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If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating straightedge Skylar from art school is three months of summer… until Skylar's mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.
Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returned home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be.
What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradisea quirky motel off California's Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into a friendship and soon, something deeper.
Compelling and ultimately hopeful, I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.
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I'll Meet You There
By Heather Demetrios
Henry Holt and CompanyCopyright © 2015 Heather Demetrios
All rights reserved.
The Mitchells' backyard was packed, full of recent and not-so-recent grads in various stages of party decay. The girls leaned against one another, wilted flowers that looked on while the guys got louder, sweatier.
I craned my neck and scanned the crowd for Chris, but my wingman had disappeared.
"Shit," I muttered.
Like I needed any more confirmation of my loner status. I moved purposefully through the crowd, on a mission. The last thing I wanted was to have some drunk dude notice I was alone and try to hit on me.
A girl to my right stumbled, spilling her beer on my All Stars. I had to reach out an arm to steady her before she stabbed me in the toe with her stilettos. I sighed and shook my foot.
"Thanks!" she said, more to the air than me, as she turned back to the knot of girls beside her.
I turned around—Chris was over by the keg. When I raised my arms like, WTF, he turned over his empty cup, then made a sad face and pointed to the line of red-faced guys in front of him. Obviously he hadn't taken me very seriously when I'd said, Let's get out of here as quickly as possible.
I pulled out my phone and started texting Dylan while I made my way to Chris. Knowing her, she was probably in the back seat of her boyfriend's beat- up Chevy Malibu, but I wanted Brownie points for coming out at all. Really, I was only here to see Josh Mitchell, this Marine I used to work with who had just come home from Afghanistan. I could have waited to see him some other time, but it seemed like a dick move; someone comes back from fighting a war, you go to their homecoming party.
U still here? Looking for Josh.
People stumbled through the Mitchells' back door, probably looking for the bathroom or somewhere to hook up. Every now and then, someone would wander out grinning stupidly from Reggie Vasquez's hastily rolled joints. Linkin Park blared inside the house, and I wondered what the night would feel like if someone switched the soundtrack from angry kick-the-shit-out-of-stuff to Ben Harper or the Chili Peppers.
I stopped by the doorway when I saw a flash of long blond hair, but it wasn't Dylan so I backed away, ignoring the what's she doing here looks people were shooting at me. They weren't mean-girl looks—I just didn't belong. Didn't want to.
Drunken laughter erupted from groups of partiers at regular intervals, but not because anything was funny. It was like laughter was just something you were supposed to do. I scanned the faces around me: the usual crew of locals from my high school. There were also a lot of slightly older faces—Josh Mitchell's friends, partying with the teenagers, doing the same thing they had done every Saturday night since they were in junior high: Drink. Smoke. Screw. Repeat.
Chris walked toward me, sipping on his frothy beer as he picked his way across the lawn. He was wearing the shirt I'd given him for graduation, the words mathematician and ninja under the heading CAREER GOALS. He held out a can of Coke like a peace offering.
"Dude, you never, never leave your wingman," I said. "Didn't you learn anything from Top Gun?"
I had this thing about Top Gun—it was my dad's favorite movie, and I'd been obsessed with it since I was six.
"I told you I was getting a beer! I thought you were behind me when I made the turnoff at the kitchen." He gave me the puppy-dog eyes that always got me laughing, and I grabbed the Coke, trying to keep my lips from turning up.
"Well, thanks for this." I hit the can against his plastic cup. "To graduating," I said.
"Hell, yeah, to graduating!"
It had only been three hours since the ceremony ended, but it looked like any normal Creek View night. I shouldn't have expected it to feel different. I knocked the Coke back like it was eighty proof, keeping my eyes peeled for Josh Mitchell.
It'd been no surprise when Josh joined the Marines two years ago. Like most of the guys in Creek View, his choices had been limited: the military, truck driving, or crappy part-time jobs along the highway. We lived in a blink town—blink and you'll miss it—off California's Highway 99. It was just a trailer park, a few run-down houses, a couple of businesses that barely made enough to keep their doors open, and the Paradise Motel (aka my part-time job).
Though we'd worked together at the Paradise and I'd grown up around him, I'd been weirdly shy when Josh came up to me in his uniform, his head all shaved, calling me ma'am. I'd asked if he was scared, and he said no, that this was as good as it would get for him. He couldn't wait. For a minute we'd just looked at each other and then I kissed his cheek—which surprised both of us—and told him good luck. Then he was gone.
"Have you seen Josh yet?" I asked.
Chris shook his head. "No, but I wasn't going out of my way to hang out with a jarhead the night of my graduation."
Chris snorted. "Josh Mitchell is a dick. I'm only here for the free booze."
"That's pretty much why everyone's here," I said.
