Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins
I left everything I knew behind.
But it was worth it. He was worth it.
No one thought an ordinary girl like me would last two minutes living with the Amish, not even me. There are a lot more rules and a lot less freedom, and I miss my family and the life I once had. Worst of all, Noah and I aren't even allowed to see each other. Not until I've proven myself.
If I can find a way to make it work, we'll be NOAH & ROSE together forever.
But not everybody believes this is where I belong.
Publishes in US: April 30th 2013 by Harlequin TEEN
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: publisher for review
Series? Yes. 2nd in the Temptation series. The first is Temptation and you can read my review here. The second is Belonging. The 3rd is titled Forever and no info yet on release
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Belonging picks up the theme of the intense and all encompassing love between Noah and Rose. I loved being in their heads, and how much they care for one another. Besides their dual perspectives, we also get to hear from Sam in this one. I didn't think I would like his point of view as much as the others, but I ended up really appreciating what he had to bring to the story. Even when he did stupid stuff. But seeing him fall for Summer, and the things that he realizes about himself, and how much he grows, the the very adult choice he makes in the end really impressed me.
This is not to say that I didn't have any issues with the books. Noah and Rose both are so mature and immature all at the same time. They make sacrifices for one another and in order to be together, and that proves that their feelings are real, but then the selfish side of each of them rears its head. Especially when there are misunderstandings and things trying to tear them apart. At times, their love seems more like an obsession, but then there are healthy things that seem to negate it. I was just so back and forth, but the one thing that kept drawing me in was their character growth. What they learn about each other, the respect they gain for their elders and others in the community, and how much they start to grow up really impressed me. Besides being caught up in their epic romance and the forbidden love element that I really loved.
I wanted them to be happy, and for them to work out if their love is true and they were making decisions for the right reasons. But when things threaten to tear them apart, and both Noah and Rose are under assumption of things that are not true, they make some really bad choices. It added a lot to their character development, but I was almost disgusted at the lengths they would go through to make themselves forget and try to move on from what happens. I just wanted their love to have a full chance or to fall apart without outside and dishonest things working against them.
The story ended at a good point for wrapping up the second book, but at such an important moment, that as a reader I was left wanting to do almost anything to stay in this world and find out what happens next.
Belonging is incredibly fast paced, I never wanted to put it down, and I didn't want to blink in fear of missing a steamy moment between the two. I was swept up in their love and in their story. There is a lot of drama, secrets, misconceptions, and games that go on, so if you didn't like Temptation or thought the lengths they would go to for love is extreme, then you probably won't like Belonging, but if you can roll that way with your love story, like I can, then you will probably love it too.
The Amish culture and what Rose had to endure converting to the religion and way of life all seems very well researched. I can't imagine living that way, even for a boy, but I loved experiencing it through Rose.
There were some pretty intense scenes and themes dealt with in here. While I agreed with Rose's heart in how she responded to of the issues (trying to free a friend from abuse and her terror over this person) I didn't agree with how she went about it. Other than the abuse aforementioned, there was also talk of and committing intercourse, violence, and near rapes. None of them were gone into detail, and they were handled well by the author.
I will definitely be picking up the next book. I can't wait to find out what happens with Noah and Rose next, as well as getting into Sarah's (Noah's sister--we get a preview of the 3rd book featuring her pov at the end) head. I am eager for more character development and to see if love can conquer all for Noah and Rose.
My question to you, my lovely readers:
Do you think you could convert to Amish for a man you loved?