This is the third and final book in Krista McGee’s series for teenage girls (following First Date and Starring Me), and I’ve enjoyed all of them (even though I’m a more than a little out of the target age range). There are some references to the earlier books, but this is easily read as a stand-alone story.
The books are well-written, with interesting characters and a solid Christian message. The first two books were quite focused on the modern celebrity culture, but Right Where I Belong has more of a focus on day-to-day life, albeit in the cultural test-tube of an American Christian high school (which isn’t exactly representative of normal life for most of us, any more than reality TV is).
Right Where I Belong is loosely based on the biblical story of Ruth, which is immediately obvious when Natalia decides to go with her stepmother from Spain to Florida when her womanising father divorces Maureen to run off with a younger model. Maureen is bitter and depressed by the failure of her marriage, and is embarrassed to have to return to her home town, divorced and unemployed.
Natalia is thrilled to be going to a Christian school so she can learn more about her new faith, but is challenged in her personal resolution not to date, especially when she attracts the attention of the most popular boy in school—but she is more attracted by Brian, the pastor’s son…
A possible criticism is that Natalia is too perfect a character for teens to relate to, but (parent that I am) I prefer to see this as a positive role model for teenage girls to aspire to. And I know teenagers like this. It’s not an impossible ideal – working hard in school and trying to maintain purity in a fallen world is difficult, but it can be done.
Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Booksneeze® for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Krista McGee at her website.