Right Where I Belong

( 12 )

Overview

Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . .and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.

After watching her father jump from one marriage to the next, Natalia has completely written off love. And when her father divorces his third wife—the only one who has been a mother to her—Natalia is ready to write him off too.

Needing a change of scenery, Natalia leaves her home in Spain and relocates with her stepmother to sun-soaked ...

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Overview

Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . .and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.

After watching her father jump from one marriage to the next, Natalia has completely written off love. And when her father divorces his third wife—the only one who has been a mother to her—Natalia is ready to write him off too.

Needing a change of scenery, Natalia leaves her home in Spain and relocates with her stepmother to sun-soaked Florida. But she didn’t realize just how far a new school, a new culture, and a new lifestyle would push her out of her comfort zone.

One of her biggest surprises comes from Brian, a pastor’s son with an adorable smile, who loves God with a sincerity that astounds Natalia. She doesn’t want to fall for him, but she can’t seem to avoid him long enough to get him out of her mind.

Love is the last thing Natalia wants. Even so, God has her right where she belongs.

“. . . an absolute gem.” —Romantic Times TOP PICK for First Date

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Natalia Lopez’s father discards his third wife for another conquest, the disillusioned 17-year-old swears off dating and marriage, and accompanies her broken-hearted stepmother, Maureen, to Miami for a fresh start. Far from her native Spain, Natalia makes friends (including characters from the author’s previous novels, First Date and Starring Me) and catches the eye of Spencer, the most popular and wealthy boy at her new school. It’s class clown (and pastor’s son) Brian Younger, however, who makes Natalia wonder whether God will hold her to her no-romance vow. The relationships—and the faith of some involved —grow as a very mature Natalia helps Maureen through a hard time, teaches immigrants at an ASL class, and finds her calling on a mission trip to Costa Rica. The squeaky-clean Christian school environment might cause a few eyes to roll, but an abundance of real-life problems like divorce, depression, fitting in at school, workaholic parents, and figuring out one’s purpose in life should keep this story relevant for many teens, regardless of how important faith is to them. A guide for reader groups is included. Ages12–up. Agent: Jenni Burke, (Dec.)
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—In this novel about faith and family, 17-year-old Natalia Lopez chooses to accompany her stepmother, Maureen, to Florida from Spain after her father, who has been married twice before, demands a divorce. His view of women is chauvinistic at best. Maureen is shattered by the split and Natalia feels closer to her than she does to her biological parents as Maureen has shared her time, love, and faith with her stepdaughter. The move is difficult for both of them; Maureen feels that her family and friends will consider her a failure and Natalia is trying to deal with culture shock and her stepmother's depression. Help comes for both of them through the students and staff of the Tampa Christian School Natalia attends and where Maureen reluctantly accepts a teaching position. The situations that Maureen, Natalia, and their friends face are universal: parental pressure, relationship problems, and confusion about the future. Natalia gets over her fear of love with the help of a cute and earnest pastor's son and Maureen finds her faith renewed. Unfortunately, the writing is uneven and often stilted, and the message is delivered with a very heavy hand. McGee seems not to trust that readers will be able to understand and empathize with the characters. The ending is a little too neat and completely unrealistic, leaving the impression that if one prays hard enough everything will work out as one wishes.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Kirkus Reviews
A wholesome, if uninspired, exploration of the role of faith in helping a young woman find her place in the world. Seventeen-year-old Natalia has grown up in a wealthy household in Spain surrounded by money, luxury and ambition. It is not until her father marries his third wife, Maureen, that Natalia begins to investigate spirituality. When she becomes a Christian under Maureen's guidance, the two develop an intense bond. They become so close, in fact, that when Natalia learns that her father is filing for divorce, she actually decides to follow Maureen back home to Florida to provide moral support. Natalia enrolls in a Christian school where she meets and quickly falls for Brian, the pastor's son. But having seen her father destroy several marriages, Natalia has sworn off dating. So, she spends most of her time and energy trying to avoid her deepening feelings for Brian as well as figuring out what she wants to do--or rather what God wants her to do--after graduation. Sadly, Natalia, Brian and the supporting characters are rather flat, the discussions of spirituality feel contrived and the plot is nothing if not predictable. Not much in the way of general appeal here, but this one may suit teens on the hunt for overtly Christian-themed fiction sprinkled with a bit of (very chaste) romance. (Fiction. 12-16)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401684907
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/11/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 651,602
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