"True that. Listen, since we're stuck in this backyard until the American hero graces us with his presence," Chris said, "I vote we get shit-faced and freak out the squares. We can tell our grandkids how we got all crazy when we were youngsters."
This was our little joke, calling the Creek View kids squares when I'd never had a sip of alcohol in my life and we were probably the only virgins over the age of sixteen in our zip code.
"I bet you'll look good with bifocals and a walker," I said. "Grandpa Chris." A smile sneaked onto my face.
"You having a moment?" he asked.
"Yeah, I'm having a moment."
I'd been like this all night; we'd be doing whatever and then I'd remember we were finally getting out of Creek View. Hopefully for good. And I'd get these mini joygasms, like, yes. Even the girl throwing up into an overflowing trash can a few feet away couldn't really kill the buzz of satisfaction that had been humming inside me all day.
I took another sip of my Coke, then set it on a broken lawn chair. "But me getting sentimental doesn't mean I want to waste any more of my life at this party. Josh has gotta be here somewhere."
"Mitchell!" a voice yelled over the crowd. "Hook me up!"
Blake, Josh's brother and my sort-of ex, was walking through the back gate, a twelve-pack of Bud on his shoulder and another one dangling from his hand.
Why, why, why had it seemed like such a good idea to hook up with Blake after an entire adolescence of pretty much zero boy action? And Blake, of all freakin' people!
As if reading my thoughts, Chris patted me on the back. "Hey, you could have done worse. Imagine if you'd spent spring break making out with Josh instead of Blake? You chose the better brother by far."
I glared at him. "Not comforting."
It was still hot, but a cool breeze swept through the party, and I rubbed my arms to erase the goose bumps that scattered across my skin. California tricks you like that—a scorching hot day, and you still need a sweater once the sun goes down.
"This is the most anticlimactic graduation night in the history of graduation nights," I said.
"What's up, bitches?"
I turned around: Dylan was dancing her way toward us, shaking her hips to the music. Whoever was playing DJ had switched from Linkin Park to hip-hop.
"Hey, Mama." Chris whistled, and Dylan did a little pirouette as she got closer.
"Hey, hey," she said.
"Where's Seanie?" I asked, my eyes automatically straying to Dylan's left hip.
Sean was Dylan's six-month-old. I'd been helping take care of him, insisting on Dylan doing her homework so that we could graduate together, on time.
"The little man is with his grams—probably watching so much CSI he's gonna become the youngest serial killer in the history of murder, but whatever. This mama had to get out."
A stab of sadness shot through me at the thought of saying good-bye to Dylan at the end of the summer. Dylan had been my neighbor since we were little, but she became family after she punched someone in the face for calling my daddy a drunk. That someone had been our Sunday school teacher. I'll never forget how nine-year-old Dylan had rolled her eyes at the blood spewing from our teacher's nose, then turned to me and said, "She puts the trash in white trash, huh?" It was a favorite saying of her mother's.
I didn't want to think about days without Dylan's brassy commentary on everything from tamales to tampons. I had the urge to grab her in a bear hug, but I didn't know how to explain missing her while she was standing right next to me.
Dylan looked over her shoulder, then leaned forward. "Did you hear about Lisa?"
I shook my head, but Chris just stared fixedly at Dylan's forehead, avoiding looking at her chest with the same concentration he'd applied to his AP Calculus homework.
"Dylan, you are super boobalicious. You should cover those things up—they've got to be illegal in all fifty states," I said.
Dylan laughed and shook her chest. "Hey, I'm enjoying the perks of motherhood. Besides, it's just Chris."
"Thanks," he muttered.
If she knew he'd been in love with her since the days we played with Power Rangers and Barbies, she might not say shit like that.
"Okay, so check it out." Dylan lowered her voice even though someone had just turned the music up even higher—some dude rapping about how I needed to bend over. God.
"Lisa eloped with Raul right after graduation, and her dad is, like, freaking out. He's all, 'If I see that wetback, I'm going to cut off his—'"
"Yo," said Chris. "Brown boy standing right here."
"Christopher, I'm quoting the racist bastard," Dylan snapped. "Hello? My son's half Latino."
"Just call it the W-word," Chris said. "How hard is that?"
"Anyway," said Dylan, rolling her eyes, "you guys are lucky to see me alive. Her dad was at Ray's, literally waving around a butcher knife. I refused to take his order. I was like, I'm too young to die, you know?"
"Dylan!" someone shouted.
She looked across the yard: Jesse Hernandez, aka Dylan's baby daddy, was waving her over. "Gotta go get some," she said.
Chris's hand tightened around his red cup. "One baby's not enough?"
Dylan patted the pocket of her skirt. "Oh, we learned our lesson. I came prepared." She looked back over her shoulder and began edging away. "You guys hanging around?"
