Where We Belong begins on Kirby’s birthday. Kirby Rose was adopted 18 years ago, and has never had contact with her birth mother. Marian has spent the last 18 years pretending that she never had a daughter, though she still wonders what could have been. When Kirby shows up in the lobby of Marian’s New York City penthouse, Marian immediately recognizes her as her daughter. With an entire weekend at their disposal, they spend a few days getting to know each other. Among other things, Kirby learns that her birth father, Conrad, never knew that she existed.
As Kirby and Marian get to know each other and work up the courage to find Conrad, they are both struggling with personal upheavals as well. Marian is under immense pressure in her job as a producer, as well as in her relationship with a long-term boyfriend, and is petrified of how Conrad will take news of Kirby. Kirby is weeks from graduating high school, and isn’t sure whether she will go to college. As their lives begin to intertwine, Marian and Kirby realize that although they aren’t a conventional family, their unconditional love for one another can transcend any trials they might face.
Catapulted into fame and best-seller status by her 2004 debut novel Something Borrowed, Emily Giffin proves once again that she is a master of romantic literature. The interchanging voices of Marian and Kirby in Where We Belong keeps it fresh. There is no mid-book slowdown, because the perspective is constantly changing. Although many recent novels have had plots that can be easily predicted by the time one reaches the middle of the book, Where We Belong does not end as predicted, although it is just as satisfying. Though all of Giffin’s novels are wonderful in their own ways, Where We Belong is arguably her best.