When Krista McGee isn't living in fictional worlds of her own creation, she lives in Tampa and spends her days as a wife, mom, teacher, and coffee snob. She is also the author of Anomaly,First Date, Starring Me, and Right Where I Belong. Twitter: @KristaMcGeeYAFacebook: krista.a.mcgee

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Read an Excerpt

Right Where I Belong


By Krista McGee

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2012 Krista McGee
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4016-8490-7


Chapter One

I am leaving your stepmother."

"Let me guess." Seventeen-year-old Natalia did not fall for the woe-is-me, martyred expression on her father's face. Not again, anyway. "She is not making you happy. You've found someone else. Life is too short to be tied down to one woman."

"Natalia Ruth Montoya Lopez! You do not speak to your papa in that tone of voice."

Shame clawed at Natalia's stomach. He's right. Help me, Jesus. What do I say to him?

Natalia inhaled deeply. "I'm sorry. But you keep leaving all the women in your life. How do I know you will not leave me too?"

Papa turned Natalia toward him, his face softening. "Hija. I will never leave you. You are my daughter. My flesh and blood. But women are different. You are young and you don't understand. You fall in love and you fall out of love. Nothing can be done about that. It is part of life."

"So this is what I have to look forward to? Falling in love with a man and then having him tell me a few years later that he doesn't love me anymore? What about 'till death do us part'? Doesn't that mean anything?" Natalia hated the anger that kept bubbling up, but she didn't know how to stop it.

"For some it does, mi corazón. Your grandparents were married for forty-seven years. And they were truly happy. I have often wondered if something is wrong with me. I just cannot seem to keep that feeling. I try ..."

"Oh, Papa, please. You do not try. I have seen this, now, three times."

"Natalia!"

She held up one finger. "Mamá—I was four. I can still remember the yelling. I would hide under my bed with the door shut and still hear the two of you."

"That woman had a temper." He looked out the window. "You didn't know the half of it."

"Yes, I do! I'm not saying she was perfect, but neither were you. And if either one of you had just accepted that fact, you might still be together."

Papa turned around, opening his mouth to speak, but Natalia held up two fingers and continued. "Isabelle never did anything to you. She was like a slave: cooking, cleaning, cowering in fear. I remember she'd take little Ari outside in the middle of the night just so her crying wouldn't wake you. And you kept her around for how long? Three years?"

He sighed. "Isabelle. No man can handle such a timid woman. It was nice for a while. A nice change from your mother's yelling. But then ... there was no passion. A man cannot live without passion, hija. It was her own fault. I cannot help being a man and having a man's needs."

The image of her father and his "needs" rushed in full color into her brain, and Natalia tried not to gag. "And now we come to number three. Maureen." Natalia stood inches from him. "I think she was the best one yet. She left her home and her family. Moving from the United States to Spain was not easy. Yet she did it. She learned the language, she adapted to our culture, and still you reject her."

Natalia shook her head. "I have seen it coming, but I know the signs. I do not think she has any idea. You are going to break her heart, Papa. And for what? So you can do this all over again with a fourth and a fifth and a sixth?"

Natalia's throat felt like it was closing in on itself. She couldn't speak. She willed herself not to cry. Why can't I just stay angry? It's so much easier to be angry.

Her father had hurt her so many times that she had learned to put up a wall around her heart, hardening herself to his outbursts, his ridiculous logic. But her heart broke for Maureen. She had seen good in Papa. She had loved him unconditionally, and Natalia had foolishly hoped he would live up to Maureen's vision of who he was.

How childish that hope was.

