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.
I was really looking forward to reading Where I Belong. A contemporary romance, it was just what I was in the mood for. While certainly light and fun, I couldn't help but feel something was missing.
While I was expecting to be annoyed with Corrinne, at least to begin with, I must say that her letter to readers at the beginning, asking us to stick with her until the end, didn't bode well for me. But it's probably a good thing I had that forewarning, because Corrinne more than annoyed me. I'm really not a fan of the whole 'mean girl' attitude. It just rubs me the wrong way, and Corrinne, she had it in spades. I found myself wanting to slap the self-centred arrogance out of her many times. I actually at one point did hate her and could see no redeeming qualities. But like she asked, I pushed through - after taking a bit of a break from her and the book. And yes, in the end I was happily surprised by her changes and ended the book smiling.
However, I didn't feel her change of attitude developed quite as well as I would have liked. It was like one page she's thinking her horrible thoughts about Broken Spoke and the other characters, and then the next she was doing a complete indignant 180. I get that her best friend Waverly's visit brought certain attitudes to light (Waverly also being a 'mean girl'), but still, I can't help wishing there was more. I feel like there were just a couple of chapters missing that showed Corrinne's eventual attitude change. I would have also liked more in terms of her relationship with Bubby - they had some seriously cute moments and I just wanted more, more, more! I honestly didn't feel like there was enough Bubby to warrant her change of heart towards him.
I liked many of Heasley's characters - Grandpa, Kitsy and Tripp rank at the top for adorable and lovable characters - and they were all mostly well-developed and realistic, and they helped to really make certain moments of the book shine. I also liked the relationship between Corrinne and Waverly (more so towards the end, I admit) and was glad to see my prediction about their friendship (not providing spoilery details) was completely wrong. I became invested enough in finding out how the happily-ever-after might work out that it didn't take me long to finish this one at all. And I did love the ending, despite the feeling that there could've been more. Gotta like the endings that make you sigh!
Published Date: 8th February 2011
Challenges: 2011 Debut Author Challenge; 2011 YA Contemporary Challenge