Here's a description of the book:
"Natalia’s about to discover her place in the world . . . and it’s not following in her father’s footsteps.
After watching her father jump from one marriage to the next, Natalia
has completely written off love. And when her father divorces his third
wife—the only one who has been a mother to her—Natalia is ready to
write him off too.
Needing a change of scenery, Natalia leaves her home in Spain and
relocates with her stepmother to sun-soaked Florida. But she didn’t
realize just how far a new school, a new culture, and a new lifestyle
would push her out of her comfort zone.
One of her biggest surprises comes from Brian, a pastor’s son with an
adorable smile, who loves God with a sincerity that astounds Natalia.
She doesn’t want to fall for him, but she can’t seem to avoid him long
enough to get him out of her mind.
Love is the last thing Natalia wants. Even so, God has her right where she belongs."
With just enough elements of the story of Ruth from the Bible to make the connection, Right Where I Belong is a unique YA retelling that should find a place to belong in the hearts of Christian YA fiction fans. I think it's a bit easier to relate to than First Date, McGee's debut novel and an Esther retelling that features a girl unwillingly forced into the spotlight and onto a reality T.V. show.
Right Where I Belong features Natalia, a girl who follows her soon-to-be-divorced stepmother to Florida, leaving her homeland of Spain and trying to grow in her new faith. But learning to fit in, dealing with her stepmother's grief and bitterness, and figuring out what to do about her feelings for her pastor's son make the move quite challenging.
While the basic storyline of Ruth becomes rather clear in the beginning, I love that McGee made this more of an "inspired by" story rather than a strict modern-day retelling. This is a story about finding one's place in the world - about discovering one's passion and opening one's heart to God's leading, while figuring out how to respond to the expectations of parents and society (a theme that hit home for me!). Some of the characters have more of a supporting role than a deeply explored, multi-faceted role, and there isn't a whole lot of suspense in this story. But for a gentle YA romance and a faith journey that takes some unexpected but understandable turns, Right Where I Belong is a sweet read that can pave the way for further discussion or application.
*With thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishing through the Booksneeze program
for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest