Belonging (Temptation, # 2)
By: Karen Ann Hopkins
Published: April 30th 2013 by Harlequin TEEN
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)
Goodreads description--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
But not everybody believes this is where I belong.
I went into Belonging with quite a bit of trepidation. I enjoyed Temptation, but I also found myself also frustrated with it and the characters. So I just wasn't sure how I was going to feel about Belonging. Not to mention that the only review I've seen of Belonging was a 2 star rating. And after reading Belonging I still feel myself torn. On the one hand, I eagerly read Belonging and struggled with putting it down--I wanted to keep reading; while at the same time, feeling extremely frustrated with these characters, their decisions, and specifically the last 20% of the book. I can't decide if the writing style that kept me devouring the pages wins out over the fact that I wanted to smack these characters.
My issues with Belonging are pretty much the same as they were with Temptation. You can read my review of Temptation here, but this will pretty much be a repeat of those same issues.
I still found myself annoyed at Rose's ignorance of the Amish culture while at the same time deciding to join it. Their culture is not some obstacle in the way of your forbidden romance (yes, I'm talking to Rose). It's a way of life. And the only way you survive it is if you believe in it (now speaking in general). Rose continually gets frustrated with the rules placed upon her and the differences in the gender roles, but she actually does a pretty good job of biting her tongue which I give her kudos for. As I said in my review of Temptation, I actually find women who are extreme feminists really annoying, and Rose bordered on that for me.
Continuing from Temptation is the fact that both characters still wish to change the other so much. Noah actually says in his first narration that it's Rose's wild side and spunk that he loves more than anything else. How is that going to work when she turns into a meek, chaste, Amish girl? Summer, a new character to the series who becomes Rose's best friend, actually brings this up to Rose. If she changes who she is to become Amish, will she still be the girl who Noah fell in love with? And if Noah wants someone who's wild, unpredictable, and full of heat, passion, and fire, then is Amish was he really wants? *Minor spoiler alert (just skip to the next paragraph): And why does Rose wait until AFTER she's taken the vows to join the Amish church and community to bring up her thoughts to Noah? Why would she think that he would suddenly become English AFTER she's already gone and joined the Amish community? There's no reason for him to. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Am I right? (That's rhetorical, you don't have to answer.)
All of that said, I still find myself questioning whether Rose and Noah's relationship can possibly survive the test of time when all they want to do is change each other. And that's not to mention the other issues facing them. This is one of the rare cases when I don't think love conquers all. I could never marry someone who's world view is so vastly different from mine. Plus there's the reaction that both Rose and Noah have to some misinformation which causes them both hurt and pain. They both lean toward the immature side, definitely typical of teenage behavior, but it doesn't indicate a response of someone capable of making such big decisions that will affect the rest of their lives.
While I can't say that Belonging was an exactly predictable book all around, it was easy to spot signs throughout the book that led my thinking in one direction or the other. For example, when I was about 45-50% through and a certain event takes place that I could have imagined happening closer to the end of the book, I begin to think, "well obviously something's going to happen to disrupt these events that are taking place now." And then when I had 20% left there were similar feelings. I could guess a general feeling of "bad things are coming" or "now it's time for us to be happy again" based on where I was in the book and the other events taking place, but as Temptation had a twist and cliffhanger, so does Belonging.
I enjoyed the addition of the new characters in Belonging. Rose makes friends within the Amish community that you can't help but love. And these new friends show a darker side of the Amish culture proving that no matter the culture, the human element can be unpredictable, dark, and rebellious. Sam, Rose's brother, is an additional narrator in this installment. There were times when I struggled with Sam's character, for instance that he seemed to find Summer appealing only because she wasn't fawning all over him like every other girl, and other times when I was rooting for him and I could understand his concern for his sister's life choices.
Even after writing my review, I'm not 100% sure how I felt about Belonging. I couldn't put this book down, but I felt that the characters decisions, thought process, and reactions were usually frustrating, immature, and unhealthy. Frustration drove my frantic pacing through this book. Because of the ending to Belonging, I've GOT to find out how this story ends, but I can already tell that I'll be continuing with the same frustrations in the next book as well.
All in all, Belonging gets 3.5 Stars from me. Have you read Belonging? What did you think? Let me know!