"Natalia," Papa said, like he was explaining to a toddler why she couldn't have a cookie before dinner. "Someday you will understand. For now, help your stepmother. She depends on you."

Natalia turned and walked away, refusing to listen to any more. God, help me stay quiet. Better not to say anything at all than to say something I will regret.

"Natalia!"

She kept walking, out of the living room, down the hallway of the spacious apartment, into her room. She shut the door and considered locking it, but her father wouldn't come. He would yell and get angry, but he would not try to sit down and work things out. He would let her stew and then, when Natalia emerged, he would act like everything was fine, as if they did not just have an argument. She had seen this dozens of times before. Just one of many reasons why the man couldn't keep a wife.

Five years ago Maureen had come to Madrid with her company, which was in partnership with her father's. Several companies from around the world had merged. Because Maureen's position was supervised directly by Papa, they worked together often. After a few months he was bringing Maureen home to work after dinner. A few months after that he was bringing her home for good. From the beginning she had felt more like a friend to Natalia than a stepmother.

Natalia walked to her window. She took a deep breath, trying to will oxygen into lungs that felt dry and thick. Ragged breaths escaped. She pulled back the curtain to see the plaza below. Mopeds and smart cars lined up at a stoplight eight floors below. Children were playing soccer, parents were pushing toddlers in swings, fathers were pushing their babies around in their carriages. So many happy families. Natalia let the curtain fall back into place and sat on her bed, finally giving in to the wracking sobs she had held on to for so long.

I will never, ever allow myself to fall in love. I won't do to anyone what my father does to these women. And to me. Never. Do you hear me, God? Make me single. Have me travel the world or work with orphans or whatever. But don't make me fall in love. I won't do it. I can't.

* * *

Natalia sat in her favorite spot at Retiro Park—a bench overlooking the small lake where couples drifted in boats and children skated along the sidewalks. She gazed at the statues of lions that guarded an ancient gazebo, the pillars reflected in waves in the waters below.

"Churros for you." Natalia's best friend, Carmen, handed her the warm pastry covered in cinnamon sugar. "And ice cream for me."

Natalia bit into the churro. Heaven. "Gracias."

Carmen splayed her hands in a Spanish "of course" sign and bit into her frozen treat. "Feeling better?"

"About my father's divorce? Or about his dating a woman six years older than me? Or about watching my stepmother go from a strong woman to a blubbering child?" Natalia moved her feet back as a rollerblader sped past.

"It has only been a week."

"Exactly." Natalia closed her eyes. "And Maureen just told me last night that she is leaving. Moving back to Florida."

"But you and Maureen ...?"

"She's like the mother I never had."

Carmen smiled sideways. "You have a mother."

Natalia raised her eyebrows. Carmen knew that Mamá was far too busy with her career to give much time to her only child.

"Poor Maureen." Natalia took another bite of the churro. "She is terrified to go back home. But she feels like staying here will keep her from being able to get over Papa. He is her boss, after all."

Carmen tossed the paper from her dessert into a trash can. "But what will she do?"

Natalia shrugged. "I don't know. Neither does she."

"She'll find something. Maureen is amazing. Beautiful, smart, funny."

Natalia nodded. Maureen had been her rescuer in more ways than she could count. She made Natalia feel important, loved, during her preteen years when she felt awkward and ugly. She spent time with Natalia.

"Who will teach me about God when Maureen is gone?" She hadn't even considered that her spiritual mentor would be leaving.

"You don't need this crutch of faith to help you." Carmen turned away and ran a hand through her long, silky black hair. "You are too smart to keep going on with this. People are talking. You used to be so well respected, but all this talk of 'salvation' and 'eternal life' is making you look foolish."

Natalia sighed. Over and over again, she had tried to explain her faith to her friend. But Carmen, like so many Spaniards, saw faith as a weakness, an embarrassing part of their history. When Natalia tried to tell her that what she had was a relationship with a God who loved her, Carmen only recalled the Spanish Inquisition and other atrocities carried out in the name of "religion."

