Where I Live

YA Contemporary

by Brenda Rufene
February 2018 – Harper Teen/HarperCollins (US)

From debut author Brenda Rufener comes a heart-wrenching and evocative story perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why, Girl in Pieces, and All the Bright Places.

Linden Rose has a big secret–she is homeless and living in the halls of her small-town high school. Her position as school blog editor, her best friends, Ham and Seung, and the promise of a future far away are what keep Linden under the radar and moving forward.

But when cool-girl Bea comes to school with a bloody lip, the damage hits too close to home. Linden begins looking at Bea’s life, and soon her investigation prompts people to pay more attention. And attention is the last thing she needs.

Linden knows the only way to put a stop to the violence is to tell Bea’s story and come to terms with her own painful past. Even if that means breaking her rules for survival and jeopardizing the secrets she’s worked so hard to keep.

A double major in English and biology, Brenda Rufener graduated from Whitman College. She lives in North Carolina and is an advocate for homeless youth. Visit her at www.brendarufener.com


Author’s interviews: http://www.heraldsun.com/entertainment/article202177019.html

• Bustle’s “27 Most Anticipated YA Contemporary Books Hitting Shelves In 2018”
• Barnes & Noble Teen Blog’s « Most Anticipated YA Book Hitting Shelves in February 2018 »
• School Library Journal’s « New and Forthcoming YA and MG to Have On Your Radar »


« Where I Live is hard-hitting and real and filled with hope. It makes you want to find your voice, find your people, and tell your story. »—Jennifer Niven, New York Times bestselling author of All the Bright Places and Holding Up the Universe

« A powerful, stirring debut, WHERE I LIVE takes us on a journey into a hidden world that exists all around us–exploring homelessness, poverty, love, and grief with insight, sensitivity, and most of all, hope. »—Amber Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Way I Used to Be

« A touching and timely look at a girl on the brink of disappearing. Rufener writes compassionately about homelessness, teen dating abuse and the search for home. »—Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

« This debut novel takes readers into a world where serious issues of poverty, homelessness, and violence are juxtaposed with the everyday drama of high school hierarchies, relationships, and life…Linden’s struggle is heightened by her homelessness, but she is not the only character who has hidden layers. The characters are believably flawed, confused, and impulsive. Teens will relate to the push-and-pull of wanting to protect oneself and yearning for closeness at the same time. »—VOYA

« [It’s] refreshing to see a well-rounded picture of a teen who’s more than her crisis. »—Booklist

« [R]eminiscent of Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now in its depiction of adolescence at its bleakest but most sincere. »—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

« Fans of Jennifer Niven and Nicola Yoon will enjoy this realistic debut novel, which brings to light heavy topics of homelessness and abuse. »—School Library Journal

« Surprising, evocative, and uplifting, WHERE I LIVE, with its first-person perspective, is an intimate portrait that reflects the plight of so many young people who are currently facing homelessness and poverty. According to the U.S. Department of Housing ad Urban Development, on a single night in January of 2016, more than half a million people were homeless in the U.S., with more than one fifth being children and almost one tenth between the ages of 18 and 24. This is an important novel to be read, shared, and discussed among teens and adults. »—Brooklyn Digest

« Rufener packs several contemporary issues into this deceptively simple story: homelessness, domestic violence, bullying and questions of sexual orientation. But she manages to do so in a believable way. Her portrayal of teen life and interactions at a small high school also rings true. With everything else swirling around, Linden and her friends go to class, deal with the interplay of the cool kids and the not-so-cool, and make plans for the homecoming football game and dance…Linden’s voice is compelling. Young-adult readers will be caught up in her story, and in the process, they’ll be inspired and even learn a thing or two. »—Greenboro News & Record