Where We Belong

  • by Catherine Ryan Hyde
  • Narrated by Vanessa Johansson
  • 11 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Fourteen-year-old Angie and her mom are poised at the edge of homelessness...again. The problem is her little sister, Sophie. Sophie has an autism-like disorder and a tendency to shriek. No matter where they live, home never seems to last long. Until they move in with Aunt Vi, across the fence from a huge, black Great Dane who changes everything.
Sophie falls in love immediately and begins to imitate the "inside of the dog", which, fortunately, is a calm place. The shrieking stops. Everybody begins to breathe again. Until Paul Inverness, the dog's grumpy, socially isolated owner, moves to the mountains, and it all begins again. Much to Angie's humiliation, when they're thrown out of Aunt Vi's house, Angie's mom moves the family to the mountains after Paul and his dog. There, despite a 50-year difference in their ages, Angie and Paul form a deep friendship - the only close friendship either has known. Angie is able to talk to him about growing up gay, and Paul trusts Angie with his greatest secret, his one dream.
When the opportunity arrives, Angie decides to risk everything to help Paul's dream come true, even their friendship and her one chance at a real home - the only thing she's dreamed of since her father was killed. A place she can never be thrown out of. A place where she can feel she belongs. By the best-selling author of Don't Let Me Go, When I Found You, and Walk Me Home, Where We Belong is a poignant, heartfelt, and uplifting story about finding your place in the world no matter how impossible it seems.

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What the Critics Say

"Hyde has a sure touch with affairs of the heart." (Publishers Weekly)
"Hyde is a remarkable, insightful storyteller, creating full-bodied characters whose dialogue rings true, with not a word to spare." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Mixed Review

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Yes. I would take out the political agenda and just tell the story of the girl, her severely autistic sister and her mother. The swearing and the sexual preference did not ring true to the character but felt like a deliberate attempt to normalize her supposed sexual preference.The girl's relationship with the owner of the bookstore came across as a young teen looking up to an intelligent and kind young woman as a mother figure. The part about the girl's supposed feelings towards the older woman didn't fit with the description of their relationship. Some of the conversations between the girl and the older gentleman were disturbing.


Has Where We Belong turned you off from other books in this genre?

It has made me wary to read other books by this author.


Which scene was your favorite?

I loved the autistic girl's relationship with the neighbor's dog. It was touching how the dog and the girl both seemed to understand each other.


Do you think Where We Belong needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No because it rang false. When I read a book or listen to a book I want to be able to believe the story. This story described a girl with a very hard life but the hints about her sexuality were not supported by her own narrative or her interactions with others.


Any additional comments?

I would have loved this book if the author had not pushed her political agenda onto her characters. I could see this teenage girl and the retired gentleman as becoming friends but I could not see him talking about his sex life with her. That part seemed highly inappropriate boardering on creepy. Just because someone is a close friend does not mean healthy boundaries are not important.

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- Gretchen "Say something about yourself!"

3.5--Very, Very Nice, But Really Short on Conflict

Catherine Ryan Hyde delivers, yet again, a nice, moving, character-driven story that has it's heart-warming moments that you'll love if you're a fan of hers. I am and have read, and listened, to many a book and audiobook with absolute pleasure. But, oh, I dunno, they're starting to miss a few beats. While I enjoyed the characters, there really was very little conflict and plot to drive the story forward, which made it difficult to listen through (this wasn't a cover-to-cover listen by any stretch of the imagination). There are problems, sure, but zippo conflict. And one would think, with the desperation, the devastation that can be wrought by autism spectrum disorder, there would be bouts of chaos, fighting to keep hope sprinkled throughout the story, there actually was not. It was simply a device. Indeed, the girl, Sophie, pretty much disappears from the narrative by the end. Gosh, how convenient.
If you're looking for gut-wrenching, long stretches of going against the odds and crying into a tissue: No, not here.
If you're looking for a few moments of warmth from likable characters who have to sort out a few difficulties as they travel through life: This is for you.
Especially as a Daily Deal or Half-Credit
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- Gillian "SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-03-2015
  • Publisher: Audible Studios