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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley

See when Corrinne, the protagonist, warned the readers that they would eventually hate her, she wasn't joking. I immediately hated her after reading the first page.

Title: Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Pages: 289
Release Date: February 8th 2011
Published by: HarperTeen
Source: Won
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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.
If I was remotely related to this kind of girl, or even if I'm not, I am going to wish her dead ten minutes into meeting her. No one will ever be able to stand being in the same company as a girl who mocks everything about her grandparents, treats her mom and dad with almost NO respect, and always want to have her way with everything. Corrinne is beyond spoiled!

However, my feelings for Bubby is different. (weird name though) That first encounter with Corrinne at the party, he was able to say what exactly needs to be said to Corrinne. Just because she's from Manhattan doesn't mean she can act all high and mighty. Bubby's a cute example of a guy from a small town who's destined for greater things in the city. He reminds me a little bit of Luke from Linda Kage's The Stillburrow Crush, but a bit more irritating and outspoken.

As much as I despised Corrinne (I have something against kids who has everything and had the nerve to complain) I do adore the story as a whole. I know that Corrinne's dramatic reaction to everything is a necessary part of the story, but it just gets into my nerves.

I loved reading about Corrinne's transformation, no matter how cliche it is. From being a girl from the city, Corrinne unconsciously and gradually becomes accustomed to life in Texas, and it takes a visit from someone part of her former glamorous life to make her realize that her life "A.R." (after recession), isn't so bad after all. Stripped of all the materialistic things that constantly surrounded her life, Corrinne gradually accepts that things won't be back to the way it was "B.R." (before recession) but the things she's experienced and done in Texas has opened her eyes that she needs to make do of what she has and appreciate the things she took for granted.

Where I Belong's supporting characters are much easier to love than the protagonist herself. Kitsy captures the perfect Texan girl that showed Corrinne that life in a small town is not as bad as it looks. Kitsy, who has big dreams, of going to the city, is the total opposite of Corrinne and she's just what Corrinne needs to wake-up from her Saks filled dreams and superficial wants in life. Waverly is the perfect embodiment of how Corrinne was, and I'm glad that she was able to realize the faults in her personality through Waverly's actions, because Corrinne was like her once.

I can't say that what happened to their family is what they deserved, nobody deserves to be in such a dire situation, but its a blessing in disguise. Corrinne and the rest of her family was able to re-examine how they were living once they hit the lowest points of their lives. She was able to touch roots with a part of her life that she wouldn't even be aware of if she continued to be a pampered, spoiled brat in the city. Corrinne learned that she can be herself and still enjoy living both as a Manhattan and Texan girl. I was touched with how the concept of family was integrated into the story. Corrinne had nothing when she came to Texas, but she HAS a family, not like when she was in Manhattan when she had money, and yet eating lunch together seems like a foreign concept to all of them. That in itself is what made this story good. Also, it touches the theme that is familiar and recent, the Recession, which I know we can all relate to. The ending felt a bit rushed, and I felt like there was not much resolution made in the story, but its a good close for a book.

Where I Belong is filled with lessons we all want to read about once in a while. Recession has been hard for everyone, and Where I Belong, a story about this recession seen through a teenager girl's eyes, is a story part amusing, part funny, and deeply engrossing. Despite my constant dislike of Corrinne, I couldn't help but feel like I was living alongside her. A heartfelt, contemporary novel that you can't help but love, I recommend Where I Belong to contemporary fans who wants a quick, cute read.

My rating

Content (plot, story flow, character):

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:

Hey, that's a cowboy! I love how vibrant the colors are, and you do get that Texas feeling through all the green you see.


  1. Okay, I definitely need to get my hands on this. A book where you hate the main character and would want her dead within ten minutes of meeting her yet you still give it a rating of 4... I so want to read it.

    The story itself sounds like it was handled well - it takes a good author to make you really invested in a book and appreciate the characters journey when you don't like her. Great review, Kai!

  2. Corrinne does get on your nerves. But when I read it, I was kinda used to it because of watching TV. It's quite a common type of bitchiness. Great review, Kai! :)

  3. I'm currently reading this book. I'm trying not to hate Corrine that much.

    Chel @ The Procrastinator's Corner


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