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Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
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Where I Belong (edition 2011)

by Gwendolyn Heasley

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113None109,925 (3.44)None
rach2340's review
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.

(amazon.com)

I wanted a break from sci-fi and complicated story lines. So picked up one of the books on my to-be-read stack and this was the first one. It was a cute story for beach or summer vaction or, if you're like me, just wanted a simple book to read. It's one of those books were the main girl changes for the better and gets the guy in the end. I really liked how Corrinne changed in the story. She went from selfish, bitter, and greedy, to a sweet, caring, family gal. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the fact that it seemed to encourage underage drinking, but other than that it was a cute book.

There's not much to say about the characters. Katsy was a sweet friend to Corrinne. You could tell that Corrinne would end up with Bubby in the end (how can you not tell?). Rider was a jerk. It was obvious he was using her to start up his music career. So yea, predictable characters, but hey it's one of those read-only-once type of books.

3.5 stars. Not bad! it just wasn't a memorable book for me, but maybe to someone else. I suggest reading it at the beach where you can finish it in a day, if you read all day on the beach. ( )
  rach2340 | May 11, 2012 |
All member reviews
Showing 13 of 13
Charming contemporary! Review going up in June.
  JenRyland | Mar 30, 2013 |
This was hilarious and so much fun! ( )
  nicola26 | Mar 30, 2013 |
Wow. This was no where as good as I'd hoped. I'd seen this as part of a giveaway on the Spring Fling Blog Hop and the description grabbed me as much as the cover. I love Texas romances (so much I even moved to Texas and married a Texan!), and I love sweet romances. This looked and sounded like it would be perfect for me. Instead, I was disappointed and frustrated (and not in a good way).

The book starts off with a preface written by the main character Corrinne, telling us that if we don't like her at first, to keep reading. Well she was right, at least partly. I didn't like her at the start, but contrary to the suggestion that I would grow to like her I never did. She is selfish, self absorbed, prejudiced, snobby, and an all round b***h. Right up until maybe the last two chapters when she then suddenly realizes what a horrible person she is and makes a last ditch effort to accept the friendship of Kitsy and romantic interest of Bubby. Yes, accept. Because I'm supposed to somehow believe that she actually deserves these things?

The romance angle is way over stated. There is practically no romance to this book. Bubby - yes, apparently that is his name, because every Texas town has a Bubby, right? Gagh! Having lived 10 years in Texas I never meet a Bubby. (I'm ignoring that fact that my sister-in-law calls my husband Bubba, because he absolutely hates it.) Bubby is barely in the story. Corrinne uses him as a stand in date, she ditches him, calls him names, constantly insults him and judges him, and yet he still likes her?! Even Corrinne doesn't understand that and asks him why, to which he responds that she's full of surprises. Uh no, she's not. From the opening page which establishes her as a Blair Waldorf/Paris Hilton wannabe, everything she says and does is exactly as I predicted.

The only thing that kept me mildly interested was Kitsy. I wanted to see if she would finally stand up to Corrinne and her judgmental attitude, but alas, Kitsy is a stereotypical Southern girl with all the right manners and just accepts Corrinne's judgment as her due while fawning over how wonderful Corrinne is.

*Here are the big spoilers,so you are warned*
The ending was a huge disappointment. Heasley seemed to be trying to wrap it up in a way that would be just perfect. Corrinne's father's company magically comes out of the recession and create a wonderful new job for him back in New York, Corrinne gets to go to the exclusive boarding school she's whined about the entire book, she realizes she's been snobby, and she decides to accept and return Bubby's interest in her (even though she's now moving away!). What the hell?! The more I think about it the angrier I get.

There wasn't anything that made me hate this book, and even though I didn't like the main character or the stereotypes displayed, it was well written and I think there will be people who could enjoy the story. Maybe I would have been one of those people if I hadn't gone in believing it was a romance or that by the end I would like Corrinne. ( )
1 vote AngelaFristoe | Jun 10, 2012 |
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.

(amazon.com)

I wanted a break from sci-fi and complicated story lines. So picked up one of the books on my to-be-read stack and this was the first one. It was a cute story for beach or summer vaction or, if you're like me, just wanted a simple book to read. It's one of those books were the main girl changes for the better and gets the guy in the end. I really liked how Corrinne changed in the story. She went from selfish, bitter, and greedy, to a sweet, caring, family gal. The only thing I didn't like about this book was the fact that it seemed to encourage underage drinking, but other than that it was a cute book.

There's not much to say about the characters. Katsy was a sweet friend to Corrinne. You could tell that Corrinne would end up with Bubby in the end (how can you not tell?). Rider was a jerk. It was obvious he was using her to start up his music career. So yea, predictable characters, but hey it's one of those read-only-once type of books.

