I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest (272 pages)

An Uplifting Journey in Pursuit of Passion
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I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest (272 pages)

“I Wanna Be Where You Are” Is A New Twist On A Classic Road Trip Tale

Chloe Pierce wants more than anything to attend Avery Johnson’s dance conservatory in NYC during her senior year. Her mom’s not a fan of the idea, but is also leaving town for a well-deserved vacation. So Chloe decides to head to the auditionbut before she even leaves her own driveway, her annoying neighbour, Eli, asks for a ride. Her quick trip to the audition transforms into a full-fledged, full-of-obstacles journey. 

illustration of a young black couple from I wanna be where you are

A Message Of Confidence With Mantras To Match

What I loved about I Wanna Be Where You Are is that it’s a story about regaining confidence in oneself. After being injured, Chloe’s worked harder than ever to get back into her ballet-groove. She’s not as confident as she once was but the story takes her to people and through memories to help her rebuild confidence. Plus, it’s full of mantras! “Once fierce, always fierce” and “Confidence starts here” (“here” meaning in your own heart) are planted by friends and reiterated throughout the story.

The messages are sweet and uplifting, as is Chloe’s own journey. The journey itself is one that’s visible on the page—Chloe has nightmares with annoying relevance, rehashes memories, and reconnects with old friends who impart wisdom. And cute, tall, irritating Eli is there through it all. Their journey from former friends to maybe more was angsty yet pure, making me both roll my eyes at their antics and smile in delight.  

While Chloe and Eli’s trip was fun, sometimes it felt too much like a journey. I realize how that sounds—books are journeys, and Chloe’s on one of regaining her self-confidence. Not to mention she’s on an actual road trip. But after a few initial surprises, I could see Chloe’s path as a series of formulaic beats, recognizing stages and lessons for what they were. That recognition kept me from fully immersing myself in the story. No matter, I still enjoyed being along for the ride. 

The Bottom Line: 4/5 Brookie Stars

In the end, this story of following your passion no matter the risks and being confident in your own abilities is hopeful and inspiring. I Wanna Be Where You Are is for ballet-lovers, rom-com-fanatics, and anyone who needs a little boost to their morale. Remember: Once fierce, always fierce!

What YA book should we review next? Let us know by emailing us here!

Jamie Mitchell

Jamie Mitchell is a writer, library assistant, former bookseller, and all-around lover of the written word. She’s currently working on her fifth novel, and if you’re wondering where the other four are, they’re safe on her laptop and in need of rewriting. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, and enjoys traveling, bookstagramming and experimenting with gluten-free flours.


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