Review: Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs

Florie’s OCD has been holding her back in life. With her best friend Kacey moving to Portland for college, Florie doesn’t know what she’s going to do. At least they still have the trip to the beach house coming up.

But Kacey and Florie both want more. So when they listen to their favorite true crime podcast, they find out that the hosts, Eleanor and Trish, are going to be in San Francisco for a live show. And there is a contest to win tickets and meet and greet passes.

Florie agrees to enter, but she never thought they’d actually win. Now Florie and Kacey have to figure out how to get to San Francisco from Washington without their parents finding out.

Enter Sam, Kacey’s hot older brother, who agrees to drive them. Florie should be happy that she gets to see her favorite podcast duo in person, but going on a road trip with Sam just makes her nervous. Sam and Florie kissed last winter and haven’t seen each other since. To make it more complicated, Kacey doesn’t even know.

But Sam driving them is the only way this is going to work. Florie, Kacey and Sam are going to the beach house on Bainbridge island and leave once Kacey and Sam’s parents leave to spend two nights in downtown Seattle.

Florie is nervous about all of the things that can go wrong, including her mom finding out. Yet, she’s trusting Kacey and ready to have a good time. In fact, they even made a list of ten things to accomplish on this road trip. Can Florie have a trip to remember with her best friend or is her OCD going to hold her back?

Exactly Where You Need to Be has been on our TBR for a while now and we’re so happy that we picked it up. It gives us all the summer fun road trip vibes, which we loved.

Florie is a complex character. Because of her OCD, she spends most of her junior year and all of senior year homeschooled. She also agreed to put off college because of it. But the more you get to know Florie, the more the reader realizes that her parents are part of the problem. Her dad is always away in Seattle working and her mom plans every aspect of her life, no questions asked.

The road trip allowed Florie to get out of her comfort zone and make her own decisions for once. Even if she felt anxious at times, she didn’t have anyone around telling her she couldn’t do things.

Florie describes Kacey has her opposite, yet Florie got to know Kacey even better on this trip. Kacey admitted that she’s scared about college, but she’s going anyway. Kacey was a great friend. She pushed Florie without ever going too far or making Florie uncomfortable.

As for Sam, we thought he was a great love interest. He let Florie open up to him and never judged her. In fact, they had some adorable scenes during the road trip where it was obvious they liked each other, but neither of them admitted it out loud. Some of our favorite scenes took place during a late night walk and while buying fresh strawberries.

We really enjoyed the plot and the road trip aspect of the book. It gave us some inspiration if we ever do a west coast road trip. We enjoyed that they made stops in Portland and at Confusion Hill. They even spent the night in a tree house hotel, which sounds cool.

However, once they arrived at the live show for their favorite podcast, we realized that the book had a ways to go and that’s when everything went crazy. We won’t spoil too much, just know there’s drama between Florie and her mom. This part of the book is where we really get to see Florie’s mom and the story focuses more on mental health.

Florie’s mom is emotionally abusive and basically makes Florie feel like she can’t do anything. Honestly, this part of the story was hard to read because her mom is so dismissive and controlling. Thankfully, Florie has some great people in her life, including her therapist, who helped Florie see that she was capable of more than she ever thought possible.

This part of a book is mostly about mental health and limiting beliefs. It was sad to hear Florie say that because of her OCD, she didn’t think she could ever have a love story because of how mental health is portrayed by the media.

While Florie and her mom eventually had a heart to heart, Florie had to recognize that her mom doesn’t know what’s best for her and that she and her mom will never be close. It was sad, but also realistic. However, we do love that Florie felt confident enough to tell Sam how she feels. She knew that Sam and Kacey would always be there for her.

Overall, Exactly Where You Need to Be is both a fun book about a road trip and a powerful book about mental health. It’s a quick read and we highly recommend it.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐/⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

12 thoughts on “Review: Exactly Where You Need to Be by Amelia Diane Coombs”

  1. I haven’t heard of this book or author before. But already intrigued by the cover. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Lauren – bournemouthgirl

    Liked by 1 person

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