My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Title: I Wanna Be Where You Are
Author: Kristina Forest
Format: Hardcover (own)
Categories: Young Adult, Teen Readers, Contemporary, Romance, Family, Friendship, Coming of Age
A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.
When Chloe Pierce’s mom forbids her to apply for a spot at the dance conservatory of her dreams, she devises a secret plan to drive two hundred miles to the nearest audition. But Chloe hits her first speed bump when her annoying neighbor Eli insists upon hitching a ride, threatening to tell Chloe’s mom if she leaves him and his smelly dog, Geezer, behind. So now Chloe’s chasing her ballet dreams down the east coast—two unwanted (but kinda cute) passengers in her car, butterflies in her stomach, and a really dope playlist on repeat.
Filled with roadside hijinks, heart-stirring romance, and a few broken rules, Kristina Forest’s I Wanna Be Where You Are is a YA debut perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sandhya Menon.
- I love the cover and the pastel aesthetics. It’s so pretty and makes me feel like it would be a good spring/summer read.
- Chloe and Eli’s adventure was eventful although they did lie or withhold information from their parents. I thought it something that mended their friendship and then some.
- Chloe is a talented dancer and want to realize her dream of joining a company but she’s at odds with her mother who doesn’t feel like it’s a good career choice for her. Eli is going through the same thing with his dreams of wanting to be an artist as opposed to his dad’s dream of him pursuing law just like he did. That was very relatable to me because I remember feeling lost as a teen, wanting to please my parents but knew my major wasn’t what I really wanted to do in life.
- The romance is sweet, and this is a quick, light contemporary read with a happy ending. It covers family dynamics and pursuing your dreams, so it’s perfect for teen readers.
- Triggers: car accident, grief, anxiety
- Other than Eli cursing a few times using the F word, this book is fairly rated PG. Or is PG-13 with swear words? I don’t know – I’d rate it PG though haha. It’s more for teens than young adults.
I enjoyed this quick read and in my teen years, this was the kind of book I’d have devoured in one sitting. This is a solid debut and I think Kristina Forest will definitely be a name to watch for in the contemporary teen and YA romance genre.
📚 ~ Yolanda