"Do we ever?" I asked.
"There's a first time for everything." She fluttered her eyes at me. "Remember what we talked about."
"Dylan!" I swatted at her, but she was already too far away. She was currently making it her life's mission to get me to third base before I went off to San Francisco State.
Chris stared after her until she was lost in the crowd.
I socked him in the arm. "Eyes on me, amigo."
"You know what. Why do you torture yourself like that?"
A thick pair of arms came from behind me, and I started as they wound around my waist.
"Hey, you," whispered a low voice, lips against my ear. I knew who it was—I'd spent a week drenched in that smell. I swear to God, Blake must have poured on half a bottle of Curve just before the party.
"Blake," I said, "go hug your girlfriend if you're feeling sentimental."
I tried to maneuver out of his grip, but he had the strength of a man who'd already downed a six-pack. There's nothing worse than getting affection from drunk people. It's almost as bad as if someone had paid them to be nice to you.
"But I want to hug you," he said.
Chris snorted, and I gave him a look loaded with dire promises. He just rolled his eyes and took a long drink of his beer.
"Blake, I'm, like, two seconds away from using self-defense on you," I said.
He laughed, soft, and loosened his hold just a little. "I miss you."
I gripped his arms and pulled them off me. "That's your Budweiser talking. We lasted a week—you can't miss me after seven days. Besides, I'm sure Alexis loves when you're all up on other girls."
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed his girlfriend staring at us, her glossy lips turned into a frown.
"Sky," he said, as if I were being unreasonable. Then he grinned, like we had a secret, which we didn't.
He caught sight of Chris and raised his hand for his half of the obligatory fist bump. "What up, dude?"
Chris hesitated, then hit his knuckles against Blake's. "Hey, man."
"Fuckin' graduation, huh? I'm glad that shit's over." Chug, chug, chug: half his beer down his throat in seconds.
Chris and I proceeded to have an eye conversation that went something like this:
What the hell did you see in him?
Nothing, I don't know, shut up.
I pled temporary insanity to Dylan and Chris after that week of ill-advised hooking up, even though I knew better. It'd had nothing to do with Blake.
"Hey, is your brother around?" I asked. "We wanted to say hi, see what's up with him."
Blake wiped the back of his hand across his mouth and looked around the yard. "Yeah, somewhere. Probably inside or something."
"When does he have to go back?" I asked.
Blake shrugged and started peeling the label off his bottle. He wouldn't meet my eyes. "Not sure."
Chris elbowed me, and I elbowed him back. I thought we were having another secret conversation about Blake, but then he elbowed me again and whispered, "Sky."
I looked in the direction Chris was staring.
"Hey, Skylar. Long time no see."
The voice was familiar, but I barely recognized the person in front of me. In the dark, all I could make out was a shaved head and gaunt face, but then I saw the eyes. Those were what tipped me off. They were Van Gogh eyes—swirls of dark and light blue. All the Mitchells had them.
He smiled, but there was nothing behind it. His eyes were glazed over, two bottomless wells that reflected the kitchen lights but held none of their own.
"Yeah, if you can believe it."
I looked at Blake, almost for confirmation, but he'd gone back to peeling the label off his bottle, his shoulders hunched and lips set in a hard line. The place between expectation and reality had instantly become so wide that I couldn't see to the other side of it. There weren't any words I could build a bridge with. Words didn't mean shit.
"Welcome home," I whispered. At least, I think I did. I felt my lips move.
Josh opened his arms for a hug, but as he moved forward, his body jerked to the side in an awkward limp. I looked down and choked on the air.
His leg. He'd lost his leg.
* * *
Fuck. God, God, fuck.
"Like it? It's my souvenir from the Taliban," Josh said, giving a slight kick with the metal cylinder that used to be his left leg.
All I could think was: Josh squatting by the Paradise pool, his bare feet leaving wet footprints on the concrete; Josh on the roof of the motel, looking out over the orchard and saying, Dare me to jump?; Josh walking toward me, tall and proud in his uniform but trying to be cool, like it was no big deal.
"Now I can be a goddamn pirate or something, right?" he said. "Got the peg leg and everything."
"Shit." Chris breathed.
Josh shrugged. "Shit happens."
I had to tear my eyes away from the metal pole that began somewhere under Josh's khaki shorts and ended inside a tennis shoe. I was like those drivers out on Highway 99 who felt compelled to slow down and stare when there was an accident. Lookie-Loos. The more gruesome the wreck was, the slower the Lookie-Loos drove, their eyes drawn to the thick pools of blood and shimmering shards of glass that spread across the asphalt like a Jackson Pollock painting.
