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.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Three and a half stars: A powerful but worn out story about love healing all wounds.
Skylar is counting the days until she can finally be out of Creek View. Sky has been trapped in this small, dead end town her entire life. Her hard work and perseverance have finally paid off. Sky earned a scholarship and she will be headed to San Fransisco in the fall, but first, she must survive the summer. Sky's life quickly spirals out of control when her mom loses her job and things start to fall apart. The only thing that is keeping Sky afloat is the return of her friend, Josh, from Afghanistan. Unfortunately, Josh hasn't returned whole, and he is suffering from severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Josh and Sky over the summer become friends, and through their friendship, they begin to heal and see a brighter future. Will love cure all?
What I Liked:
- This is my first book by Heather Demetrios, and I wasn't disappointed. This is a powerful, moving story about two broken and lost individuals who come together and heal through friendship and love. The writing is terrific, the characters engaging and interesting and the overall story is moving and emotional. If you enjoy contemporary novels where two damaged people call in love, I am certain this book will appeal to you.
- This is a character driven story. I was immediately drawn in by this powerful cast of characters. At the heart of the story are Sky and Josh. Sky is a girl who has been fighting to stay afloat since she lost her dad at twelve. She is a responsible, hardworking, driven girl who continues to push herself despite her circumstances. I admired her courage and tenacity, and my heart went out to her. Josh is all kinds of broken. He comes home injured and suffering through survivor's guilt. He was once the big man around town, and now, he is a shadow of his former self. I liked getting inside his head and reading his point of view. Along with Sky and Josh, there is a strong cast of secondary characters such as Chris and Dylan, Sky's life long best friends, who have her back through thick and thin. Marge, Josh and Sky's boss at the hotel is also fantastic, she is kind, caring, and motherly, and there for both of them when their own mother's fail them. I absolutely loved getting to know these outstanding characters.
- The writing is gorgeous and it immediately draws you in. There is no doubt that Ms. Demetrios has a gift with words. I thought her descriptions were lovely, and I thoroughly enjoyed the writing.
- Even though this reads like a typical YA/NA contemporary, it is emotional, beautiful and powerful. So despite the lack of originality, I was pleased with the story. It is full of ups and downs, but in the end, I was satisfied.
- The romance was perfect. It takes it slow sweet time to form. First, a strong friendship is established that moves into something more. I liked that it took the whole book to develop. It wasn't rushed or hurried, and I loved how when it did blossom, it was something real and perfect.
- I appreciated that at the end, Ms. Demetrios discussed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and the high rate of suicide amongst returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan. She also provides resource information for those wishing to help. I loved that.
And The Not So Much:
- I was wanting to be blown away by this, and though I appreciated the strong cast of character and I loved the writing, I was disappointed that this was the same old same old story we keep getting recycled over and over in the NA/YA contemporary genre. Once again, this book features two broken and damaged individuals who come together and learn to trust and love, and their love heals wounds and provides a brighter future. I am tired of this worn out story line.
- I was disappointed that the book was rather open ended, almost like a cliffhanger. Just when everything is finally coming together and moving in the right direction, the book ends. After all the buildup around the story line of Sky going to college, and then to have it end without seeing that story line to fruition was disappointing. I wanted an epilogue or more story. It honestly felt like a cliffhanger.
- Sky's home life is a mess. Her mom loses her job, and resorts to sitting around the trailer and smoking. Sky shoulders all the burdens. Their relationship hits rock bottom and it gets rather ugly. I didn't like the way things went down between the two, but on the other hand it is real life. I was hoping for a bit more resolution. Furthermore, it isn't clear what Sky's life was like before her father died. Were they happy? Was her father an alcoholic? What was the deal with the rift between her father's family and her mother? I had so many questions regarding Sky's father, and I wanted more insight into the mother.
- Chris was a bright spot in the story, and I loved his character. I was sad that there wasn't any follow up on him once he left for college.
- This is a book for mature readers at it has references to drugs and alcohol and there are some mild sexual situations.
I'll Meet You There is an emotional and powerful story that follows two broken individuals who find friendship and love. This book presents a strong cast of characters and a solid story line. The writing is lovely as well. My issues with this book are the lack of originality in the story and the open ending. Still if you are fan of books like this, I'll Meet You There is one you won't want to miss.
"But then where did I belong? It was a hard question to answer. I only knew how to live my life in negatives; it seemed like everything I was could only be seen in relation to everything I wasn't."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.