I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published: February 3rd, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
400 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary young adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
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.
I’ll Meet You There is one of those books that breaks your heart and then stitches it back together again. It makes you feel the gamut of emotions, from sadness to anger to joy to love and everything in between. Demetrios skillfully wove together a story that was both raw and painful, but also full of beauty and hope.
Sky was a great character. She had a very authentic voice and was easy to relate to. Even though I’ve never been in a situation quite like hers, I saw bits of myself in her - I lost my dad when I was young, I know what it’s like to feel stuck in your life, I know what it’s like to struggle financially, although not to the degree she did. She was such a real character, and I found it impossible not to like her. Even when she was being stupid and I wanted to shake her, I couldn’t fault her for it, because she acted like a real teenager, letting her hormones and emotions drive her. It was a pleasure watching her grow and learn through the course of the book.
My heart broke for Josh. I cried during most of his short POV scenes. It’s hard to imagine what people go through during wars, and his memories and his struggle post-war were gut wrenching. He was dealing with so much - the loss of his leg, the loss of friends in the war, plus having to come back to a place he’d found a way to escape from, even if that escape was something that could get him killed. He was a player in his former life, and still appeared to be a player, but he had actually lost a lot of his confidence because of his injury. He wasn’t always easy to like - he could be a jerk, and he didn’t always say or do the right things - but I loved how realistic he was. He was suffering mentally and physically, and that came across so clearly.
Skylar and Josh’s relationship was so sweet. I loved the slow build, watching them become friends and then something more, and I also appreciated the bumps along the way, because, again, it was completely realistic. They seemed so mismatched, but that’s actually what made them perfect for each other. They needed each other, they understood each other, and they made each other better.
I’ll Meet You There was a beautiful story about overcoming adversity, the painful process of growing up, and finding love in unexpected places. The characters and the setting came alive on the pages with crystal clarity. It was emotional and heartbreaking, but it was also sweet, romantic, and made me smile as often as it made me cry. This is one of those books that will take a lot of people outside their comfort zone, but in the best ways possible. If you’re looking for a contemporary that’ll grab your heart and hold on tight, I’ll Meet You There is a must read.
Have you read I'll Meet You There? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read any other books where a main character is a war vet? Let's talk here or on Twitter!