Review: Where I Belong by J. Daniels (Alabama Summer #1)


Where I Belong is the first novel in the Alabama Summer series from bestselling author J. Daniels. Funnily enough, I've had this book sitting in my Kindle library since June 2017, and umm, I only got around to reading it this month. Sad but true, so I guess it isn't all that funny. HOWEVER, after having finished my first ever read from Daniels, The Tragedy of Felix and Jake, and encountering several couples, my curiosity was piqued, and I needed to know how their own journeys to their obvious happily-ever-afters played out. So, here I am, FINALLY catching up on all things Alabama Summer, and I am, quite possibly, absolutely hooked.

When Mia Corelli accepts her childhood best friend's invitation to spend the summer in Ruxton, Alabama--the place Mia once called home--she knows that sooner or later, she's going to cross paths with Benjamin Kelly, aka her best friend's older brother and the bane of Mia's existence growing up. The thing is, she realizes a little too late that she'd already encountered Ben even before getting to Ruxton. Turns out, he's the guy she hooked up with--the same guy who punched her V-card. And her? She's the woman Ben hasn't been able to forget since that night. Unfortunately for Ben, Mia hasn't forgotten every single terrible thing he did to her when they were kids. She's determined to hate him; he's focused on getting her to fall for him.

Well, this was a great take on the falling-for-your-best-friend's-sibling trope, especially given how Ben treated Mia when they were younger. It's a reminder that hurtful and mean things said and done to others as kids and teens can stay with you as adults, and excusing said behavior as "they're just kids" doesn't help. On the flipside, one can also make amends, since apologies can only go so far. So, kudos to Ben for coming to the realizations that he did, and truly going out of his way to prove to Mia that he isn't the same boy he used to be. There were moments of wariness and doubt, as well as a lot of back and forth between the two, but when put their hearts on the line, they were all in. I liked the glimpses I got of the recurring characters, and I could help but compare how they were in this series starter and how they are in The Tragedy of Felix and Jake. Suffice it to say, I shall be continuing the series! Four stars for Where I Belong!

Date Read: 05 March 2023

Learn more about J. Daniels.

Purchase Where I Belong on Amazon.

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