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Where The Heart Is final cover


ISBN-10: 1536200034

ISBN-13: 978-1536200034


ISBN: 9781536219029


SBN-10: 1721365753

ISBN-13: 978-1721365753

Purchase this title:

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Discussion Guide

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Where The Heart Is

Candlewick Press



From the publisher: 

" With all the heart of her award-winning novel See You At Harry's, Jo Knowles brings us the story of a girl who must discover where her heart is and what that means for her future."


"This is one of those rare novels that feels less like a constructed story and more like a momentary glimpse into a real young life— genuine, stirring, and raw. " —The Horn Book (Starred Review)

"Each story thread has its own significance and weight, and when woven in with the others and dotted with moments of joy and humor (getting a new bike for her birthday, exchanging poop jokes with her younger sister, getting closer to a girl who might be more than a friend) creates a fully realized portrait of a girl trying to figure out how to be a teenager when all she really wants is to stay a kid." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (Starred Review)

"Knowles deals with specific yet relatable upheavals in a young teenager’s life with nuance and understanding. Rachel’s emotional turbulence, as well as her growth and change, are realistically presented. The story offers no easy answers, but plenty of hope,
heart, and love. A sensitive, character-driven story about change." —Booklist

"A gently told story about tough transitions, family and sibling love and stress, and evolving friendships." School Library Journal

"In this bittersweet coming-of-age novel rooted in some of the author’s own experiences, Knowles paints a down-to-earth picture of an adolescent girl who is saddled with too many responsibilities. Rachel’s anger and frustration over not being able to control her
situation is as vividly expressed as her growing maturity and courage." —Publishers Weekly

"Knowles deals with specific yet relatable upheavals in a young teenager’s life with nuance and understanding… The story offers no easy answers, but plenty of hope, heart, and love. A sensitive, character-driven story about change." —Booklist Online

"This coming of age story doesn’t shy away from the tough topic of a family facing financial hardship, but it’s mainly a gentle and sensitive look at a young girl forced to deal with the stress of change and growing up that will resonate with many readers." B&N Kids Blog

"For any reader who has felt torn from one day to the next--or one minute to another--between the security of childhood and the confusing allure of adolescence, Rachel will be a friend… Children who like "real" stories about "real" kids will adore this quiet, elegant
Shelf Awareness

"This coming of age story masterfully written by Jo Knowles is filled with humor, teenage angst, friendship, loyalty, financial issues, class, sexual identity, sibling love, work, and uncertainty. " —Writers Rumpus


“This book is a gift to every kid who feels stuck between who they were and who they might want to become.” —William Alexander, National Book Award winning author of A Properly Unhaunted Place


"Jo Knowles' luminous Where the Heart Is shows how life for a thirteen-year-old can be confusing, heartbreaking, and joyous, all at the same time." —Alan Gratz, NYT bestselling author of Refugee


An immensely appealing, hard-to-put-down story about friendship and love, heartache and bravery. And above all, family. —Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award author of When You Reach Me

“Life happens in layers and moments, and Where the Heart Is does a remarkable job of honoring both.   At thirteen, Rachel's life is suddenly built of incredibly complex layers. Money is tight at home, her friendships are changing, and she's gently exploring, and accepting her own sexuality. These larger themes are handled so deftly, they never outshine the clear and human moments in any given day.  Jo Knowles has captured--simply and perfectly-- the complexity of what it means to be thirteen. What it means to be a child--and not a child anymore.” —Laurel Snyder, National Book Award Longlist author of Orphan Island

"This is the summer in Rachel's life when everything changes--because doesn't everyone have that summer? The one when the world begins to shift, life starts to feel unpredictable, and the happy endings come, but not in the ways you have come to expect. I fell in love right away with the denizens of Bittersweet farm, from Rachel to her aged pony Rainbow and the ornery pig across the street, and with this utterly beautiful and hilarious summer story that breaks your heart and patches it back up with unbelievable gentleness and laughter and hope and love." —Kate Milford, author of the NYT bestselling Greenglass House series


  • The 2020 Whippoorwill Award

  • An ALA Notable Book of 2020

  • 2019 Top Ten Summer Reading Choice, Horn Book Magazine

  • B&N Best New Books for Readers in 2019

  • Kansas National Education Association Reading Circle Recommended Title

  • Bank Street College’s Best Books of 2019

Hear Chuen-Yan 'Yan' from "The Great British Baking Show" read the first page of Jo's book!

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