Right Where I Belong / by Krista McGee
Thomas Nelson (December 11, 2012), ISBN 978-1401684907
HS Grades 7-12 Rating: 4
Krista McGee presents another well-written contemporary young adult novel, loosely based on the biblical story of Ruth and Boaz.
In Right Where I Belong, teenaged Natalia moves to the United States with Maureen, an American who married Natalia’s dad while working in Madrid. Due to their closeness in age and shared faith, Maureen is more a friend than a stepmother. When her dad announces his divorce to Maureen, Natalia accompanies her back to America. Her dad supports the move because it will look good on her resume. Her parents want her to become a successful businesswoman. Natalia leaves behind her culture, her country, her best friend, but not her new faith.
As she encounters challenges, Natalia is tempted to return to Spain. Maureen begins looking for a job while Natalia enrolls in high school. Maureen’s pastor and his son Brian help them get settled. Maureen struggles in her faith while trying to adjust to life as a divorced woman. Brian and Natalia become friends, even though wealthy Spencer tries to impress Natalia.
Addy (from McGee’s First Date) befriends Natalia, and Brian invites the girls on a mission trip to Costa Rica. Spencer, Natalia, Brian, and Addy go on the mission trip together, and it has a significant on all of them, especially Spencer.
Teens will easily relate to Natalia and the other main characters. Natalia struggles with adapting to a new country, as well as learning more about the Christian life. Natalia has to balance what her parents want for her life and what she is discovering that God may want. As it becomes clear that her heart’s desire is to be a teacher, she has to deal with her parents’ expectations.
Though there is an attraction between Natalia and Brian, they have a clean romance similar to McGee’s earlier books – the teens recognize their attraction but choose to move slowly in their relationship and let God lead them.
Disclaimer: Book reviews are my opinion of books I either purchased or received free of cost from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
Carol R. Gehringer