I’ll Meet You There: A Book Review

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I'll Meet You ThereTitle: I’ll Meet You There

Author: Heather Demetrios

Published: February 3rd, 2015 by Henry Holt and Co.

Pages: 400

Genre: Young Adult / Contemporary

Source: Bought / Hardcover

Series: N/A

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 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. {Goodreads}

My Thoughts: Debut authors have it tough. It’s a long and challenging process to go from an idea in the head to a fully developed story on paper, only to then have to publish and market their novel. I’m always inspired by authors who follow their dreams and write a book, but when their first story blows me away, I believe they are faced with an even harder task: writing a novel that lives up to their first. Last spring, I thoroughly enjoyed {perhaps obsessed over would be a better term :)} Heather Demetrios’ YA debut, Something Real; her characterization was superb, the storyline oozed of authenticity, and I found it hard to put it down. I won’t lie, then, that I feared my high expectations for her next contemporary, the recently published I’ll Meet You There, would be too high, but I had no reason to worry. Demetrios nailed it once again, assuring me that no matter what Demetrios writes, I’ll be in line for my own copy.

Recent high school graduate, Skylar Evans, lives in the trailer town of Creek View, where it’s not uncommon to work continuous graveyard shifts to make ends meet. Skylar’s future at art school is the only thing that gives her hope, but when that too falls apart, she realizes there may be no getting out of Creek View. Josh Mitchell has also had it rough, although in a much different sense; back home in Creek View from the Marines, his depression, vivid war memories, and lost leg overpower his once-cocky attitude. It’s easy to guess how the relationship between Skylar and Josh grows into – romance of some sort is practically a necessity in YA – but Demetrios never lets it overshadow their own personal struggles. Their relationship is a backdrop to Skylar’s financial insecurity and Josh’s PSTD, providing another layer of grit and realism to the story. Furthermore, the author finds a perfect balance between highlighting cute, picture-perfect dialogue and writing of the true-to-life ups and downs in an unconventional teenage romance.

The supporting characters are no different in terms of development. Like Skylar and Josh, they are flawed, but hopeful; in other words, they come to realize that their own “happy ending” lies in their hands. Some of the secondary cast is harder to connect with than others – that would be Skylar’s mom, for those who have read the book – but they are all equal in realism. It makes me happy to come across such a strong examples of friendship, ranging in gender, age, and class, that shape Skylar’s world for the better, and again they give truth to the book’s “gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful” description.

While it’s not rare to see a MC struggle financially {I’ve seen it pop up plenty of times in middle grade}, it is uncommon in young adult. I admire Demetrios for taking on a multitude of heavy topics, from Skylar’s lower class status to Josh’s time in the Marines. It seems impossible, but Demetrios does justice to them all without ever weighing the story down. The amount of time, energy, and research put into correctly portraying Josh’s military situation is impressive, and her author’s note is a touching and emotional addition to the book. As a reader, I felt so honored to share in Demetrios’ story, and I can only hope she continues to write such powerful contemporary novels.

Similar to the novel’s opening, I’ll Meet You There finishes with the unknown. Skylar and Josh are unsure what the future holds for them, but unlike the beginning, there’s an underlying sense of hope in the final pages. Demetrios’ second standalone novel is a masterpiece, clearly worthy of the attention, praise, and fandom it has received across social media. I would encourage you to read it, but I have no doubt you’re already rushing to find your own copy. Let’s all become fans of Demetrios’ books, shall we?!

Pros: A realistic, raw portrayal of teens, excellent research, and outstanding character development.

Cons: I am delighted to say I have no cons to list!

Heads Up: Violence, language, and romance; it could easily be classified as “mature YA.”

Recommended for: Fans of touching and well-written contemporary, readers who like an unconventional romance, and those who don’t mind pulling out the tissues while reading.

Around the Web: “Josh and Skylar’s story is something I want to hold close, and not let go. The author has amazing talent of writing normal mundane scenes, in such a beautiful, soulful way” {read the rest of the review at Lit Slave HERE}.

“This book is beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful. These characters came to life for me in vivid color, and I felt so much for them. They are passionate and flawed and alive, and I ached for them through the course of this story” {read the rest of the review at Love is Not a Triangle HERE}.

“Demetrios has written a memorable and admirable young woman right on the cusp of finally getting what she’s worked so hard for and has always wanted” {read the rest of the review at So Obsessed With HERE}.

Have a terrific start to your week!

Bella

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10 thoughts on “I’ll Meet You There: A Book Review

  1. […] I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios | “Demetrios’ second standalone novel is a masterpiece, clearly worthy of the attention, praise, and fandom it has received across social media. I would encourage you to read it, but I have no doubt you’re already rushing to find your own copy. “ […]

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  2. […] When I learned that the LUR team decided upon Heather Demetrios’ latest novel, I’ll Meet You There, as their Spotlight Book Club book this month, I was delighted in their decision. I became a fan of Demetrios’ work when I read her debut, Something Real, last year, and I’ve placed her at the top of my go-to list of favorite authors ever since. Something Real is impressive, but I’ll Meet You There is even more so, demonstrating layers of hope and growth in talent. The relationship between the novel’s main characters – Skylar, a recent high school graduate, and Josh, a veteran of the Marines – showcases Demetrios’ skill of character development, but, more importantly, it never overpowers the financial and mental struggles of both teenagers. The research Demetrios put into correctly portraying the life of a former soldier is evident throughout the entire novel, although it is the ending where the raw emotion is felt most. I’ll Meet You There is a truly a masterpiece of YA fiction, one you should read if it hasn’t already graced your TBR pile {condensed from my full review on Ciao Bella}. […]

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