Exactly Where You Need to Be

Exactly Where You Need to Be
Age Range
Release Date
June 07, 2022
Turtles All the Way Down meets Love and Luck in this romantic road trip story about a teen girl’s last chance to have an epic summer with her best friend before everything changes. Florie’s OCD and her mother’s worrying have kept her from a lot of things, like having an after-school job and getting her driver’s license. And now that she’s graduated high school, while her best friend Kacey is headed off to Portland in the fall, Florie’s taking a parent-sanctioned gap year off before starting college. When the decision was made, Florie was on board, but now she can't ignore the growing itch to become the person she wants to be and venture outside the quaint, boring Washington town she grew up in. Winning tickets to see her favorite true crime podcast’s live show in California gives her the opportunity to do just that, if only for a few days. So—unbeknownst to their parents—Kacey and Florie set off on a road trip to San Francisco. The only downside in Florie’s opinion? Sam, Kacey’s older brother and Florie’s forever crush, is their ride. The Samson Hodge, who Florie hasn’t seen since winter break, and who she’d prefer to never see again, if possible. But Florie is willing to put up with Sam if it means one last adventure with her best friend. Making it to San Francisco and back to Washington without their parents catching on isn’t a given, but one thing is for sure: this trip will change everything.

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Florie is spending the summer after high school dreading her best friend, Kacey, moving to a big city for college. Because of her OCD, Florie's mom advised her to take a gap year, but lately, Florie has been thinking more and more about good vs. bad stress and what she might be capable of. When Florie and Kacey win tickets to see their favorite true crime podcast live, Florie lies to her overprotective parents and heads on one last road trip before Kacey leaves. The only problem, other than Florie's worry her mom will discover the truth, is Sam: Kacey's older brother who is driving them and who Florie has been crushing on for two years. During this trip, Florie will challenge herself and grow in ways she never expected.


1.) The OCD representation: From the first chapter, we know Florie has OCD. Her OCD symptoms caused major changes in her life, especially the last year, and she feels really anxious that she will be left behind when Kacey leaves for college. I love that the narrative is never about Florie 'fixing' her OCD. It's about her learning when and how to challenge herself, how to be kinder to herself, and how to both identify and communicate her needs. I also appreciated how her mother ties in. Her mother has put many restrictions on Florie in an attempt to keep her safe, but it becomes a detriment. Both have to face harsh truths by the end.

2.) The romance: Sam and Florie are completely adorable together. While Florie has been crushing on Sam for years, she didn't think he felt the same, even after they shared a kiss the prior winter break. Their slow burn romance was so cute and just the right amount of awkward.

3.) The friendship between Kacey and Florie: While the romance is a huge part of the story, I would argue that, besides Florie's relationship with herself, the biggest relationship is between Kacey and Florie. From the beginning, Florie is worried how Kacey leaving will affect their friendship. Florie hasn't had many friends, especially close, best friends like Kacey, and she worries that Kacey will go to college, meet better friends, and forget about Florie. When things do heat up between Sam and Florie, she then has the added concern that Kacey won't want to be friends with her at all once she realizes she's into Sam and has kept it a secret from her for years. I love how they learn to talk it out and make their bond even stronger.

EXACTLY WHERE I NEED TO BE is the perfect summer road trip read complete with authentic OCD representation, a cute romance, and a powerful friendship.
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