Where You've Got to Be


Author: Caroline Gertler

Feeling left behind by both her sister and her best friend, Nolie tries her best to belong but soon finds herself at a moral crossroads. Caroline Gertler’s sophomore novel is a sensitive and thoughtful exploration of friendships, family, identity, and staying true to who you are. Where You’ve Got to Be is pitch-perfect for tween readers who love Rebecca Stead and Holly Goldberg Sloan and contemporary realistic stories.

Nolie’s sister, Linden, may be only fourteen months older than she is, but suddenly that feels longer than it ever has before. Linden is growing up. She cuts short their Cousins Week at Grandma’s beach cottage to focus on excelling in her ballet auditions, and she throws away the seashell necklace Grandma gave each of them—though Nolie secretly saves it. Even Nolie’s best friend, Jessa, is suddenly trying to act older and cooler, and she wants Nolie to be someone different, too.

With everything and everyone changing around her, Nolie starts to feel adrift. Should she be changing, too? Who does she want to be? One impulsive decision leads to another and another . . . until Nolie has a secret collection of things that don’t belong to her. Now, Nolie must face the fact that she may have ended up on the wrong path so she can start to find her way back.

Set in the bustle of New York City, Where You’ve Got to Be is an accessible story about identities and relationships— the ones you keep and ones you let go. This voice-driven read hits the sweet spot for readers of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise and Finding Orion.