3.5 stars. Not bad! it just wasn't a memorable book for me, but maybe to someone else. I suggest reading it at the beach where you can finish it in a day, if you read all day on the beach. ( )
  rach2340 | May 11, 2012 |
Where I Belong was a really fun story, and a very quick read. Seeing Corrinne embrace her inner hick was an enjoyable experience. The focus is definitely on Corrinne and her learning things about herself and about life in general - I think the cover makes it out to be more of a romance than it is. I'm not saying that as a critique, because it didn't bother me. Just fair warning.

Sometimes I let the stupidest things bother me. When Corrinne is first learning her way around Broken Spoke, they talk about the town having only one sit-down restaurant (Chinese) and a Sonic. Then, the school is described as three stories high with several hundred (400 maybe?) students. Now see, that doesn't work for me. If the town is large enough to have a school with that many students, it is definitely too large to have only one sit-down restaurant.

I mean, I grew up in a small town in Oklahoma - the high school was two small hallways jammed together with a cafeteria in the middle. My graduating class was 40 people. And even my town has a little more going for it than one Chinese place (that there's a picture of my town's classy hamburger place. best fries ever.). I mean - at the very least there should be like a burger place and/or a Mexican restaurant. God save me from a small town in this part of the country where you can't sit down somewhere and order a burger (Sonic does NOT count).

So, like I said, I realize it is really silly that I'm so focused on that - but it seriously bothered me to the point that I enjoyed the book less. I'm not claiming to be an expert or anything - but that set-up just totally clashes with what I know about small towns.

Anyway, other than that (which probably doesn't bother anyone else anywhere), the story is awesome. There isn't a lot of deep characterization, but the way everyone interacts with each other is very interesting and entertaining nonetheless.

This is a story of a self-centered, spoiled brat learning about life, family and cow manure in the small town of Broken Spoke, Texas. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy - pick up the book and prepare to enjoy the ride! ( )
  allureofbooks | Jun 29, 2011 |
I love this type of story... instead of it being a rags to riches one, it's a riches to rags tale. Where the mean, snobby, rich girl learns that there's more to life than just money. I love this type of story because you will always find great character development. And that is exactly the type of character Corinne is. At first, you don't truly like her. She's spoiled, obnoxious and quite frankly annoying when it comes to her selfishness. But when her lifestyle takes a nosedive after her father loses his job and she ends up living in small town Texas with her grandparents - she'll learn that not everything revolves around her wants and needs, where she'll make true friendships, learn the importance of family and enjoy the stirrings of a new love.

I enjoyed seeing the many changes in Corrine. Her internal diaglogues were very entertaining and you fully and believably grasp the strenuous situation she believes herself to be in once she realizes that she has no money. I found it funny that in the first pages you are forewarned about what an unlikeable character she is but to give her a chance because she just might grow on you... and that she does. I found myself taken in by the story. I loved reading of the town of Broken Spoke and its quirky residents.

All in all, Where I Belong is a fun and quick read - a sweet contemporary YA story of one girl's path to self-discovery. It definitely made me want go out and buy me my own set of boots and cowboy hat. ( )
  bookwormygirl | Jun 21, 2011 |
This book sounds better than it is. I was genuinely looking forward to reading this book because I was looking for a YA western romance and because I read a good review on it. However, I expected too much from it. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't an awful book. The main character started out annoying and I thought she would evolve into a more appealing person, but by the end I still didn't particularly like her. The romance did not go as I had hoped it would. I didn't read it for the romance, but I did think it would have more substance. The book seemed to end abruptly without resolving all the kinks. It could have easily continued into another chapter to round it off.

There was a substantial amount of information on each character to know them decently. I knew them, but I didn't like them! I want to like the characters I read about. Some of them were sweet and fun, and all of the characters were realistic. Kitsy was cute, the brother made me go "Awwe!", and I want the Grandma to cook for me! The food sounded delicious... Her Mom was annoying.

Heasely's writing? Well she kept me reading. I read it in a day and ignored my company because I wanted to see how everything would turn out. Most of the conversations in the book were believable. There were a couple ridiculous parts, like when Corrinne said "But yeah, I'll go to the dance with Bubby because you two are my only friends in Broken Spoke, so I want to be with you guys." She is a proud person and would not let any insecurities of that magnitude show, much less spell them out in those words. She is not a character to appear pitiful.

I am picking apart this book, but it wasn't a bad read. I enjoyed sitting down and reading it on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. This is Gwendolyn's YA debut, and I look forward to reading more by her in the future. Congratulations on it, Gwendolyn! ( )
  B00KAH0LIC | Jun 6, 2011 |
WHERE I BELONG, by Gwendolyn Heasley, is a sweet riches to rags story. In the wake of the recession, Corrinne (teen Manhattanite) and her younger brother move to Broken Spoke (podunk town in the middle of nowheresville Texas). She is heart-broken to be leaving her best friend, Waverly, and the chance to attend a very prestigious boarding school that Fall. But Broken Spoke's charm and simple-town life may have a different affect on her than she would have ever dreamed. I really enjoyed this book. It was a charming story of a young girl getting off her high horse and learning that the world is not made up of New York City.

