by Gillian Cross
Sent to England to get an education and earn money to help her family back in Somalia, 13 year old Khadija finds herself living with Abdi's family. Abdi wasn't too terribly thrilled about it. He had just lost his father to some sort of accident in Somalia, what exactly it was no one seems to know, and now he has a new 'sister' Khadija, as if taking care of his mother and 2 younger sisters wasn't enough.
Freya knew when her mother got on crazy kicks there was nothing stopping her until she got it all out of her system. Except this time the crazy kick is Somalia. And her mother happens to be one of the most famous fashion designers this century. When her mother sees Khadija she knows she has found the perfect centerpiece for her collection. But what none of them know is what will get set in motion when Khadija is discovered, what devious plots are launched and whose lives will hang in the balance by those they thought they trusted most.
One of the most interesting things about Where I Belong is that it is narrated in turn by Khadija, Abdi and Freya. They pass the story back and forth in a way that makes it seem like they are right there telling you in person. The book doesn't really touch on any heavy immigration issues (a topic which is quite sensitive in England) but does interestingly talk about the disconnect many immigrants feel to the country they are from when they have never even seen their home country as well as the love many still have when living somewhere else. The book does touch on the problems of Somalia, but also focuses on how it is still a place where people live, and that people love. It's a really good read and great for older tweens.
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Age Level: 8th Grade