Book Review: I’ll Meet You There

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Book Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Copy: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 388
Date Published: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Rating: 4.5/5

If 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 separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg 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 Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

Hey y’all. I don’t know how many times I’m going to use this intro, but I am once again back from the grave. The previous months have been really crappy, but I’ve managed to survive my long inevitable combat with interviews, as well as online and written exams, and here I am hoping for a huge turnaround this July. Anyway, I’ve finally begun reading from my pile of TBR books, so without further ado, here’s my take on my most recent YA-contemporary read – I’ll Meet You There.

Realistic fiction is a genre that’ll always be close to my heart especially if it’s a story that deals with mental illness, physical disability, or life struggles in general. From the blurb, you’ll probably assume that this one deals exclusively on the second, but no, it does not (fortunately).

The story sounds simple enough. Skylar, who refuses to be leveled with the typical creek view girl, is on the verge of pursuing her dreams, until her mother loses her job and everything starts to go wrong. Josh, creek view playboy and hottie, goes to war and months later loses his leg. Nothing’s the same. Again, the story sounds like your simple boy meets girl and girl meets boy and both find peace in their brokenness, but that’s not what this story is about; at least, not entirely.

What I loved the most about this book is its realistic portrayal of an individual’s struggles – the aftermaths of war, the loss of a loved one, and dreams forfeited for a family gone wrong. Skylar and Josh struggle with very different things, and it is wonderful to read and experience the tediousness of it all.

It’s great that the author highlighted the complexity of having a disability – that it is not and will never be the same for anybody; that it is never true that having a physical disability is less distressing than dealing with a mental illness (or vice versa.) You’ll be surprised to know through this story that there are instances when people are bound to experience both (or at least develop the latter because of the former, if that makes any sense.)

This description brings us to Josh’s character. I loved all the characters in general, but I was really pleased at how the author had made it so easy to sympathize with Josh’s situation. It really got me thinking that if I were in the same situation, I would have felt the way, done the same thing, been truly ashamed and unaccepting of my own circumstance.

I needed to hear her voice because everything was getting dark in me and she’s the only light I’ve found since all this shit happened. I just thought, if she would answer, if she would answer, maybe I could, I don’t know, just tell her in the right way why I was so messed up.

It was also so easy to love Skylar. She was strong, but she was also trying her hardest not to fall apart. Really, everyone in this story is struggling, but if there’s any consolation I could offer, it’s that everything turns out hopeful in the end.

Why is it that some people in the world get to wake up in beautiful houses with fairly normal parents and enough food in the fridge while the rest of us have to get by on the scraps the universe throws at us? And we gobble them up, so grateful. What the hell are we grateful for?

There is no instalove, thank goodness, but there is the opposite – a romance that is undoubtedly sincere and well-developed. I loved Josh, and I loved Skylar, and I loved the idea of the two of them together since the first chapter. Yes, the chemistry is insane. Oh, and did I mention that it’s the kind of slow-burn romance which I love so very much? It was awesome.

I didn’t want to go there, to those places he was describing, but I didn’t want to be where he wasn’t.

What am I supposed to do when I’m bad for the one good thing in my life?

 

I think I may have written too much, but here are some leftover thoughts. Despite my love for the characters, I thought Josh’s family got the short end of the stick. Surely, I’m not the only one who remains curious about Josh’s parents? Also, I kind of wanted Chris back in the picture as the chapters came to a close. I felt like he had the least development out of everyone else. On a totally unrelated note, he reminds me of one of Emmy’s friends from Emmy and Oliver, so I keep thinking that he’s gay when he’s not. Huh. Oh well.

All in all, that was a wonderful first read after months of staring at my stagnant book pile. I’ll Meet You There starts really emotional, continues on with struggle after struggle, and ends with so much possibility and hope. It’s the kind of book that will grip your heart and release it gently at the very end.

Favorite Quotes from I’ll Meet You There

“If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?” I opened my mouth to say San Francisco or maybe Madrid—somewhere exotic. But what came out was, “Here. Right here.”

He was the parts of the day where I smiled.

…if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages-no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.

I didn’t want to go there, to those places he was describing, but I didn’t want to be where he wasn’t.

 

 

 

 

 

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