The cast of characters are definitely something to rave about. The people that Corrinne choose to hang out with in each place were total opposites but complimented her personality in either place. Waverly was the exaggerated NYC teen and Kisty was the stereotypical cheerleading Texas girl. Where Waverly tested Corrinne's willingness to fit in, Kisty welcomed her with open arms into a strange place. But the relationships that changed Corrinne the most was her romantic ones. She was immediately attracted to Rider. He was the rocker guy who was too cool for Texas and that is exactly how she felt initially. But Bubby, football star and all around nice guy, pestered her non-stop to question her life away from the Big Apple.

Overall this was a pretty great book. The charming characters and story really warms the heart. ( )
  sithereandread | Jun 4, 2011 |
Gwendolyn Heasley brought to life the social differences of the New York Elite and Small Town Texans in Where I Belong. Those from the high rises of New York and those from the football stands of small town Texas. In one corner we had Corrine, our spoiled, rich, and demanding main character from New York. In another corner we had Bubby, Kitsy, and the grandparents Corrine had no relationship with from Texas. Can you imagine the cultural and social differences already?

More times then not I find no common ground with main characters like Corrine who live in their own world of red-bottomed Louboutins and no-limit credit cards but something about Corrine stood out beyond the rest. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely could not stand her at first but quickly found myself rooting on her evolution from blingy-big-city-girl to bedazzled-country-gal. She wasn't a flat character and her hidden character proved that.

Obviously, Corrine wasn't the only character I met in Where I Belong. In Where I Belong, I was presented with a wide cast of characters who all played their parts well from New York Socialite to Rodeo-ish Cheerleader-thing to Cowboy Football Stud. Even their names fit them perfectly. Waverly, the New York b.f.f. Kitsy, the stereotypical Texas Cheerleader and Bubby, the good-guy football player. Let's not forget Rider, the I'm-too-good-for-Texas bad boy who Corrine found herself attracted to if for nothing other then his good looks, the title of musician and the fact he felt how Corrine felt about Texas, at least at first. Then there was the little brother, who did his job well. The parents and grandparents who helped form Corrine's story and also heal alongside her.

While the romantic aspect of this novel was no where near the forefront and held a rather small part, the story gave us a great foundation for what could become a true and accepting love. The possible budding romance between the cowboy and the city girl took acceptance and understanding from both sides and while it wasn't the reason Corrine let herself become vested in the place her mother once called home it was sure a great, open ended reward.

Charming characters, a trip to New York and to small-town Texas, Gwendolyn gave us a great read about acceptance, growth, friendship and a little bit of love.

Cover: 4
Characters: 4
Plot: 4
Overall: 4

On the Cover: Isn't it just too cute? Seriously, that is the first thing that attracted me to this book. I saw that cover and knew I had to have it. I just knew it had to have a cute story behind it. The color contrast is great and the picture can tell a story all its own. ( )
  StaceyMacWrites | May 31, 2011 |
I wasn’t actually sure if I’d get this, but after much thinking at being in the book store, I got this. It reminds me something along the lines of Sarah Dessen, but less of what makes Sarah Dessen novels so classic.

Before you actually read this one, there’s a little character note from Corrinne in which she explains, that before you read this, she will sound bratty and quite annoying at times. And true to her word, Corrinne is. In the way you’d see those stereotypical ‘bitchy’ rich girls.

I’m not exactly sure about what I felt as Corrinne as a narrator, besides her being unlikable at times. This plot isn’t exactly anything new because I remember reading something like this a while ago. But it was nice to see her change as a main character as she gradually developed from whining to understanding her situation and making friends.

The romance isn’t, despite what you’d think from the cover and premise, actually big in this novel. It’s a very small as romance isn’t really focused much in this novel. I do kind of wish that there was more to show about her mother coming into the town because from what Corrinne knows, she was pretty big when she used to live there. Just only one scene or two, but nothing major so I felt slightly disappointed on that. And I kind of wish the ending was longer, but this part is probably just me. I still did enjoy this one and I’m probably going to lend it to friends.