"Natalia, think logically. There is no evidence that God exists. None. No evidence of an afterlife or a creator. Science has disproven all that superstition. Why would you go backward? You don't believe the earth is flat. Belief in the existence of God is just as ridiculous."

"Science can't disprove the existence of God any more than religion can prove it. Faith is involved on either side of that debate. But I know God exists. I have seen him at work in my life. I have seen him change me. I'm sorry you don't like the changes, but ..."

Carmen shook her head. "It isn't that. Well, it is, I guess. I don't like it. But I guess if that is what you need, then I should just keep quiet and let you believe it."

"Could you be any more condescending?" Natalia laughed. "You're talking to me like I'm Ari, waiting in line to see Saint Nicholas! God is not Santa."

Carmen put her hand up in protest. "Can't you hear how silly that all sounds? An invisible Savior who speaks to you through a two-thousand-year-old book and little voices in your head?"

"I know it sounds silly to you. And it pains me more than I can say that it does. But that is all the more reason why I need Maureen. She understands." Realization hit Natalia, an almost-audible voice from God speaking to her soul. Natalia jumped up.

"What is it?" Carmen pulled Natalia back to the bench.

Peace settled over her. She knew this was from him. Of course.

"Natalia, por favor." Carmen clapped her hands, startling Natalia from her thoughts.

"I need to go with Maureen." Natalia stared across the pond to a family eating a picnic lunch on the grass.

"To America?"

Natalia nodded. "."

Carmen pulled the remaining churro from Natalia's hand. "They must have put something other than sugar on this."

"No. I mean it." Certainty settled over Natalia as soon as the words came out of her mouth. "She needs me. It's my turn to help her. I can't abandon her the way Papa has."

"What about me?" Carmen planted her hands on her hips. "If you really believe this, then should you not stay here and keep trying to get me to believe it?"

Natalia laughed. Her friend was using any tactic possible to get Natalia to stay in Madrid. "If my staying here could make you believe, I would stay. I'd sit right down here in the middle of the ground and not move an inch until you believed." She sat cross-legged on the dirty sidewalk, caring little that those passing by looked at her as if she were losing her mind. "But I can't make you believe. Only God can. So I will keep asking him to help you."

"Get up, Natalia!" Carmen whispered. "What will people think?"

"What do I care what people think? I'm leaving!"

Carmen pulled Natalia up by her wrist, shaking her head in mock disgust. "How can you be so flippant about this? Do not let your zeal over your newfound faith take you away from everyone who loves you. Please! At least finish high school."

"I know you're saying this because you care about me." Natalia straightened her jacket and dusted off her skirt. "This is my home, my people, my country. I will miss you so much. But I need to go with my stepmother. I just cannot believe I didn't think of it sooner."

"Sooner?" Carmen stood. "It has been a week."

"I need to speak with Maureen. And my father."

"Hopefully they will talk you out of it." Carmen grabbed her backpack and threw it over her shoulder. "Do not do this, amigita. You will regret it." Carmen stared at Natalia, shook her head, then walked off.

Natalia felt her heart breaking with each step. Maybe she was out of her mind. Maybe Carmen was right. Did she really want to leave everything she knew just for—?

She stopped herself. She was leaving for a God who loved her, who had sacrificed everything for her. A God who knew just what it was like to leave the familiarity of home out of obedience to his Father.

Peace washed over her in a way Natalia could never explain, an experience so intimate and amazing that all her momentary doubts vanished. God was with her in this park. He would be with her as she left. More difficulties would come, but Jesus would be there as she faced each of them.

Chapter Two

Good-bye, fragments." Brian Younger dumped his grammar workbook into the trash can beside his locker. "Good-bye run-on sentences that should have a comma somewhere in there but I never remember where so I get ten points off my essays. Good-bye—"

"Really, man?" Spencer Adams picked up Brian's discarded workbook. "You might need to look over this during the summer. If you want to graduate next year, that is."

Brian put a hand through his red hair and looked down at Spencer. At six foot six, Brian was half a foot taller than the big-mouthed most-popular boy in school, but that didn't deter Spencer one bit.

