Kelly's Reviews > Where I Belong

Where I Belong by Gillian Cross
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Nov 26, 11

bookshelves: ya-fiction, read-in-2011

An interesting trend this year seems to be books with a setting in Africa. This one's got Somolia as a backdrop, though the bulk of the story takes place in Britain.

Cross's novel explores the idea of identity as it intersects with history and family. The story's told through three voices, though I never once felt any of the voices were distinct. I found Abdi, the male voice, decidedly female throughout and was a little surprised it wasn't when I found out.

I was confused by the bold text at the end of Freya's sections for a long time until I realized it was the narration of events in Somolia going on "in the mean time." It was in the wrong place in the book and should have been a separate voice all together, and it would have been better to introduce it a smidgen later in the story, when there's a better grip of who the characters in the story are -- see the challenge of three indistinguishable voices.

The hostage situation combined with the modeling situation was a strange mix, but it (mostly) worked. I had a hard time buying that Khadija's adoptive family would let her go on this trip for the modeling and while I enjoyed the knife-twist of who the masked man was (didn't see it coming!), it also felt WAY TOO CONVENIENT for the storyline. It was too easy.

The writing is serviceable at best. I feel like tightening the story a bit, filling out the secondary characters, and offering up more distinct voices in the three narrators would have made this okay read better.
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11/26/2011 page 100
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