I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Rating: 5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance,
Source: Purchased (on Amazon)
Find: Amazon | 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.
This is without a doubt my favourite book of 2015 so far.
It’s a story of pure, honest and raw emotion. An emotional rollercoaster would be an understatement. I laughed, sobbed and the book left me such a strong feeling of hope. There is no sugar-coating in this book, what you see is what you get. It deals with some heavy issues and it’s such an honest portrayal that moved me in ways I can’t possibly explain. The writing, the characters, and the storytelling is simply stunning. This is a book that has been embedded into my heart and I won’t forget it.
The story focuses on Skylar and Josh; both of whom are desperate to find a ticket out of their small town. For Josh that opportunity came to him by joining the Marines, but then having returned to Creek View a shell of the person he once was. Dealing with the loss of his leg and psychologically damaged his voices comes to us in the form of short streams of consciousness which powerfully delves into the after effects of his experience.
Skylar, on the other hand is three months away from freedom, with an art scholarship to go to San Francisco but as we get in to the summer we see her life slowly come apart as her mother’s life seems to take a downturn for the worst.
Both Skylar and Josh have such a distinct voice and you really get a strong feel of their character as they learn to lean on each other and support one another.
The romance in this book is gorgeous. It’s a slow burn and at times painful but so worth it. It stems from a sense of friendship and the honesty in their conversations deepens their connection as Josh slowly opens up to Skylar about his time in the Marines. Their journey is not an easy one, they both make choices that hurt one another but they fight through it and in the end it only makes them stronger as individuals and as a couple.
Friendship is another focus in the book and is equally as complex. I adored the relationship between Skyler and her two friends, Chris and Dylan, one of whom wants to escape their town the other content with the life she’s been given there. Their paths seem to be heading in spate direction but they’re all so supportive of one another as they adjust to this change. Another relationship that really blossomed was the one between Skylar and her boss Marge, who became a source of stability for Skylar as her world continued to unfurl. Marge also became a source of support for Josh and she really took the two under her wing and nurtured them.
My words cannot do justice to the beauty of this story. There’s a lot of hurt, none of the characters are perfect but in the end you’re left with such a strong sense of hope as Skylar and Josh realise what they have and embrace it.
This story will honestly stay with me forever and you’d be a fool to not pick up the book. It’s truly a masterpiece.
Favourite Quote: “…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.”