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Where the Heart Is

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  241,982 ratings  ·  3,798 reviews
Talk about unlucky sevens. An hour ago, seventeen-year-old, seven months pregnant Novalee Nation was heading for California with her boyfriend. Now she finds herself stranded at a Wal-Mart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma, with just $7.77 in change. But Novalee is about to discover hidden treasures in this small Southwest town--a group of down-to-earth, deeply caring people willing t ...more
Paperback, 376 pages
Published June 1st 1998 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1995)
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C.L. Marks I read this when I was 14 and loved it. Are there some mature themes? Absolutely. I suppose it all depends on what you want your child exposed to; the…moreI read this when I was 14 and loved it. Are there some mature themes? Absolutely. I suppose it all depends on what you want your child exposed to; the comments are enlightening, but they're a mixed bag. There's always the (far less graphic) film if your daughter wants to enjoy the story as a whole.(less)
Kim Yes. This book came out in August of 1995 and the film was released in 2000.

Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  241,982 ratings  ·  3,798 reviews

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Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, rereads
I read Billie Letts' story of Novalee and Americus Nation back in high school when it was featured on Oprah's book club. I recently saw this reviewed on a friend's page (thank you, Deanna) and felt like is was time for a reread.
Novalee Nation is 17 and pregnant when she is abandoned by her boyfriend Wily Jack at a Walmart in Sequoyah, Oklahoma. Wily Jack had promised Novalee a house in California but on the spot decided he could not deal with impending fatherhood and left her for nothing. Noval
Apr 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book!!! I can't believe I forgot to update and review it here. Sometimes I know I've read a book years ago but can't remember a lot about it. However, that is not the case with this book. I read it in 1999 when I was pregnant with my daughter. It seems like yesterday. It is so well written and such a wonderful book that remains with me all these years later.

The main character Novalee Nation a 17 year old who is abandoned by her boyfriend and who gives birth to a baby girl in a Wal-
This is a women's fiction. I loved this book so much. I watched the movie years ago, and I love it so much. I wanted to read the book after I learned the movie was basic off the book. I have to say the book is just like the book. I loved both the book and the movie. The characters in this book came to live, and I loved how Novalee made her own family. Novalee is a strong young girl that becomes a woman in this book. This was a heart warming story that will bring so much emotions out of you. (*) ...more
Susan's Reviews
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This quirky story of a young girl who lives in a trailer in a Walmart parking lot captured my imagination and my heart.

Nothing could have been further from my own very sheltered (you could even say cloistered in comparison!) youth.

Novalee Nation was young in years, but had lived such a harsh life up until she is taken in by the people of a small town after Novalee gives birth in the local Walmart.

The movie version wasn't bad, either, which is what inspired me to read this excellent book. I love
Jan 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Ya'll, this is the sweetest book in the history of books! I read this one in high school, right before the movie with Natalie Portman came out. That turned out to be a bad idea, because the whole time I was in the theater I was analyzing how the book and the movie differed.

Where the Heart Is tells the story of Novalee Nation, a pregnant teenager who's abandoned by her skank boyfriend in an unfamiliar Walmart. Novalee seems to charm everyone she meets, but she is naive at times and learns the ha
Dec 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i loved this book. i have read many reviews by people that don't and the words "white trash" were always in there somewhere... they couldn't enjoy a book about a "white trash" heroine. i think that it's easy to judge, easy to devalue something because of personal prejudice... but if you've ever been in, known someone, or just heard about another human being in any of the situations resting in these pages, you can see the plain truth of it and it's beauty.
Aug 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
What a colassal waste of time...i'm giving this book the finger as we speak. ...more
Oct 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in high school and it sparked an interest in reading that was pretty much non-existent until then. Thanks Miss Illingworth! I also saw this movie, and although it was cute, I am much more connected to Letts's fabulous characters as they were described on paper. She has a true gift of making you connect with the people in her stories. Their "real-ness" is something to be applauded. ...more
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: march-2019
Buzzword-A-Thon: Where

Unexpected Read-A-Thon: Read something that's been on your TBR since 2018 or earlier

I'm in the minority on this one, because this book has great reviews and people seem to love it. I think I read a different book then everyone else, because this book was not good.

Where The Heart Is by Billie Letts is about 17 year old Novalee Nation who's seven months pregnant and has just been abandoned at a Wal-Mart by her baby daddy.

The best way to describe Where The Heart Is, is its
Feb 14, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This book was horrible, if I could give it half a star I would. It's really unrealistic, if someone was living in a Wal Mart in real life, they'd be arrested, not given a job. And I thought Forney was a complete loser & Novalee was dumb to be so attracted to him, & I think the author had way too much fun thinking of ways that God could punish Willy Jack, the loser father of the baby, because all these horrible things happen to him. It makes teenage motherhood look glamorous & sends the message t ...more
Feb 03, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
This book was pretty much a worthless piece of fluff. Anything this book does, any Barbara Kingsolver book will do about 2000 times better. This book is right on the border of dreadful.

I must have gotten this book out of the trash. I hope I didn't pay even 20 cents for it at the Social Services League. Maybe I got it on $5 bag day at the Friends of the Library book sale. All I can say is that any amount I paid for this book was TOO MUCH!

I read it when I was on a trip. I read it in airports and o
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-reads
Having seen the movie several times I already really knew this story. This book came out when I was only 5 years old and it is crazy that it has taken me this long to pick it up.

I enjoyed it for the most part! The book gives a lot more detail character wise than the movie which was nice on occasion, but I thought the movie did a good job editing the characters especially Willy Jack; there was some unneeded scenes with him.

