Kristina Forest takes us on an enlightening road trip to pursue our own dreams and discover some new playlists in I WANNA BE WHERE YOU ARE.
With the chance to audition for her idol’s ballet conservatory, Chloe Pierce uses her spring break– and the fact that her mom is on vacation– to plan a secret road trip up the east coast, determined to audition. The only thing is Eli Greene, the worst person in the world, is joining her. Blackmailed into allowing him and his dog, Geezer, to come along, Chloe sets on her adventure to pursue her ballet dreams with two annoying, yet cute, passengers.
I Wanna Be Where You Are relies mostly on the relationships between the two main characters. Chloe Pierce and Eli Green are your typical coming-of-age characters. Dealing with their feelings, trying to find themselves, and breaking out of their sheltered homes. This is what makes them so relatable, their inner turmoils and running at adulthood with full force.
It’s no surprise that no matter how much she loves her mother and doesn’t want to betray her trust, Chloe is determined to pursue the thing she loves: Ballet.
Misunderstood and judged too easily, Eli has everything working against him. However, through all his hardships and lack of support he has the same goal: To pursue his love of art.
The story takes place in the span of a spring break which has a perfect pace for the storyline. The plot moved smoothly with setting, storytelling and revelations happening at perfect moments. A big part of this has to do with writing style. Kristina Forest has the ability to tell a story in a simple but captivating way. Her diction isn’t fancy or complicated but straightforward and I believe that’s what makes the story just enough. It’s a perfect summer read.
A surprising touch to I Wanna Be Where You Are is its title. It’s a popular song by Michael Jackson and a nice easter egg to read in the story!
One thing that I, as a reader and a woman of color, really enjoyed is the representation of people of color (POC). Kristina Forest did a wonderful job in displaying this character description throughout the whole book. While some novels I’ve come across make it point to overly describe this, Forest uses actions, phrases, setting and the characters themselves to immerse POC representation. It didn’t feel like a point that had to be made, but a story that should be always told.
It’s the book that will rejuvenate your inner strength, heighten your voice of reason and spark that summer love once again. I Wanna Be Where You Are is a very quick read that packs a big punch of “fierceness.”
RATING: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS
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.