Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review: Where I Live by Brenda Rufener

Where I LiveTitle:  Where I Live 
Author: Brenda Rufener
Publisher: HarperTeen 
Publishing Date: February 27th, 2018
Pages: 352
Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Series:  Stand Alone
Source: ARC
Linden Rose has a big secret--she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea's life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea's story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she's worked so hard to keep.

I kind of went into this book blind. I know it was about a homeless teen. I didn't know what to expect as this was the first book of this kind I have read. There were things I liked about this read and things I didn't like so much. I think it's a great book to bring awareness to many issues we seem to keep in the dark or just don't speak about. I just didn't love it as much as I had hoped. 

Linden Rose is a teen and she is homeless.  She tries to live a  normal life but normal to her is finding a place to sleep and shower, earning enough money to eat, and trying to make it through high school. She has her own problems to deal but finds herself in the middle of some other problems with students in her school. In order to get involve and help she may rat her situation out to the those who may cause issues for her. She needs to decide how to balance her life, her fake life, and the lives of others around her in need. 

This book deals with many issues. It's a story that has the potential, to be honest and raw. I felt it was honest but I feel it needed to be more raw and deep in the feelings. I enjoyed the fact it was honest but needed a bit more on the raw side. The issues of homelessness, bullying, and relationship abuse were addressed in this book. Those are some pretty heavy issues and issues I believe should be addressed with teens in today's world. These things seem to be happening more than what is believed by most of the general population. I think we need this kind of reads in our schools and libraries. The issues were well addressed, and the author did a great job of not hiding what is out there among our youth. 

The story was interesting, but the pacing and the tone lacked. I didn't connect with the characters. I feel there could have been and needed to be a deeper side to the story. The issues were serious but I didn't feel much from Linden. I felt almost no feeling but fear from her. She has a crush but I didn't feel that she was homeless and I didn't feel that, not the way I wanted and needed to. 

The pacing was really off for me. At times the story dragged and then other times it felt rushed to the point I was a little confused on what exactly was going on. Another issue I had... I felt there were things the author felt was obvious in the writing... things we should just get by the writing, but I wasn't always sure, they weren't always obvious to me. I just felt a  little lost at times in this book. 

I feel if the pacing had been different, the rushed parts slowed and the slow parts filled with deeper thoughts and feelings, I wouldn't have felt so lost, confused and detached. 

The characters weren't bad. I liked them. They all had great characteristics, I just couldn't connect in the least bit with them. I felt it was a little dry on the character development. Sometimes I felt like I was reading a fast-paced mystery where its impossible to really connect to the characters..instead of a realistic fiction where the need to connect is there. I am spending so much time inside Linden's head and just don't feel what she must be feeling. The last couple of chapters I did start to feel and it was sweet and gave me some warm fuzzies. So there was that little moment I really enjoyed. 

I actually had a hard time with the rating. I was going back and forth between and 2 and a 3. I feel its more of a 2.5 but I don't have that on my rating system. So I upped it to a 3 heart. 

It was a good book and I am happy with the read, but I needed just a tad bit more to really enjoy the journey. 

Brenda Rufener

Brenda Rufener is the author of the young adult novel, WHERE I LIVE, out February 27, 2018 from HarperTeen.

Brenda spent her childhood stomping through the woods of Oregon, most likely in search of Bigfoot or a quiet cave to read. Today, she lives in North Carolina's capital city with her husband, two daughters, and two Boston terriers. Brenda graduated from Whitman College with a degree in English. She is an advocate for gifted education and homeless youth.

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