Review: Belonging by Karen Ann Hopkins

Title: Belonging
Author: Karen Ann Hopkins
Series: Temptation series
Pages: 408 pages paperback, 416 ebook
Rating: ★★★★

I had some problems with Temptation. I felt like the relationship was very one-sided and that Rose was giving more to the relationship than Noah was. After all, Rose was the one giving up everything in order to be with the person she loves. I still wanted to give Belonging a fair shot, though, because there was potential there. Hopkins could make something fantastic out of this series.

Temptation was all about the sweetness of falling in love for the first time. It was about the putter-pats your heart makes the first time you love someone and that all-consuming feeling that comes with being with them. Belonging was about was comes after that, about finding yourself, and discovering what you are willing to sacrifice.

Rose thought becoming Amish would be easy. She needed to do it in order to be with Noah and that was all that mattered. Her father might not be in agreement, but she was going to prove him wrong. She adapted to her new life, even though Noah has started acting like the Amish boy he is instead of like the boy she first met. After a while, doubts start to creep in and make her think about the choices she is making. They aren’t just temporary; she is giving up nearly everything from her former life in order to be with Noah. She has to find a balance between sacrifices she can make, and ones that would crush her.

Belonging dealt with my issues with Temptation. Rose starts to feel crushed under the weight of the new rules in her life. People point out how one-sided her sacrifices are. Sure, she gets to be with Noah if she becomes Amish, but in order to do that, is she just giving up modern advances, or is she giving up herself? All of that is addressed and Rose starts to think beyond the feeling of first love.

There is a cliffhanger of an ending, so if you don’t really like those, I’d wait to read until the next book is out. I could see the twist coming and yet it still made me catch my breath. Belonging moves beyond the fluttering feeling of first love and starts taking a look at how life can be altered by that love. It was a good read and has me invested in Rose and Noah’s story.

If Belonging sounds like your kind of book, you find find it here:

Thank you to HarlequinTeen and NetGalley for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.

Temptation by Karen Ann Hopkins

I struggled on what to rate this book. I finally decided to just go with what Goodreads has as the 2 and 3 star descriptions. 3 stars say “liked it” and 2 stars is “it was ok.” In the end, it was just okay for me. The writing itself was good, and the storyline had a lot of potential, but the characters aggravated me too much to really enjoy the book.

The idea of a forbidden love set in the modern times and not as a retelling of one of the many forbidden loves out of history. Hopkins had the potential for a great story here. Rose is a modern girl forced to move to a place where modern isn’t the norm. Noah is the Amish boy she starts to fall in love with. There are so many obstacles that could get in their way and make their love a challenge, and Hopkins focuses on the largest one possible. I did like that part. However, that brings me to the thing that bothered me most about this book.

Noah and Rose are both teens and act like it. That would be fine if their romance was treated as a teen romance. But because Noah is basically an adult in his culture, it makes that nearly impossible. This makes him seem arrogant and condescending at times towards Rose, as he expects her to drop her own life and conform to his life, without giving strong consideration to leaving his life for her. I would have been fine with this had Rose met his stubbornness with her own. Unfortunately, she doesn’t and her unwillingness to have a backbone and stand up to Noah made me increasingly frustrated. Love does not mean having to give up everything in your life because your significant other decides that the only way for you to be together. Relationships are about balance and give and take and the fact that Rose and Noah’s relationship was so incredibly unbalanced without either of them seeing it really took away most of the enjoyment I could have felt from this novel.

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to read the next novel without having an idea of if Rose grows a spine and starts to stand up for herself. Sadly, this isn’t really a book I’d recommend to my friends, but I can see why some people would fall for the romance of the book without realizing just how weak the female characters in it are. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people.