30 September 2014

New Release & Review: Home Is Where You Are

Home Is Where You Are
by Tessa Marie


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What they say: Anna’s life reads like a check list. 

Straight A’s (Check)

Editor of the school paper (Check)

Volunteering time at the local soup kitchen (Check)

Ivy League (So close she can taste it) 
Falling in love with a homeless boy (Not on the list) 

Dean has a plan too. Survive. After being subjected to his foster father’s violent attacks, Dean made the hard choice to leave. Now he lives on the streets doing everything he can to get by, refusing to let people help him. But when he meets Anna, he realizes not everyone is out to hurt him. 

Slowly, Anna and Dean let each other in, blending their two worlds into one. But when a series of events brings Dean’s world into perspective, he pushes Anna away. Not willing to accept the line that divides them, Anna sets out to bring Dean back to her. Her determination and faith in their future puts her on the tracks of danger, and he is the only one who can save her.

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Author spotlight: 

Tessa Marie lives in the same town she grew up in on Long Island, NY with her long time boyfriend and their fish. Under her real name, Theresa Paolo, she released her debut novel (NEVER) AGAIN, a NA romance, in Fall 2013 with Berkley (Penguin) and (ONCE) AGAIN released this summer. She is also the coauthor of the Amazon bestseller KING SIZED BEDS AND HAPPY TRAILS and BEACH SIDE BEDS AND SANDY PATHS, a YA contemporary series. She has a hard time accepting the fact she’s nearing thirty, and uses her characters to relive the best and worst years of her life. She put her love of writing on hold while she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Dowling College. When she’s not writing, she’s behind a camera, reading, or can be found on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

I received a copy in exchange for an honest review!

What I say: Oh Dean!! I really wasn't expecting this to be so emotional or so endearing! Home Is Where You Are covers some pretty traumatic and upsetting topics, but it's done with great sensitivity and charm! 

I noticed another reviewer had commented on the book blurb underselling the story and I'm definitely have to agree. I had expected another YA story about an overachiever and a misunderstood bad boy. This couldn't have been further from the truth as Anna's achievements are the least of her appeal and Dean has far more important matters to consider than being a player. The same has been said about the cover. Yes, it's beautiful but it's only once you've read the book you understand the importance of the leaves. It's when you know Home Is Where You Are is more than a YA love story that the cover becomes very apt!

The book highlights the value of love and family. Life is hard, both Anna and Dean face a battle to survive, just in very different ways. Tessa Marie certainly puts her young characters through it, but she also offers them hope and love. 

We're treated to split POV, which really helps to demonstrate their personal struggle. For the most part I was more drawn to Dean's story. This isn't to say I didn't care about Anna because I did. It's just Dean's life is so hard and so different from anything I've known, I couldn't help but focus upon it.

Dean struggles with the simple things most of us wouldn't even consider. This is highlighted whenever Anna would comment on something amiss in her life, then worry she was being insensitive. I ended up spending hours looking up how I could help teens like Dean, not through pity, but because I don't think any body should be in such a sad situation. I couldn't help but think about how young people are often failed by society (sorry about all the heavy).

Onto a more positive note: I loved the friendship between the MCs and seeing them take pleasure in such simple things. The banter between Dean and Anna was super sweet - I liked how he still managed to smile and flirt. 

Home Is Where You Are also looks at conceptions and misjudgments. Anna never judges Dean by his situation and I think we could all learn something from her!

4 - 4.5 Stars in my Sky!


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