"Maybe I don't want to graduate." Brian refused to take the book from Spencer's hands.

"Don't want to graduate?" Lexi Summers, friend and fellow "freakishly tall" student at Tampa Christian School, shoved herself between the feuding boys. "What are you talking about? I've already got the countdown going." Lexi looked at her watch. "Three hundred fifty-five days, five hours, and ten minutes."

Spencer dumped the workbook back in the trash. "I'm with you, Lex. Get me outta this place. I'm ready for some freedom."

Because Brian's dad was the pastor of the church attached to the Christian school, Brian got his share of "I hate this school" speeches. Spencer topped the list of complainers.

"Why can't you be excited about graduating and not hate the school at the same time?" Lexi put an arm around Brian. "I love this place."

"Hey, no PC." Spencer shook a finger in Lexi's face. Physical contact was against the rules at TCS. "See what I mean? When we're at college, no one's gonna yell at us for giving our friends a hug."

"Or give us demerits for making out with a sophomore in the hallway." Lexi snapped a finger in Spencer's face.

Brian tried not to laugh.

"At least someone wants to make out with me," Spencer bit out, slamming his locker door, then walking away.

"Don't worry about him, Lex. Spencer's a jerk."

"I was going to say the same thing to you." Lexi smiled. "Don't worry about me. It takes a whole lot more than Spencer Adams to ruin my day."

Brian wished he could say the same. Spencer Adams had been making his life miserable for years. Just because the guy's dad was loaded, because he had good looks passed down from his Cuban model mother, because he could play every sport well and all the girls at school drooled all over him, was that reason for Spencer to treat Brian like gum stuck on his shoe?

Brian walked over to his dad's office, trying to get Spencer out of his head. At least I get a two-month break from the guy. Count your blessings, right?

"My boy's a senior." Dad stood from his desk and pulled Brian into a hug. "Ready for this summer?"

"I guess."

"What's wrong?"

Brian sighed. "I just wish I was smart and athletic instead of just so incredibly good looking."

With the complexion only boys with bright red hair were afforded, Brian's pale skin, blue eyes, and freckles had been the cause of ridicule most of his life. He had been called "Brian the Friendly Ghost," "Vampire Boy," and a host of other names, none of which were synonymous with "good looking."

"It's a curse we Youngers have." Dad smiled. His formerly red hair had been muted with gray, and faint wrinkles replaced his freckles. "I've got some good news for you."

Brian slumped into the leather chair across from his dad's desk. "Lay it on me."

"I got you a job."

Brian sat up. "Where?"

"Working with Mr. King."

Dad forgot that Brian didn't know the names and occupations of every member of the church. "Who?"

"George King." His dad leaned forward. "He owns a demolition company."

"Demolition?"

"Yes, he goes into old buildings and guts them."

"I get to spend the summer tearing stuff down?" Brian asked. "Awesome."

"Yep, you'll be working all summer on an old mansion right on the bay."

"A mansion?"

"Apparently it's in pretty bad shape." Dad's phone rang. He held up a hand to Brian. "Hi, Joan ... Manny's back in the hospital? I'm so sorry." He grabbed a sticky note. "Room 524. Got it. I'll try to get up this afternoon ... I'll be praying for you."

"Something serious?"

"Manny Johnson." Dad placed the sticky note on his computer monitor. "He's got cancer and hasn't been doing well lately."

"Do I know him?"

"Neither of the Johnsons come to church much." Dad shrugged. "But they call when times are tough."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee Copyright © 2012 by Krista McGee. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The thing that I love most about this book is that it stays on t

    The thing that I love most about this book is that it stays on target with the religious aspect and it does not drown you in talk about God. The descriptions of the high school student is dead on. The author maintained character personalities while putting them in high school age settings. I really reminded me of a group of friends in my own high school. They were my friends, but when it came to religion, I stayed in the fringe.

