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I Wanna Be Where You Are: 11/15/19

I Wanna Be Where You Are

I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest (2019) reads like a mashup of Everywhere You Want to Be by Christina June (2018) and Pride by Ibi Zoboi.

Chloe Pierce has been taking ballet for most of her young life. She's at the point where it's time to think of her future. She has an opportunity to audition for a ballet conservatory associated with an all Black dance company. It is the literal dream school for her. But her mother doesn't want her living in New York.

The auditions are happening in a variety of cities during Spring Break. Miracle of miracles: Chloe's mother will be out of town on a cruise with her boyfriend. As she is risk adverse, her leaving for a cruise and trusting her daughter to stay with a friend and her mother is an unheard of boon.

Chloe has her own car. It should be simple. She drives down to Washington DC, does the audition and is home at the end of the day. That's the plan but before she can even put the key into the ignition the handsome boy from across the street asks her to do a favor — drive him and his dog to the train station in DC.

That's the set up for I Wanna Be Where You Are. What should have been a solo long drive and the start of an otherwise boring, home alone, spring break, quickly goes awry.

What could have been a story about an audition and its aftermath, ends up falling into the road narrative spectrum. Chloe and Eli have a history of almost being a couple. Now on the road, they are traveling as a couple (33). In fact, the road trip works to being a potential couple together after a long period where they had fallen out of being friends. The reason behind the fallout is explained through flashbacks.

The destination is the city (00) hosting the audition. For all the other places Chloe and Eli go, the most important destination is the audition. The destination is a way for Chloe to get over her fears and to assert some of her own will on her future.

The route taken is primarily the interstate (00). One of the big detours that extends the length of the journey in terms of time and miles happens on a major highway. In this regard, the road itself is more an agent of narrative change than it is in many road narratives.

All together I Wanna Be Where You Are is the tale of a couple going to the city to plan their futures via the interstate.

Five stars

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