Book Review: Belonging

Belonging CoverBook: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

*Expected publication is April 30, 2013 by Harlequin Teen|Expected Number Of Pages: 414

*Belonging is an e-ARC from netgalley.com*

Series: Temptation #2

Genre: YA Contemporary

Find out more on Goodreads

Summary: I left everything I knew behind. 

But it was worth it. He was worth it. 

No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren’t even allowed to see each other. Not until I’ve proven myself.

If I can find a way to make it work, we’ll be NOAH & ROSE 

together forever. 

But not everybody believes this is where I belong.

For pretty much the entire book, I found myself rooting for Noah and Rose…while being so freaking irritated with her family, particularly her dad and her older brother!

Rose lasted several months longer in the Amish community than anyone ever expected, and while it was a hard adjustment for her, she did make the effort to try to fit in.  She finds some new friends- Miranda, Suzanne and Summer, and I like her friendship with the three girls, as well as the relationships she forms with her foster family.

I loved seeing Noah and Rose narrate the novel, which still works so well, because you see their interactions with those around them and their thoughts on what’s going on.  You really see how different their beliefs are, much more than in Temptation.  We also have a new narrator in the form of Sam, Rose’s older brother.  For a good chunk of the book, I wasn’t sure about Sam as a narrator, but by the end I warmed up to it.  He does add the perspective of what it was like for him to have his younger sister gone and what he thought about it.

So.  The irritation with her family.  It was really well-done, and while I totally wanted to punch them in the face or something, I get why they acted the way they did.  I HATED how they went about it.  They assume that Rose won’t go with them if they show up at the house where she’s living, so they come up with this plan that involves getting Rose to Wal-Mart, where they plan to…surprise her with their presence, and having a police officer on hand, and drag her home.  Then they have her younger brother write a letter to Noah (because Justin’s hand-writing is similar to Rose’s) and when Noah arrives at Rose’s house, he gets a letter from Rose saying she doesn’t want to see him again.

I get that they thought she’d be home sooner, and I get they want her to make sure that she wants to be Amish, and to live in the English world a little longer.  But the entire time, they’re totally dismissive of what Rose wants.  They don’t like this particular Amish community because her dad and Sam think they’re backwards and they think the entire thing is stupid and ridiculous.  They tell her she can do whatever she wants when she’s 18, but in the meantime, she’s cut-off from the Amish world.  I feel like they do everything in their power to make sure she NEVER joins the Amish community.  I don’t want to speculate on whether that’s intentional on Hopkins’ part, but that’s the vibe I got from her family.  You see her and Noah move on- Noah even becomes engaged to a girl who is the polar opposite of Rose, and Sam’s reaction is so frustrating!  He’s all annoyed that Noah moved on, but what does Sam expect when he broke up Noah and Rose?  You don’t get to break them up and be all happy when Rose moves on but all mad when Noah also moves on.  He did think that Rose broke up with him, after all.  In the end, he feels bad, and tells Noah he had Justin write the break-up letter- and all because of Summer being upset with what they did.

In my review for Temptation, I mentioned that her family’s reaction to her decision was one reason why the novel worked so well, and I wasn’t quite sure why.  But in Belonging, I realized that it’s BECAUSE her family thinks it’s stupid and are totally dismissive of the whole thing.  The whole time, I definitely understood their concern with Rose making such a huge decision at the age of 17, because she hasn’t experienced a lot of life.  It’s just…as much as their reaction irritated me, I could see it.

Something that I didn’t mention in my review of Temptation was when Noah suggested that Rose pretend to be pregnant so that they’ll have to get married.  Initially, she balks, because her dad’s a doctor, and she feels like she wouldn’t be able to fool him.  It becomes irrelevent in Temptation because of the accident Noah has…so imagine my surprise when Noah and Rose sleep together and she gets pregnant!  We have yet to see her dad’s reaction, or what Rose thinks, but we see that Noah hopes she’s pregnant, because it will ensure that he will marry her…I mean, there are rules to follow in the Amish community.

Final Thoughts:

I know this review is mostly me talking about things that happen as opposed to my really scattered thoughts, but those events are huge in terms of why I like the book.  I really enjoyed Belonging, and I LOVE the contrast between Rose and Noah.  Rose’s family was definitely irritating, and while I disagree with how they went about things, I can also understand.  Their reaction to the Amish way of life makes the novel work, because you see how much they don’t want that life for Rose.  Belonging gets 4 stars.

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