YA Contemporary at Its Best!
Where I Live has won its place in my all-time favorite YA Contemporary books list and I don't think I'll ever stop showering it with praise. From the first page Linden Rose captured my heart and I constantly found myself wanting to hug her and to somehow pluck her out of the pages, away from her harsh reality.
Linden Rose slipped away from authorites the night her mother was murdered and headed straight to a small town where her grandmother lives. However, the grandmother dies in the town's nursing home soon after her arrival and Linden is left officially alone in the world. With a small amount of money left by her mother, she decides to make her new school's halls her home, thus becoming a master at hiding in plain sight.
Linden Rose is one of the most admirable characters I've ever had the pleasure of meeting. She's the kind of character who can stand on her own and whose story I would love to follow endlessly. Despite her living situation and not having a parent figure on her side, she manages to live every day with hope and determination. She works harder than everyone and loves even stronger. And she's the kind of person that would sacrifice everything for her friends.
I adored the way Linden (in her mind) adopts her friends Ham and Seung, and declares them her family. Ham and Seung love her back fiercely, but I don't even think they come to realize how much Linden loves them. Her love for them is what makes her afraid to tell them the truth of her being homeless, and my heart ached for her insecurity.
Oh, but the way she always thought about her mother! We never get to meet Linden's mom since she is already dead from the beginning, but I loved how she is still very much alive in Linden's heart. Her presence is a constant companion to Linden's loneliness and it was sad and amazing at the same time.
Where I Live also deals with domestic violence so thread carefully if triggered by this. It's not a topic I have much experience with but I believe the author addresses it appropriately along with homelessness.
Where I Live is the kind of book that touches your heart, rips it away, yet eventually mends. It's the kind of book that makes you fall in love with the main character from page one and end up hoping that they get to live a happily ever after. Personally, I believe it's YA Contemporary at its best.
TW: Domestic Violence / Abuse