Title: Where I Belong
Author: Gwendolyn Heasley
May Contain Spoilers
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.
Corrinne gets an unwanted taste of reality after her father is laid off. It’s like somebody has pulled the rug out from under her feet. Good-bye credit card and shopping sprees at her favorite stores, and hello Grandma and Grandpa and the tiny little town of Broken Spoke, Texas. Corrinne is seething with resentment at the sudden reversal of fortune, and it is going to take more than her grandmother’s delicious home cooking to soothe the sting of her new prospects. She worked so hard to be accepted into Kent, an exclusive boarding school that she has wanted to attend forever. Instead, she is going to be enrolled in Broken Spoke High School, a teeny, tiny public school where her grandmother works. Ugh! Life just isn’t fair!
At first, Corrinne and I had a personality clash. I did not like the whining little princess, and I found her selfish behavior inexcusable. OK, sure, her parents let her get away with anything, and she is clever enough to manipulate them to get her own way, but there were many times that she grated on my nerves. It wasn’t until after she moves in with her grandparents, and goes head to head with her no-nonsense grandmother that Corrinne slowly begins to see the light. There are so many more important things than the latest designer shoes, but when you are accustomed to getting everything your heart desires, it is often difficult to see the forest for the trees.
I liked that the focus of the story is on Corrinne and her gradual realization that having material possessions doesn’t mean as much as having good friends and a caring family. Romance plays a backseat to her character growth. Instead, Corrinne must come to terms with her new life. Her grandparents don’t put up with any nonsense from her, and instead take an active interest in her life. There are chores to do, schedules to keep, certain standards of behavior to adhere to. I loved the conflict between Corrinne and her grandmother – here are two very stubborn and strong-willed women who clash again and again. Corrinne doesn’t have much respect for the adults in her life, and her grandmother isn’t going to have any of that.
My favorite relationship in the book is the one between Corrinne and her younger brother Tripp. Like most big sisters, Corrinne just doesn’t have the time or the patience to hang out with Tripp. Tripp longs for any scrap of attention from Corrinne, and it was gratifying when she started to look at him, not as a constant nuisance, but as an individual who deserves her time and attention.
Where I Belong is a strong debut, with a compelling storyline, and I am looking forward to reading more by Gwen Heasley.
Review copy provided by publisher