    I really like how the author uses the members of the church and school to envelop Natalia and Maureen when they needed help without having to be asked. In a world where everyone it out for their own butt, reading a story of pure kindness and goodness makes me long to be a member of the character's church and school. I was drawn in and unable to put the book down - the sign of a truly gifted author.

    This book is the third in a series that is not technically a series. The stories stand on their own; you do not have to read the first two to understand this book. However, it does follow the succession of dates in some character's back-stories. I have not read the first book (but with a donation you can help me purchase it) and have completely understood the second, and now third, books.

    So far, my favorite author for teen fiction!

    If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself!

    Until next time, take life one page at a time!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee Natalia has left Spain with

    Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee
    Natalia has left Spain with her new stepmother. Her father told her he found another woman who he loves. Natalia feels spiritually close to her stepmother, more than her bio mother so they leave to go back to where Maureen came from, Tampa, FL. Natalia has so much to get accustomed to: language, slang, accent. Maureen has arrived in FL with no husband, no money and now no luggage. What else can possibly go wrong.
    Natalia's father has agreed to let her go with Maureen for a few years so she can get an education and decide what career she wants.
    The story is also following Brian Younger, his father is a minister and he's in high school. His summer job will be gutting out the inside of the mansion. He and his father meet Maureen and Natalia. She is also excited when she learns she will go to a Catholic school.
    Lots of Spanish words that are explained in English language, I don't feel so lost..
    Nat's new girlfriend Addy, wants to introduce her to boys and after-school clubs. She realizes that Nat puts Jesus in front of everything else but she needs to let others into her circle.
    English as a Second Language community service sounds perfect for her, they talk about God and passages in the Bible.
    She is studying how to make religion work and how it can blend into your life. She is being taught how to believe no matter if bad things or good things happen.
    She hopes to get the money she needs to go on the mission trip to Costa Rica.
    Love how all her new friends teach her not only of their customs, food but how to do/try new things at the beach.
    In this YA book issues such as jealousy and dances all come into play-young adult issues.
    Mission trip makes her realize what her calling in life is. When she meets with her father in NY he's got big plans for her in the company. What will she do with her life?

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    GREAT!!!!!!! SO GREAT!!!!!!!!

    This is a great book but I recommend you read "First Date" , "Staring Me", THEN, This book!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Abby

    Meant 'do i belong' res two

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  • Posted April 20, 2013

    Right Where I Belong By Krista McGee Right Where I Belong, by

    Right Where I Belong
    By Krista McGee

    Right Where I Belong, by Krista McGee is a fun young adult novel about following the plans God has set out for you. Natalia, a high school senior leaves her home country to go live with her ex step mother in the United States.




    Natalia decides early on that she is in the United States to be with Maureen, to get an education, especially bible class, to be away from her parents who insist that she should not throw away her life and education on a job that won't provide, and more than anything, to not date!


    Natalia meets some great friends who help her acclimate to her surroundings and help her as she is unable to help Maureen cope with her grief. These friends, are characters from other books by Krista McGee which I though was a fun, unique way to write the story.


    I really enjoyed reading this story as a simple love story and with the hidden gems about our Lord that are always encouraging to hear. I have enjoyed the other novels by Krista McGee and would recommend them, especially to young adults.


    Thank you Booksneeze for the opportunity.

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  • Posted April 10, 2013

    Right where I belong / by Krista McGee HS Grades 7-12 Rating:

    Right where I belong / by Krista McGee

    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 [[ASIN:1401684904 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 [[ASIN:B009F7R2XM 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.

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  • Posted April 9, 2013

    This is a YA Christian story of a young lady struggling with fin

    This is a YA Christian story of a young lady struggling with finding her place in this world. Does she honor her parents plan for her future, or follow her heart and God’s plan for her?
    I loved the character Natalia. She is a perfect role model for teenage girls. For a teenager, I admired how mature she was, and how devoted she was to learning more about her faith and sticking to what she believes in.
    Brian, the pastor’s son, was also an interesting character. We get to see how he dealt with the struggle of just being friends with Natalie, although his heart wanted more.
    And then there’s Spencer, the arrogant rich boy, who just couldn’t get why Natalie wasn’t falling for him. I really didn’t care for him, but I really enjoyed how his character changed throughout the book.
    Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It’s a great book about teenagers and some of the struggles they have to deal with on a daily basis. This is the third book in the series, but it could be read as a stand- alone. I’d recommend it to anyone over the age of 13. It was an easy, pleasant spiritual book.
    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are my own.

