Review: Where I Belong
Corrinne is living the good life. She’s headed to a fancy boarding school in the fall with her best friend Waverly. She gets to keep her beloved horse. She regularly fulfills her love of shopping for expensive things using her daddy’s credit card. Everything is coming up roses right until the recession hits her family hard. Corrinne’s father loses his job, and that means the spending sprees and future plans all have to change.
Corrinne–along with her mother and brother–is forced to move to Broken Spoke, Texas, while her father works a new job overseas. Broken Spoke is a far cry from Corinne’s home in Manhattan. The town has one main street; its eateries include Sonic and a Chinese food restaurant. While fun used to mean going out clubbing, Corrinne discovers that Texan fun looks more like rodeos and drunken bonfires. It’s a big adjustment, made all the more dramatic when Corrinne is required to take a job shoveling manure and learn how to drive a big truck.
Corrinne doesn’t take the move all that gracefully, which she admits early on in a letter to the reader, but she encourages you to give her a chance. Texas changes Corrinne, and she begins to learn the value of family and hard work. It turns out, money really isn’t everything.
Gwendolyn Heasley’s Where I Belong is an extreme recession story, but not necessarily an uncommon one these days. I’m glad to see a book out there that shows the kind of riches to rags drama occurring in the lives of many American teens. This is a light, upbeat tale, and certainly some real stories are much darker, but Where I Belong demonstrates the good that can come from a bad situation. Much like The Princess of Las Pulgas, it shows that where you end up when you think you’ve lost everything might not be so bad after all. It just might be where you belong.
The book is as charming as its cover. I enjoyed Corrinne’s transformation, devouring the book rapidly. The culture shock experienced when Corrinne first arrives in Texas was one of my favorite parts, though I also loved the inhabitants of Broken Spoke. The cast of characters include your stereotypical bubbly cheerleader, an arrogant football player, a brooding musician, and hard-nosed grandparents. Each of them has something to teach Corrinne, as does the town itself. Texas is a good place to experience vicariously–you get to skip out on the heat. I definitely recommend that you pick up Where I Belong if you’re looking for some fast and frugal fun.
Take a minute to check out this guest post from author Gwendolyn Heasley.