February 5, 2015

Review: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Publication date: Feb. 3, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary Fiction
Source: Received ARC via publisher (Thanks!)
Summary: 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 months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—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. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper. (Adapted goodreads.com)

The good
It's hard to believe that around this time last year I was reading Heather Demetrios' debut novel, Something Real. I'll Meet You There is her third (!) book and proves yet again why she's an author to watch. Skylar Evans has spent all four years of high school with one goal in mind – to get out of Creek View. She wants to avoid the fate so many girls (including her mother) have settled for, which is life in a trailer, working dead-end jobs and pregnant. She is thisclose to escaping to college when her mother loses her job and Skylar finds herself yet again supporting them both. She has weeks to decide whether to stay or go and it just seems like all her plans are falling apart. And further throwing a wrench in her plans is Josh Mitchell. He's someone she's known for years, working together at the quirky Paradise motel. At least until he left to join the Marines. Now he's back, dealing with the loss of his leg and the trauma he experienced overseas. He's not the same person he was and doesn't know what to do next. When they begin working together again at Paradise, they unexpectedly become friends and something more.

Skylar and Josh's stories are simultaneously heartbreaking and hopeful and encompasses far more than just romance. With Skylar, I related to her in many ways even though I've never been in her shoes. But her focus to get out, her love for her two best friends and way of expressing herself creatively resonated with me. She gets a bit teased (or maybe more like known) for being a straight-edge but she has her reasons. Not to mention, people don't know everything and there are certainly regrets and hardships in her life. She just felt so real and so human to me. The book was mostly told from her point-of-view but in between chapters we'd get short snippets of what was going on in Josh's mind. In Skylar's eyes, she doesn't know right away the depth of his pain or his confusion when he looks at her. But we get to see his fears. There's just so much turmoil. But what's beautiful is how their friendship and eventual love strengthens them both. It's not an easy ride for them individually or together but that's ultimately what makes it worth fighting for.

But it's also the people around them that give them strength and support. It's such a full and vivid cast of characters. I felt such frustration with Skylar's mom (I guarantee you will want to reach into the book and shake this woman!). Then Skylar's two best friends, Chris and Dylan, reminded me of that moment when you're on the cusp of change and you want so deeply for the friendships to stay exactly the same but you know it can't. And that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Their boss at Paradise, Marge, is also amazing and gave both Skylar and Josh the kind of love and advice they needed. It's just a beautiful story with beautifully-written characters.

(No) Reservations
I wanted a little bit more with her mother only because I personally had trouble sympathizing with her. But otherwise, no reservations at all!

Do I recommend?
I do! This book has been getting a lot of love from the blogging community and trust me, it's much deserved. Read it and everything else this author has written.

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

How do you express yourself creatively?
In the book, Skylar expresses herself creatively through collages and I started to think about what my outlet was at her age and it was web design. I used to have a personal blog and I would change the design every month, sometimes multiple times per month. And I won't lie, my blog may have been slightly on the emo side. The designs always featured lyrics or words to show my mood or how I was feeling at the time. Now that I'm thinking about it, I kind of miss that. 

3 comments:

  1. I've heard such amazing things about this book, and now I definitely have to go back and finish my ARC ASAP. I was really enjoying the book, but I didn't get too far into it. I'm so glad to see how much heart there is in this story. And I'm always looking for books that focus on different aspects of friendships as well.

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  2. Everyone is raving about this book and I need it in my life! I hope I get to read it soon and join all of the loving.

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  3. I loved I'll Meet You There too, as you know! I think Heather did an amazing job of telling this story, bringing to life characters that felt real and were in circumstances both heartbreaking and hopeful. So much love for this one! <3

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