Friday, October 18, 2013

Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Release Date: June 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Wise beyond her years, Angie spends many of her days being the adult she wished her mother would be. In the years following her father's death, their family faced obstacles and challenges that would have broken many others. For a short while, all seems to be going well until they're forced to move with their Aunt Vi. But that doesn't last long, thanks in large part to her little sister's Autism-like disorder which causes the little girl to shriek. 

The only thing to keep her quiet for more than a few minutes just happens to be the dog next door. When the neighbor decides to move, all hell breaks loose. Angie's mother is forced to make an irrational decision to save their sanity without putting Sophie, the little girl, into a facility - they follow the neighbor. Will the decision be a good one? What ultimately happens when the neighbor finds out?

Without much fanfare or introduction, the reader is thrust into Angie's world, one filled with chaos and uncertainty that should be left in the adult world. The constant shrieking and overwhelming despair would be enough to crumble anyone, much less a fourteen year-old girl. Being familiar with having a chronically ill sibling, I could relate to many of the things Angie expressed in the book and how she dealt with the people around her. My heart went out to her and to her family because I've seen some of the heart-wrenching decision making situations first hand.

The characters were very much distinct and brought with them a different and yet similar set of flaws. It truly made them seem more real that they could see the flaw in the other and then recognize it within themselves. A lot of truths were spoken or discovered by the character taking time to reflect on the conversations, making the reader feel a part of the process as well. I really liked the level of honesty between two of the characters because it was a reminder that we don't have to go through life closed off from others.

Made of three parts, the story flowed at a pretty steady pace with plenty of monotony-breaking moments courtesy of Sophie. Each of the three parts had their own surprises for the reader which also helped to keep me turning the pages. It struck me near the middle of the book that a lot of the story was about the connections we make with one another and how when a connection is broken, the people were once connected had to find a way to deal with that loss of connection. They had to find their own way of reestablishing the connection. That's also something that I know all too well and the story made me do a lot of thinking about my own connections.

Overall, I really liked this story. It definitely had those moments where you wanted to smack someone for being stupid. But it also had the moments that were heartfelt and touching. Having gone through similar situations, the story make me feel like someone out there who actually understood - even if it was a fictional character much younger than myself. If you love coming-of-age stories with an enduring twist or just want an uplifting read, you should definitely check this one out.

Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde is available for purchase in either paperback or e-book format. To purchase from, please click the link below.
 Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde


  1. This is a truly wonderful book. Just loved it. May be one of Catherine's best. Can't recommend it enough. Please see for yourself. You won't be disappointed.

    1. I agree. I bought it because the description intrigued me. I relate with Angie so much. Though I currently only have the Kindle version of the book, my hope is to have a print version very soon. It wasn't until after I finished reading that I realized that Catherine is also the author of Pay it Forward, one of my other favorites.