Thursday, February 19, 2015

Review: I'll Meet You There

Heather Demetrios
Contemporary Young Adult
400 pages
Henry Holt BFYR
Available Now
Source: ARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
If seventeen-year-old Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

I'll Meet You There, based on the premise and synopsis, seems at first glance as though it will be one of those reads that weighs heavily on us, the struggles of the characters seeping down into our bones so that we carry their burdens as if they're our own. While both Sky and Josh are certainly dealing with issues that could easily swallow them whole and send them spiraling downward, their story is one laced with a sense of hope, the strength of the two of them individually as well as together inspiring nothing but confidence that they'll find their way through the darkness and come out in tact on the other side.

Skylar is a young woman forced to grow up far too soon, having to be the adult from age twelve after her mother falls apart in the wake of her father's death. She's inordinately strong and patient, tending to her mother with kid gloves and giving her every opportunity to pull herself together when she falls off the wagon. Her capacity forgiveness is impressive with both her mother and Josh, but she could never be described as a pushover, acquiescing when she should otherwise stand her ground. Instead, she lets the two of them know when she's been hurt and gets angry when it's rightfully deserved, but she doesn't hold a grudge, allowing herself to move forward rather than get stuck in the quicksand that Creek View can sometimes be.

Josh is someone we get to know through very short one or two-page stream of consciousness chapters wherein he speaks to one of his deceased military brothers about his return to civilian life after the loss of his leg. In these chapters we can feel the depth of his survivor's guilt as well as the stress, confusion, and anger he feels now that his days are no longer strictly regimented. His relationship with Sky is beautifully painful and painfully beautiful, and while she eventually helps him feel more settled in his forever-altered skin, what's perhaps most striking about the two of them is the truth of their romance. She is not a singular cure for all that ails him, and while she brings him a certain amount of peace, it's clear by the end that he still has a long way to go and they both have a lot of work ahead of them to keep their relationship happy and healthy.

Overall, I'll Meet You There is a journey marked by steps forward as well as enormous steps backward when both Sky and Josh falter at times, but in the end they prove that family and circumstance will no longer take their choices from them, instead the ownership of their lives will belong to them and them alone.

Rating: 4/5

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This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.


  1. Great, honest review as usual, Jenny! This seems really interesting and extremely emotional. While there's nothing wrong with a book that takes you down with it and with its characters troubles, it's really nice to know that this is more inspiring than it is depressing. And Sky and Josh's relationship sounds really raw and open and I like how there's still that note of hope at the end, even though they're going to have to work towards mending their relationship. Thanks for putting this book on my radar, Jenny! :)

  2. It sounds like an intense story, it's always impressive when the author manages to share tat well the feelings of the characters. I heard nice things of the book so I'm glad you had a good time with it.

  3. "She is not a singular cure for all that ails him, and while she brings him a certain amount of peace, it's clear by the end that he still has a long way to go and they both have a lot of work ahead of them to keep their relationship happy and healthy."

    Word. That's a big reason why I liked this. The author kept it real, even with the way it ended.

  4. I have heard only good things so far :)

  5. Great review, Jenny! I am glad you enjoyed this one. I have read some great reviews. It seems really emotional, but definitely a story that's worth it. I will have to pick it up sometime soon. I'm glad to hear Skylar isn't a pushover. I've been reading a lot of YA books lately where that is the case and it's sort of wearing on me. Thanks for the great review!

  6. What a wonderful review for this one Jenny!
    I'm quite excited to give this one a try, so I cannot wait for my signed copy to arrive home!

  7. I'm so happy you loved this, Jenny. This was truly a beautiful story and I love how well Heather was able to capture all the emotions of these characters. I completely agree with you on the end. These two have lots of work waiting for them, but because they are together, I have hope that they are working together.
    Gorgeous review!
    P.S Have you read the Josh letter?

  8. This book killed me in the best way possible, Jenny. So much love for this story. They did make a lot of bonehead mistakes, but don't we all? <3

  9. Wonderful review Jenny, if you liked it I know I will. Reviewers are loving this. I need to find time to squeeze it in.

  10. I can handle the steps backwards as long as the forward ones are pretty big too. ;) This sounds like a read I think I would actually really like.
    Wonderful review as always Jenny!!

  11. I've been pushing this book on everyone I know haha. I lover this book from start to finish! Excellent review :)

  12. This book sounds like an emotional (with countless ups and downs) journey! Hope is such an important element in books: the lack of it or the spark of it can mean so much:) Personally, I can't help but love hope in a story full of hardships because these characters seem like ones you root for even when odds are against them!
    Skylar sounds incredibly mature and compassionate- which is a refreshing kind of character!
    I like how the writing style changes for Josh so we see a little bit of his pain through his chapters. And the way you describe their love makes me want to hug the both of them and root for them all the way:)
    I'm glad they take charge of their own lives!
    Lovely review Jenny!!

  13. I really like how the author uses the characters as a positive light in each other's lives but not the entire solution, which is realistic. This is the type of contemporary romance that I can enjoy. Really looking forward to picking this one up.

  14. This one really gave me the feels. I was so angry with her mother and at times super frustrated with Josh but I was really happy how it wrapped up.

  15. You are right this is more hopeful than a good deal of the NA out there, and while I liked this one and the characters, I felt like I had read it before.

  16. AHH jenny!
    Whenever someone talks about this book I feel like giving them a big fat hug! WASN'T IT AMAZING?
    Yes, yes and yes to pretty much everything you said. I love how Sky doesn't "cure" Josh and I love how Sky doesn't only need "josh" in her life. They're two strong characters who have issues. Issues far bigger than them. I love how they help one another but they weren't the answers to all of one another's questions. I'm so happy you enjoyed this one Jenny! Just reading your review put another tear in my eye!

  17. I love the way you summed up this book in this line, Jenny: "instead the ownership of their lives will belong to them and them alone." I didn't think of the word "ownership" while reading this but it's such a perfect way to describe the essence of this tale. So glad you enjoyed it--it really is so brilliantly written and such an important message. Lovely review, dear!

  18. Another great review Jenny! I really should pick this book up. It sounds like one I'd enjoy.

  19. "His relationship with Sky is beautifully painful and painfully beautiful"

    Lovely review, Jenny!

  20. Sounds like a beautiful story, but I'm wondering if it's open ended? I like a nice, solid HEA whether it's unrealistic or not. Hey, I like my fantasy fiction world! Lovely review, Jenny!

  21. Both characters are so well done, you really feel their pain. I liked how we got to know Josh, to learn of his PSTD and survivor's guilt (poor guy. Didn't you just want to hug him and tell him it gets better?). Loved the incorporation of Skylar's art, too.