Book Review: Heart of Belonging by C. J. Darlington

Shay desperately wants to feel loved and wanted―to be part of a real family. She thought that finally meeting her real father, a famous horse trainer, might change her life for the better. And it did. Sort of. She’s more inspired to work with horses now, for sure, but a “normal” family―like her friends talk about―doesn’t seem like it’s in her future. Living with her aunt and working with horses every day doesn’t seem to give her the love and acceptance that she longs for.

So Shay finds looks herself looking for acceptance elsewhere―on the internet, looking at stuff she doesn’t think she can ever tell anyone about. She’s ashamed of where this takes her, and she suspects her friends, especially Izzy, would reject her if they found out.

Can Shay begin to recognize the blessings she already has―that God’s true love, the acceptance of her friends, and the kindness of her aunt might just be enough?

I enjoy young adult novels, but this story fell flat for me. I was never invested in the main character or felt a true sense of friendship with this group of girls. I think the main character was trying to tell the readers how they were all friends, but I never actually felt like they were. There was a lot of tell and not as much show. I wanted to feel what was going on and not just hear the main character’s thoughts on everything. I do like how the book left things off with her birth father, but otherwise there wasn’t much that interested me about this story. From the faith perspective, there were good questions brought up, but I never felt like there was much real mentorship or scripture coming into play in order to help the main character grow in her struggles or lead to any sort of firm landing in God’s Word.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.