Friday, February 23, 2018

Where I Live

I am blown away by this book.

Where I Live - Brenda Rufener

This evocative debut YA novel tells the story of Linden, a homeless teen secretly living in her high school. Together with her makeshift family of close friends, Linden struggles against the hardships of her past and begins to shape a bright future. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon, this is a stirring novel about overcoming all odds. 


1. Prevent the in-class nap.
2. Never carry too many belongings.
3. Avoid looking the part. 

Her rules guarantee no one discovers her secret–that she’s homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her best friends, Ham and Seung, have formed a makeshift family, and writing for her school’s blog prevents downtime. When you’re homeless, free time sucks. Despite everything Linden’s burdened with, she holds on to hope for a future and a maybe romance with Seung.

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 attention. And attention is the last thing Linden needs. 

To put a stop to the violence, Linden must tell the story. Even if it breaks her rules for survival and jeopardizes the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

In this book we follow high school senior, Linden Rose, as she navigates her last year of high school while homeless. She's only homeless if you don't consider her home, the school, an actual home. She has an entire process to stay under the radar, of how to get into the building after hours, and what to do if she can't. It's a heartbreaking look at the reality of a lot of students among us. She was able to be a mini adult after the murder of her mother and she didn't want to get sucked into the foster care system so this was her next best option.

Not only is she juggling homelessness but she's also a teenager, which is hard enough. She's got her best friends Ham and Seung, and she starts to develop feelings for Seung. But things aren't as easy as they seem because Seung is coming into his own, too.

There is a parallel story with Bea, the girl who bullies Linden, in which she's a total witch to Linden but true to bullying form, she has her own problems which probably makes her the way she is. She's dealing with teenage domestic violence and when we find out the story behind all of that it's kind of surprising and shows how we misread people all of the time.

But before we know it, Linden is forced to be honest with her friends and school and she has to decide if she's willing to trust people with her secrets. Can she open up in time to save her friendships and herself?

I'm giving this book a solid 4.5 stars. It was well written and if I had to be critical I felt like we almost veered too much into Bea's story and it got a little long. But once things started unraveling I really got into it again and found myself rooting for Linden all the way.

Where I Live will be available on February 27, 2018 but you can pre-order it now!


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