Saturday, February 7, 2015

ARC Review: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publication: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (February 3, 2015)

Description: 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.

My Thoughts: I'LL MEET YOU THERE was an amazing contemporary story about a girl who couldn't wait to leave the dead-end town where she lived and a boy who has come home to it. Skylar Evans can't wait to shake the dust of Creek View, California, from her shoes as she attends college in San Francisco. She wants to be an artist and her medium is collage. But things start to fall apart when her mother loses her job at Taco Bell and goes into a depression and starts drinking again. Sky went through the same thing when she was twelve and her father died. Her mother fell apart, drank too much, and left Sky to be the adult. Now, Sky's afraid that caring for her mother will keep her stuck where she doesn't want to be.

Josh Mitchel joined the Marines after high school and served in Afghanistan. Now he is home minus one leg but with all sorts of bad memories and guilt to keep him company. Sky and Josh worked together at the Paradise Motel but never dated. Sky didn't want in ties and Josh was busy doing the typical teen thing with lots of girlfriends. But now things have changed for both of them. Sky gets to know Josh so much better than she ever did before. War has changed him and she likes the new Josh better.

The story is told from two viewpoints. We see Sky's point of view and we read Josh's therapist-encouraged journal entries where he is writing to the best friend he lost in the same IED explosion that took his leg. The course of their love isn't smooth. Josh has lots to deal with accepting his new disability and dealing with nightmares and post-traumatic stress. Sky has her own issues as her life is also undergoing massive changes in this summer after high school.

This story was heart-wrenching and romantic. Fans of Katie McGarry's gritty contemporaries will also enjoy this story. I can't wait to share it with my students.

Favorite Quote:
Hanging out with Josh was like learning how to drive a stick. It was hard enough just to start and then it was just one stall after another. But somehow I always managed to crawl forward, just a little bit.
I got this ARC from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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