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  • Posted March 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Natalia¿s about to discover her place in the world . . . and it¿

    Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . . and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.




    Natalia’s father is about to get divorced again. His business is his top priority and plans for her to take over his business. Her mother is more concerned with her career and doesn’t have much time for her daughter. Natalia has really bonded with her current stepmother. Maureen has introduced Natalia to Christ and Natalia wants to learn more. When Maureen tells Natalia she will be moving home to Florida after the divorce she is devastated. She needs Maureen and actually decides to move from Spain to Florida too. Her parents think living in the States would be wonderful for her college prospects so they put no obstacles in her way. It is not long before Natalia realizes Maureen needs her too. Together they embark on a journey following the paths set by a higher power.




    Dollycas’s Thoughts
    This was a beautiful story of a woman’s continuing journey with Christ and a young woman’s awakening in the awesomeness of the Lord. The behavior of her parents seriously marred her outlook on life. She never wanted to date or fall in love because she has a bird’s eye view of the heartbreak that occurs when someone falls out of love. Her father treated woman as things not humans with feelings. Moving away was just what she needed to open her eyes and her heart to the joy the world can provide.




    Perfect way for today’s teens, Right Where I Belong is loosely based on the Bible’s story of Ruth. Her stepmother brought her the Good News of Christ and Natalia is still learning about her faith. She does want to share her awakening with everyone.




    In Florida, she attends a Christian High School that is so different from her school in Spain. There were few Christians in Spain and they rarely discussed their faith. But the real adjustment was the language. Natalia spoke English well but she didn’t speak American teenage slang. It was a treat to learn the ways of American teens from the way they dress to the way the speak including the phases that roll so easily off our tongues but are truly confusing when words are dissected.




    The story is brilliantly written with rich, warm, real characters. It is a Christian novel but it doesn’t preach. It is a perfect book for teenagers and those of us who are young at heart. It was an amazing fast read and I recommend it highly. I found JOY within the pages of Right Where I Belong. and think you will too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2013

    I previously read Krista McGee's book "First Date" and

    I previously read Krista McGee's book "First Date" and enjoyed it thoroughly. The Florida setting, which was briefly featured in that book, and some of the characters appear in "Right Where I Belong," which shouldn't deter anyone unfamiliar with the previous work. Overall, though, I just couldn't get into the storyline.

    Natalia moves from Spain to Florida with her soon-to-be-ex-stepmother, Maureen, who originally is from there. Natalia's father never seems to be satisfied with the woman to whom he currently is married, which frustrated Natalia, plus her mother seems more interested in her life and work than her daughter's life. Additionally, Natalia is a Christian, thanks to Maureen, and Natalia's friends don't understand her commitment to the Lord, further convincing Natalia she should try building a new life in America.

    One thing I liked about the book was when Natalia can't understand the cliches and colloquialisms the American characters. It's amusing to realize how many of them we do use.

    One thing I didn't like was Natalia's internal dialogue. It just seems to stiff and unnatural for a teenager.

    Overall, the writing in this book is good, which I always consider a plus, and I believe some people will thoroughly enjoy it. I personally just couldn't get into it.

    Note: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Thomas Nelson.

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  • Posted January 28, 2013

    his book was a breath of fresh air! Although the story lines foc

    his book was a breath of fresh air! Although the story lines focuses on high school students, I found myself captivated with the story, the characters and all that surrounds this great book. Readers from teenagers and up would enjoy this story. It was an easy read that kept me wanting to read more. To watch the characters develop and their personalities intertwine was so exciting. I would definitely recommend to anyone looking for a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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