Recommend it for fans of this genre or a quick read because it’s still something worth reading if you want to read it. ( )
  gubry | Apr 28, 2011 |
A self-professed teenaged ice princess, Corrine feels the pain when her father loses his cooshy, seven-figure bank job in NYC, especially when she's sent off to live with the grandparents in Broken Spoke, Texas rather than to her fancy boarding school. Notice I'm not feeling too sorry for her? Yeah, that's because she brings it on herself. She's a spoiled, Gossip Girl-like socialite who thinks nothing of dropping thousands on a shopping spree. And I couldn't wait to see her snotty self get hers (especially since she was mean to her cute little brother, who totally hero-worshipped her!).

Corrine's life changes pretty quickly as she's packed up and sent off to a teeny-tiny town whose social life consists of keg parties in a field and parking at the Sonic. She's horrified and wants nothing to do with anyone. But her grandmother is having none of it and immediately hooks her up with an after-school job cleaning up after horses (karma!).

There are some fabulous characters in this story. I particularly like Kitsy, an absolutely adorable, irrepressible Texas girl who doesn't let Corrine wallow. She reminds me so much of some of my small-town Southern friends--a spot-on characterization. Corrine's grandparents are great. I loved how her grandmother would cook all this yummy, calorie-ladened food and boss Corrine around while her grandfather would step in with his calm manner and smooth things over.

The town of Broken Spoke itself could be considered a character as well. It's representative of both Texas and small towns themselves and kind of reminded me of the town I went to college in. (For the townies, the loop between the Wendy's and Sonic was crusin' central and, if you weren't crusin', you were at the bowling alley. Typical small town.)

And then there were the two boys. Sort of a love triangle--if you can call one boy ignoring Corrine while she lusts after him and the other boy ragging on her constantly a love triangle.

Back to Corrine. I always enjoy stories of transformation and, while Corrine didn't change completely, she learned a lot about herself and became a stronger, more independent, and thoughtful person. Much less of a brat (though there were some tendencies lurking but I guess you can't change your spots overnight). And, finally, someone who learns to appreciate the value of a hard day's labor and the compensation that comes with it.

This would be the perfect book to read while sitting in a hammock on a warm spring day (will this winter never end?). Highly enjoyable. ( )
  BookSwarm | Apr 6, 2011 |
Corrine Corcoran’s charmed life on the Upper East Side is suddenly turned upside down when her father loses his job and investments. Forced into the reality of the recession, this self-centered teen learns not only is her family out of money, but now she and her brother must re-locate to Broken Spoke Texas; the never talked about childhood home of Corrine's mother. Her re-location brings out her woe-is-me attitude into full swing--how can she live without trips to Barney's and her prized pony Sweetbread? After a few short weeks in her new town, Corrine starts to change--this time for the better. Readers will start this title loathing Corrine and her attitude toward her family, new town and life. However, Heasley does an excellent job of redeeming the protagonist for a greater lesson--teens will enjoy the constant pop-culture references and quick dialog. This is a fun beach-read--it's also a charming alternative to other angst-ridden titles in the genre. A perfect fit for all YA collections. ( )
  CATSpawprints | Mar 21, 2011 |
Corinne Corcoran was an NYC It girl who had it all—money, friends, connections—until she didn’t. Hit hard by the recession, Corinne’s family has to make drastic life alterations, and Corinne finds herself stuck in middle-of-nowhere Broken Spoke, Texas, her mother’s hometown, before she can even make an argument.

Corinne is certain that Cowboy Country will be hell…but then she actually starts meeting some nice people. And bonding with her family, including her long-absent grandparents. And enjoying the comfortable clothing and football games that Texas has to offer. But Corrine absolutely still wants to return to New York. That’s where she belongs…right?

WHERE I BELONG is a predictable but still charming story of a girl who has everything, who then gets more, though not the way she expected. Even those who are disenchanted with derivative feel-good contemporary YA—okay, me—will still find much to enjoy about this sweet little debut novel.

Corinne starts out as your average spoiled rich girl with a selfish view of the world, so the growth that she undergoes throughout the course of this novel is really remarkable and, better yet, totally believable. Long used to getting everything she wants and having unlimited money to spend, Corinne naturally doesn’t take her family’s change of circumstances well, and her narrow-mindedness and obsession with keeping her life the same glamorous way it was will probably irritate people. However, once in Texas, she really does grow in that wonderfully subtle way that the best kind of character development gives us, still remaining herself, but just a more mature version.

Events and the overall story arc are fairly predictable, so my enjoyment of the book definitely centered around Corinne’s growth. Not that she’s even an entirely likable person: just that she develops well over the course of the story. Corinne’s romantic dilemmas are forgettably typical; the potentials of the family tensions between the various generations of Houston women are not as fleshed out as they could have been; and friendship drama is resolved much more quickly than such a situation generally warrants.

Still, WHERE I BELONG turned out to be a quick, light read that makes for a decent book break. It’s not exactly the best of its type out there, but at $8.99, how wrong can you really go with this one? ( )
  stephxsu | Feb 4, 2011 |
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