Title: I Wanna Be Where You Are
Author: Kristina Forest
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Review Copy: Library
Availability: Available now
Summary: 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.
Review: As someone who can’t dance, like, at all, dancing seems like a feat of magic to me. And I Wanna Be Where You Are is just that — magic. The book takes you on a journey that is incredible from start to finish.
I Wanna Be Where You Are follows Chloe Pierce as she sneaks out to attend an audition for a dance conservatory that’s way too far for her mother. Her neighbor Eli ends up hitching a ride, which is absolutely not in her plans at all. What should be a simple trip to an audition turns into an epic road trip where Chloe confronts her own fears, ambitions, and her history with Eli. Also, Eli brings his dog Geezer, which is just the icing on this book cake.
I’ve always found road trip books hit-or-miss, but I Wanna Be Where You Are definitely pulls it off. You immediately connect with Chloe and root for her as she embarks on her journey. And of course, Eli is charming and has layers, like an onion (couldn’t resist). I had a ton of fun reading I Wanna Be Where You Are, and it ended up being the perfect summer read.
In this interview, author Kristina Forest talks about why she wrote I Wanna Be Where You Are: “I really just wanted to write the story I didn’t have as a teen myself. I wanted to see a Black girl follow her dreams, have an adventure and fall in love.” That certainly comes through in the story, and it’s awesome to think of all the teens who will have a book like this in their libraries.
Basically: I Wanna Be Where You Are is a must-read for summer, winter, and really, any time of year. I’d say that this is THE best road trip book I’ve read, period. Definitely read it ASAP!
Recommendation: Buy it now!