You Belong With Me {A Book Review}

** I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for consideration. All thoughts are 100% my own.




Realtor Hannah Thornton has many talents. Unfortunately, selling houses in the town where her family name is practically poison isn't one of them. When a business tycoon determines to raze historic homes in the small town of Heritage, Michigan, and replace them with a strip mall, Hannah resolves to stop him. She sets about helping Heritage win a restoration grant that will put the town back on the map--and hopefully finally repay the financial debt Hannah's mother caused the town. But at first no one supports her efforts--not even her best friend, Luke.

Luke Johnson may have grown up in Heritage, but as a foster kid he never truly felt as if he belonged. Now he has a chance to score a job as assistant fire chief and earn his place in the town. But when the interview process and Hannah's restoration project start unearthing things from his past, Luke must decide if belonging is worth the pain of being honest about who he is--and who he was.



Tari Faris has been writing fiction for more than 10 years. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers and My Book Therapy, she works for My Book Therapy, manages learnhowtowriteanovel.com, and is a 2017 Genesis Award winner. She has an MDiv from Asbury Theological Seminary and lives in the Phoenix, Arizona, area with her husband and their three children. Although she lives in the Southwest now, she lived in a small town in Michigan for 25 years.


When a book features a quote stating, "Faris knocked this one out of the park." on the cover, the expectation for the story within is set pretty high for me. And I have to say that Rachel Hauck's words were completely, 100% accurate! What a debut novel this was for Tari Faris.

I love a story that takes place in a small town. There's just something about the coziness that makes it feel like home as you curl up and read it. The quirky characters, the love of community, I cannot get enough. The town of Heritage introduced in You Belong With Me certainly had all that and more.

You Belong With Me introduces us to a wide variety of characters that I enjoyed getting to know and hope to see more of, but the primary focus was Luke and Hannah. Best friends since they were young, it was enjoyable to watch the very natural progression of their friendship into something more... not that it was an easy transition. This was one of those stories where you just wanted to shake them both and make them see what was there in front of them that we as readers could see so easily. But they are far from perfect characters, which made for some points of frustration, but also for a very believable story that I couldn't get enough of. While this was the primary romance, it was actually one of two that we got to see develop throughout the story, which is certainly an added bonus for us romance fans.

Beyond the romance, this is also a really great story about beauty from ashes. We see it in so many ways throughout this story--- in the rebuilding of relationships with one another, in the rebuilding of the town and in the relationships with God seen throughout the story.  Much like we see in this story, life sometimes has a way of not working out as we imagine it will. Things go wrong, one after another... but through this brokenness, God's grace shines constant and brings us right where we belong.

Overall, this was a fantastic read and one that I would certainly recommend. I look forward to seeing more in this series and more from the author in the future.

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