Presenter of the National Book Awards

2005 National Book Awards Finalist
Young People's Literature

Adele Griffin

Where I Want To Be

G. P. Putnam's Sons, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group

Photo credit: John Berg

About the Book

A spellbinding book about two very different sisters dwelling on opposite sides of life and death who bravely try to overcome the void and bring light to each other.

About the Author

Adele Griffin was born in Philadelphia and now lives with her husband in New York City. Her work as an assistant editor in children’s books brought her back to reading books for children and young adults and encouraged her to write her own.

Adele Griffin often uses family as a metaphor for our relationships with ourselves, others, and society and has crafted a number of psychologically insightful novels for young people. Her characters are unusual and memorable, and frequently it is the vision of the narrator that forms the world in her works. Adele Griffin is a master at blurring the line between what is real and what is imagined, making her books truly spellbinding.

Her books have received rave reviews, and her work has been described as “searingly emotional,” “powerful” and “riveting” by Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews and Booklist. The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books praised her, saying, “Griffin’s work has a magnetism all its own.” Previous books include THE OTHER SHEPARDS, about two young people haunted by the death of the elder siblings they were born to replace; AMANDINE, about a girl who becomes enmeshed in a dangerous and manipulative friendship and SONS OF LIBERTY, about brothers banding together to overcome their controlling and abusive father. Her books have garnered many awards, among them ALA Best Book for Young Adults and ALA Notable awards as well as a National Book Awards Finalist for SONS OF LIBERTY.

Judges' Citation

Adele Griffin’s Where I Want to Be introduces us to survivors of sorts months after a fatal crash; younger sister Lily, who although alive, is entombed by grief; Caleb, Lily’s steadfast boy friend whose oddly colored eyes see beyond darkness; and deceased sister Jane, who clings to existence in being, place and memory. As both worlds, rendered equally real shift, Lily and Jane struggle to release the familiar and move on. This lithe and gorgeous novel deftly blends realm and reality.