Having said that this story is filled with great side characters. Moses
Kat (Books are Comfort Food)
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Enjoying read.
Siobhan Colley
Mar 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was introduced to this book since i watched the film first, and thought it was beautiful. This book didn't dissapoint me, it had beauty and love. Some may say its unbelivable or incourages teenage pregancy, since all ends well. But i don't believe thats true this book is about the good and bad in life, how sometimes a bad situation that looks like it will never get better, can be the begginning. A start to someones history, a start to someones life, a chance to become someone new. I related to ...more
Nov 02, 2015 rated it did not like it
Honestly, the only thing I enjoyed about this book was that it was an easy read, which made the process of finishing it quick and slightly less painful. Only slightly, though, because this book was pretty much a waste of my time. I got nothing out of this story whatsoever. Novalee is the least inspiring protagonist I've ever had to follow, and the breaks to Willy Jack's story line came as a relief, despite the fact that he's meant to be a secondary character.

I don't understand the choice to mak
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Ahhhh such a great feel-good book, but NOT, at the same time. Novalee definitely has experienced her share of heartbreak and sadness, but she trucks on and always comes out okay on the other side. I have always loved this movie and the book was wonderful as well! I was happy to see that the movie followed very closely with the book.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
First, let me start off by saying this book was made into a movie (starring Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd) in 2000. It is one of those feel good flicks (you know the type, the kind that plays on Lifetime) and I saw it a few years ago. I'm one of those people who prefers to read a book prior to watching the movie adaptation, because I like to visualize the characters and scenes myself. There is a certain thrill of a story unfolding on a page vs. a movie screen (and the book is almost always mor ...more
Karina Almeroth
One of my all-time fav books. The first time I read it, I bought it from the bookstore at Indro shopping centre (before it closed down...sigh!!) one Saturday afternoon with my ex husband (husband at the time...another sigh!), then went home, went to bed, didn't sleep that night and read it all in one sitting. I was blown away by it then, and even named my daughter after one of the characters (Cherry).

Rereading it now, it hasn't lost any of its power and beauty. I find it's really a book about th
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own, favorites
Have you ever been so "daw-gone" tired, that you're visualizing the comfort of your solitary bed? That warm down comforter. Your plush pillows. You keep pumping yourself up with the thought that you're nearly home. You've finally made it. You want to ensure that you really enjoy your night's rest, so even though you can hardly move, you go through your nightly hot shower ritual. Finally, you settle into bed, turn out the lights. All is quiet save for the steady breathing of your furry friends, a ...more
Heather Victoria
Feb 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This was a very easy read. A very good story. Of course considering I've seen the movie 1000 times the whole way through it I was comparing the two. Of course the movie didn't have all the personal relationships Novalee gains but as a whole the movie kept the same story. The movie just mixed the events up. ...more
Jennifer DeLucy
Aug 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
Not sure why, but this one always appealed to me. Something about the idea of surviving in a Walmart...just intrigues me.
Jamie Winfield
Feb 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick, cute, easy read. It seems that this is a love/hate book. Don't read it expecting some great piece of high-minded literature. Take it for what it is - a feel good story about growing and changing.

Novalee Nation matures throughout the book because of the people she meets in her new home. Where the Heart is is a book about the journey that you take as you grow up.
Jul 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
What may appear as fluff and cheap chick lit is a masterful account of the ebb and tide of love, while there are saccharine notes there are some hard hitting truths exposed within the pages. What would happen if Romeo and Juliet survived? A young ingénue is abandoned by her paramour to face the teenage pregnancy which has become a tell of their union. Set amidst a trailer park and a Walmart in the heartland of America these motifs are indictments of the truth of the American dream and offer a st ...more
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
This is an Oprah recommended book which is why I began it. I didn't finish it --- a rare thing for me, but really, I couldn't spend any more time with the naive, starry-eyed, po' white trash heroine. She's 17, pregnant, and has been abandoned at a Walmart by her do-wrong boyfriend. When she gets her hands on some money the first thing she does is turn it over to her mother who abandoned her when she was nine (or something). Loser Mom read about her daughter in the paper because daughter had her ...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Great book. I read it in 4 hours and spent most of that time crying. Definitely a book that stays with you and warms your heart. The movie version was actually pretty darn faithful but doesn't take the place of this gem. ...more
Jun 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: roman
4,25 stars - English hardcover ( libarybook ) - I have dyslexia - review follows later 🍀🦋🍀
May 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Where the Heart Is is a story about a 17-year old pregnant girl called Novallee on a road trip to California from her home in Tennessee with her boyfriend, hoping to find a happy home with her boyfriend working on the railroads. Never has Novallee ever lived in a house and she wants to make sure that her baby grows up in the best environment that she can create. Novallee keeps a journal full of magazine pictures of houses and she looks through them, imagining her dream house in her head. But get ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
A quick re-read for an SRC task.

A very sweet story about a teenager discarded by those who should care for her (parents, boyfriend who is the father of her baby, etc). Instead, Novalee makes a family for herself out of the misfits in a small Oklahoma town. The setting feels very nailed into the Oklahoma landscape in a way that The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend does not. I originally picked this up in undergrad because the hook - pregnant Novalee somehow manages to live inside the Wal-Mart w
Aug 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
This is the only book I've ever read that I wanted to throw across the room. It's very sappy and poorly written. Oh, and the story is stupid. Don't read it. Ever. ...more
Jun 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
The upbeat side of tragedy comes through at every turn and the reader is pleasantly left with the optimism that good will prevail. A joy to read and emotionally satisfing along the way.
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Billie Letts (born in Tulsa, Oklahoma) is an American author. Earlier she worked as a professor at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. She was married to Dennis Letts until his death in 2008, and is the mother of playwright and actor Tracy Letts and jazz musician and composer Shawn Letts. ...more

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