Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publication date: February 3, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Format: ARC, 400 pages
How I got it: From the publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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.
You know that feeling when you begin a book and you connect with it immediately? When you’re certain it will remind you why you love reading as much as you do? That was I’ll Meet You There, for me. I’m fully aware that I won’t be able to say anything new about it, nor will my review do it justice, but I will try.
I’ll Meet You There is nothing short of glorious. It was real and raw and emotional. It was funny and sweet. The characters were absolutely amazing. The writing was flawless. This is one of those books I know I won’t let go of for a very, very long time. If ever. I didn’t want to sleep or work or do anything that meant I had to sit the book down. It was heartbreaking and hopeful and full of feels.
Skylar was a regular girl, desperate to get out of her small town. She doesn’t want to wind up like the people who have been sucked in and never gotten free. She has a plan for her life and it involves leaving Creek View as soon as she can. She’s going to go to art school and build the life she wants for herself. Then, her mother loses her job and Skylar finds herself acting more like the parent as her mom struggles with depression. Her dreams are on the line and my heart ached for her, coming so close to achieving her dreams, only to have them snatched back so suddenly.
Josh understood the desire to leave Creek View. He enlisted in the Marines and left, only to be brought back after losing his leg in Afghanistan. Now he’s stuck. He’s dealing with not only the loss of a limb and the life changes that come with it, but all he saw and lost while he was overseas. Josh is in a bad place. He doesn’t know where he fits in any longer, or even if he wants to fit in. The friendship he’s building with Skylar is one of the only things holding him together. But, even she doesn’t know just how hurt he is.
I loved Skylar and Josh. Their relationship is full of slow burn goodness. I was completely hooked as they moved from acquaintances to friends to something more. There were times what was happening between them broke my heart and times it made me feel so full I thought I would burst. I wasn’t sure how things would go for these two characters. There was too much uncertainty to feel confident they would pull things together and wind up acting on their feelings. And there was more than just romance at stake here.
I’ll Meet You There was a lot of things. And there was a lot to love about it. I won’t say that it made a “statement” about war and young adults going off to it, because that makes it sound like it’s something political. It wasn’t. But what it did was bring this issue to the forefront. Josh’s pain – both physical and mental – is palpable and raw. It’s something so many face and so few talk about. I hope this book can start some conversations that make young (and old) wounded soldiers realize they’re not alone.
I want to shout my love for this book from the tallest building in Washington, DC. I want everyone to read it. It was beautiful and powerful. It definitely left a mark on me. I’ll Meet You There is a book I’ll continue to reread for years to come. It’ll never get old. Not with the incredible and complex characters, memorable story and the hope it inspires. I just can’t say enough about it.
As a lady who is more than 30 years old, sometimes I feel silly reading YA books. Lately I’ve found them to be incredibly hit or miss and because of that, I don’t read as many of them as I used to. I’ve actually thought about giving them up entirely. Books like I’ll Meet You There are why I can’t stop reading them. Because no matter how many “meh” YA titles I read, I inevitably come across a book like this and realize there’s just no way I can give them up. Not when there are books like this out there just waiting to be discovered.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.