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Where I Want to Be Paperback


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Speak (September 6, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142409480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142409480
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.6 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,002,595 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up–Griffin has created another well-crafted blend of reality and otherworldliness. Teen sisters Jane and Lily tell the story of their relationship in alternating chapters. The gradually developing plot brings a growing understanding that Jane is telling her story after her death. In life, she had a difficult time separating the real from the pretend. She needed to surround herself with items of comfort and preferred her grandparents' home to anyplace else on Earth; after she dies, she returns to their home and re-creates it as it was when they were alive. Attractive, popular Lily, one year younger than Jane, is coming to terms with her sister's death and mental illness. Also confronting her is the tight hold she has on her recently graduated boyfriend and her return to high school without him. Thoughtful, unique, and ultimately life-affirming, this is a fascinating take on the literary device of a main character speaking after death.–Crystal Faris, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 7-10. Griffin returns to a topic she has tackled before, the loss of a sibling, but she frames the story in the alternating narratives of two sisters--one of whom is dead. The story begins with Jane visiting her grandparents and nursing her grudges about her younger, more popular sister, Lily. Told in the third person, Jane's restless recounting is followed by Lily's first-person narrative, which chronicles her romance with Caleb, a relationship that nourishes her and keeps her grounded as she tries to deal with Jane's death. Readers will finds themselves off balance at first as they switch between the narratives and try to understand Jane's reality. But they'll eventually learn that although Jane is dead, she is real enough to Lily, who can't move past the hole in her family. Griffin artfully dabs details on her canvas, then overlays her story with a supernatural patina that will immediately draw in the audience. More impressive is the way she shapes the sisters--each one with her own fears, wishes, and grievances that overlap to push the story forward. The conclusion, in which both Jane and Lily seek freedom, seems hurried, but the buildup is superbly accomplished, as each girl struggles with her ghosts. Ilene Cooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author


THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE is out this August with Soho Press.

Also LOST AWAKE AND LOST will be in paperback this summer.

ALL YOU NEVER WANTED, PICTURE THE DEAD, and TIGHTER are here in paperback.

You can find me on twitter at @adelegriffin or on the web at www.adelegriffin.com

I update my author page on facebook a few times a week, too-- http://www.facebook.com/adelegriffinauthor

Drop me a note and I promise to answer!

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on June 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Jane and Lily are sisters who have always shared a vivid imaginary world. Jane, the elder sibling, was always able to create games her sister Lily loved. But Lily wants to grow up. She starts making friends at school and gets her first boyfriend, while Jane seems stuck in increasingly violent fantasies.

The family comes to realize that Jane is mentally ill. She is put on anti-psychotic medication, but even with the aid of medication Jane realizes she will never be the same kind of normal as her younger, popular sister. An accident separates the sisters, and the story, narrated from opposite sides of the grave, is about the two sisters --- one living, one dead --- still trying to make peace with the life they shared together.

Adele Griffin is the author of a number of psychologically insightful thrillers for young people. Previous books include THE OTHER SHEPARDS, about two young people haunted by the death of the elder siblings they were born to replace; SONS OF LIBERTY, about brothers banding together to overcome their controlling and abusive father; and AMANDINE, about a girl who becomes enmeshed in a dangerous and manipulative friendship. Griffin is a master at blurring the line between what is real and what is imagined, making her books truly spooky.

Mental illness is a popular subject within novels for young people. The teen years are when many mental illnesses begin to appear. WHERE I WANT TO BE is an insightful portrait of living with mental illness, but it never reveals what illness from which Jane is suffering. It is not alone in this omission. Most fiction on this subject never makes a diagnosis.
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Format: Paperback
When I was at the library, I was looking around for a shortish book because technically I'm supposed to be focusing on my ebooks. I thought I'd see what Adele Griffin books were on the shelf since I'd already read two and enjoyed them a lot. When I saw that this book focused on two sisters, I was sold.

It alternated between third-person perspective about older, now dead sister Jane and first-person perspective from younger, still living Lily. The sisters are just a year apart in age but are worlds away in personalities. Lily is acclimated to the outside world, popular with a boyfriend and a cheery disposition. Jane prefers her solitude where she can pretend and she struggles with Lily's easy acceptance into the outside, away from their house, their family, and her.

The book only covers a couple of days after the death of Jane, switching between Jane's path to an afterlife and coming to an understanding about her life and Lily's struggle to move on. In general I preferred Lily's narration because of the personality that accompanies a first-person narration and because I was fascinated by her relationship with her boyfriend Caleb, her anchor who keeps her from sinking in grief. Jane's story is more remembrances of her history and eventually quick segment about her death.

Although I had expected a highly emotional read based on my feelings about sister-sister stories where one of them is hurt or dead, I did not get that from this story. I felt sad for them as their relationship didn't end on a positive note and I was happy that they got a measure of closure. But I had anticipated crying and an internal ache, which I did not have at the end.

Overall: Well-written but not as emotional as I had hoped.
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