football team, he isn’t arrogant or terribly obnoxious. His feelings towards Corrine develop early and the banter between them is often humorous and very realistic. He comes in at just the right moments, and some of the most memorable scenes involve him.

From Corrine’s grandparents to her brother and parents, the side characters have strong personalities and interact in great ways with Corrine. There is a good balance of tension and fun, and the strong family element really pulls this book together. Corrine’s best friend also plays a big role, and I really appreciate Heasley including the struggle between these two as Corrine starts to change after her move.

The writing has an even flow and simple quality to it, while still bringing out the setting and the characters. Corrine has a very specific mindset but within that, her change and development is clear and concise. Even when she isn’t able to see the way she’s changed, her thoughts reflect it and there is a sympathetic element to her that Heasley weaves in easily.

The plot centers around Corrine being able to adapt and accept not only living in Texas and the drastic changes it brings, but also taking the step to really see her mother as having a past separate from her. Now living with grandparents she’s hardly known, the awkwardness and instinct for defensiveness is understandable and well played out. With plenty of relatable scenes, and a fantastic emphasis on small town Texas life and the state love of football, Where I Belong nails the riches to rags kind of story with some great characters and the right blend of romance.

Source: ARC received for review from author in exchange for honest review
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (February 8, 2011)


  1. Great review! Thanks for sharing, I've got this book on my wish list so I'm anxious to get this book to read for myself! I'm glad to see that you enjoyed it!

  2. I've been wondering about this one, and it sounds like something I'd like. Thanks for the review!

  3. This caught my eye a while back so I'm glad to read that you enjoyed it.

  4. I stopped by your blog today. I liked the review.

  5. I really love this cover. This looks cute, can't wait to read it. Great Review!

  6. I can't wait to buy this one next month. It sounds so great!

  7. This one has been on my radar for awhile, I'm really excited to read a positive review about it! Thanks for sharing.

  8. This is the first time I hear of this one and it sounds good :)