Zombie, post-apocalyptic and dystopian books are like shoes - you can never have enough.
I seem to be developing something of an obsession with the Amish - whether it's the fascination with living without technology, their close knit communities or their intricate rituals I'm not completely sure, but I did enjoy the first book in this series, Temptation in particular as it dealt with what an 'outsider' has to go through to join their community.
Essentially the story of what one teenage girl, Rose, goes through as she tries to become Amish to be with her boyfriend, Noah, Belonging takes the story begun in Temptation and turns up the seriousness and intensity as Rose battles to find her place in a community where she will seemingly always be considered an outsider.
I liked Rose in Temptation, but in retrospect it was mostly because she was a bit of a lost soul in search of her place in life after the death of her mother. In Belonging, however, I started to develop a strong need to shake some sense into her as I was never completely convinced that a) being Amish nor b) being with Noah was what she really wanted. In fact, in places she almost admits that what she has with Noah is nothing more than an intense crush, stating that she only felt the attraction to him when she was with him. As for Noah, I understand that the restrictions of the community meant that he couldn't be with Rose as much as he wanted to be, but even when he was with her, it never felt like genuine love and at one point he practically calls her a slut. Not cool dude, whatever your background.
There are new characters introduced in Belonging, which was good for the story-line particularly as there are some darker themes explored through those characters but none of them are extremely memorable.
Told in three perspectives, that of Rose, Noah and Rose's brother Sam, again I liked the family involvement and particularly the banter between Rose and Sam on the rare moments that Rose was actually with her own family. The one family character that I didn't understand was Tina - sure, she was trying to be supportive of Rose, but a three week 'trial' of living with the Amish rather rapidly turned into four months without any kind of intervention.
And just when I thought the book was heading towards a more palatable conclusion, there is of course the twist and the cliffhanger that I had a suspicion was lurking in the background, just waiting for its opportunity to jump out.
Overall, Belonging was a unique story with a bunch of characters that didn't always go in the direction I expected, but there were also a lot of frustrations, particularly as at several points I really didn't find the characters very logical in their decision making.
Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie