I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest

I Wanna Be Where You Are

by Kristina Forest

A debut young adult rom-com about an African American ballerina who finds love on the road to an audition.

In a world where it's easy to lose faith in love, I Wanna Be Where You Are is a brilliant burst of light. A dazzling debut. -- Nic Stone, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin and Odd One Out

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.

Reviewed by [email protected] on

5 of 5 stars

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Rating: 4.5 Stars

Chloe aspired to be a ballet dancer, and was thrilled to hear that one of her ballet idols was opening a dance conservatory. Her mother had forbidden her from attending the New York auditions, but when the fates intervened, and her best friend helped her lie to her mother, Chloe was on her way to DC to take her shot. But, as with all the best laid plans, the universe, or rather Chloe's neighbor and former friend, Eli, threw a monkey wrench in them. Things may have gone awry, but this was a road trip, which resulted in so many wonderful and promising things for Chloe.

If you think the person on the cover of this book looks happy and full of joy, you should have seen me, when I was reading this book. My eyes were smiling, my heart was warm, and I was definitely sporting a perm-grin, because this was such a sweet, charming, and heartwarming story.

Chloe was a most wonderful character. She was hardworking, a loyal friend, and a dutiful daughter. The more I learned about her backstory and her somewhat complicated relationship with her overprotective mother, the more I rooted for her. She may not have gone about it in the right way, but it was time for Chloe to exercise her autonomy. And, this road trip was so important for her. Yes, the audition was a B I G step towards her future, but so much more occurred as she made that trek along the east coast.

Chloe believed she lost something, when she injured her ankle, and though she was dancing again, she didn't fell as though she would ever be back at her pre-injury level. While on this trip, Chloe was able to reconnect with some old friends. Each one of them helped Chloe rediscover and reignite something that she lost within herself, and as she recovered those pieces, she was also able to recover her dancing mojo. It was amazing to witness that transformation, and it may have resulted in me doing some sort of YES declaration.

Eli was an interesting match for Chloe. It was a lot of fun watching these enemies with a lot of history evolve into more. I liked that Forest slowly revealed parts of Eli to us, because with each new revelation, I found myself more and more interested in seeing this move from enemies to friends to more. The romance was a slow burn, and it was sweet and adorable, and it made me smile so, so much.

This book was near perfection for me. My only issue was with the ending. It was cute and sweet, but I really needed a jump ahead. There were a few important things left up in the air, and I had so much invested in the future of Chloe and Eli, I just needed a little bit more to be totally satisfied.

If you love seeing people reach for their dream - read this book.
If you like road trip books - read this book.
If you enjoy a good enemies to more romance - read this book.
If you want to laugh and smile and get the warm fuzzies - read this book.

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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Reading updates

  • Started reading
  • 25 May, 2019: Finished reading
  • 25 May, 2019: Reviewed