Some of my students are voracious readers and have worked their way through almost all the books I kept in my classroom last school year. So I took advantage of my summer break to pick up some new-to-me Young Adult books. Today I want to share one that I found particularly charming: Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee.
Right Where I Belong tells the story of Natalia Lopez, whose rich, divorced parents don’t have time for her. The book begins right after Natalia’s father has divorced his third wife, Maureen. Maureen is a Christian and has been the most nurturing person in Natalia’s life. She’s heartbroken at the thought of losing her stepmom.
A few weeks back I wrote about a heroine who brought to mind the Bible character Naomi (here.) In this story, the heroine is a modern-day Ruth—because when her stepmom leaves Spain to return to her hometown in Florida, Natalia goes with her.
In Florida, Natalia experiences several firsts. She spends her senior year in a Christian school, makes friends with a group of Christian teens, goes on a mission trip, and sees God’s plan for her future start taking shape.
Of course, there’s a boy. In this story, he’s a spiritually mature, goodnatured pastor’s son, who has a heart for people. No matter how appealing he is, Natalia keeps him at arm’s length. She’s determined to avoid her father’s mistakes. But Brian is such a charmer, everyone except Natalia can see they’re meant to be together.
Krista McGee shares a world where Christian friends hold each other accountable, help each other maintain purity, and use their gifts to evangelize the lost.
Too much a fantasy? This is the world my students inhabit. And trust me, the characters in Right Where I Belong have realistic flaws and strengths—just like they do.
I’ve read lots of articles about why young people leave the church. But this book brought to mind what those who stick around after they “grow up” seem to have in common. They’re the ones who have experienced God’s power working in and through their own lives.
I know kids like that. They’ve challenged me and given me hope and ministered to my heart during tough times. So these characters seemed very real to me.
My prediction: My students are going to love Natalia and Brian!
I bet you and your teens will, too.
I picked up Right Where I Belong from Amazon. You can purchase a copy for your family at this link.
Why does Krista write books for teens?
She says, “I know how hard it is to be a teen, trying to live for God and make wise choices while being flooded with hormones that make you want to scream and cry and hug people—sometimes all within the same hour. I want to help teens find God and cling to Him during those years, to know that there are people wanting and willing to help them do that. And I want them to know that serving God is fun and exciting and incredibly rewarding. There’s nothing like it!”
This weekend I purchased Krista’s most recent book, Anomaly. Someday soon I’ll let you know what my students and I think of this intriguing dystopian story.
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