I lurched forward and hugged him, holding my breath as his arms went around me. He reeked of whiskey, weed, and rank sweat. It was a stiff, graceless hug—me trying not to accidentally kick his leg, him trying to stay balanced. I wanted to kill someone. Whoever had done this to him, his parents for telling him he should go, the president. It was the sickest thing I'd ever seen, this man-boy whose whole life was screwed.
"This is so fucked up," I whispered.
His breath caught, and he let out a raspy "yeah."
We stayed like that for a few more seconds, then I pulled away. Chris was staring at Josh's leg, and I hoped I didn't look like him, so shell-shocked. Blake was still pulling at the label on his empty bottle, letting the torn pieces flutter to the dead grass at his feet.
"So you're home now? I mean, for good?" I asked.
"Don't know." Josh frowned. "What about you? How's the motel?"
"Same, same," I said.
It seemed like those long days working together at the Paradise were a million years ago.
"I believe it." He turned to Chris, as if he'd noticed him for the first time. "What about you, faggot? You still playing with computers and shit?"
Chris's eyes flashed, and he opened his mouth to reply, but then Josh clapped him on the back.
"I'm just fucking with you, man. You're all right."
I could almost see the debate in Chris's head: is it, in fact, morally reprehensible to deck a one-legged dude who's been fighting for his country?
It got quiet then, the air oozing awkwardness. All I could think about was that leg, blown to bits.
Excerpted from I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios. Copyright © 2015 Heather Demetrios. Excerpted by permission of Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part One: June,
Part Two: July,
Part Three: August,
Also by Heather Demetrios,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved every single thing about this book. Actually, it really surprised me because, at first, I thought I wouldn't like it as much, but this novel turned out to be so wonderful and full of emotion... I recommend this book to everyone and hope they enjoy it just like I did.
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios was everything I had hoped it would be and more. I was anticipating some sort of insta-love aspect in the book, and instead was treated with a slow burn kinda love story that pulled at my heartstrings, made me laugh, swoon, and cry. The story basically revolves around Skylar Evans who is on the fast track to getting out of Creek View. With a full scholarship to college, and the opportunity to leave her small town behind, nothing will stop her from leaving…except maybe her mother. After the loss of her father, Skylar’s mom has been down the path of depression, drinking, and not making the right choices. When her mom drops the bomb that she’s lost her job and has started to show affections towards the town “creepy”, Skylar knows that her plan may not be so easy to execute. the one place (aside from the company of her BFFs) that Skylar can escape to is The Paradise hotel, a “theme” roomed hotel that Skylar has been working at. It doesn’t hurt that the manager/owner is like a second mother to her. But when a hometown marine comes home from Afghanistan after losing a leg, Skylar’s plans of leaving Creek View starts to eat away at her. How can she leave her mother who can’t take care of herself? And what if the person she didn’t think she’d have feelings for, shows her the side of him that she can’t walk away from? So, let me start of by saying this…there wasn’t a character in I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios that I didn’t love. They all had their own personalities! Ones where I’m sure that readers out there would be able to relate to. They all have their secrets or flaws, which makes them unique from each other, and makes them all loveable and unforgettable. What I loved the most about I’ll Meet You There was watching the friendship between Josh Mitchell and Skylar Evans develop. I love stories where there’s a “It was you all along” realization. *le sigh* We watch these two characters grow together and slowly come together, and then the unforgettable “ah ha!” moments. Oh sure, there’s hiccups. What great story wouldn’t have them! Of course Josh ends up showing his douchyside… It just made the story all that more real. We see Skylar, this tough as nails girl, fall and breakdown, and as a reader, I fell and broke down with her! I wanted to gather her up in my arms and tell her that everything would be okay. Oh how my heart went out to her. But then we witness something so beautiful happen. OMG this book… You know how they say that things happen for a reason? That’s pretty much this book. If “certain event” didn’t happen, then “a different event” wouldn’t have happened, and “this” wouldn’t have happened. Not only do we get to watch an unforgettable love story unfold, but author Heather Demetrios, also opens the readers eyes to the reality of war and the casualties. Not only the physical pain that many soldiers/veterans have had to (or continue to) go through, but the aftermath of the war as well. She shares the truths of PTSD, and how much it affects the solider, their families and friends, and those around them. To be able to read a story that transports the reader from a side where a soldier retells his nightmares from the war to a side where love blossoms was so touching and quite an experience. I would recommend I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios to fans of contemporary reads, and for anyone who craves a story that’s so real and heartwarming that you’ll finish the book with a smile.
I loved this book! Couldn't put it down!
This is an extremely realistic contemporary. The main characters are fleshed out and have real flaws. The subject matter is difficult and the themes of military services and poverty bring some nice variety to the genre. I started this book before going to bed and stayed up until 5am to finish it because I just couldn't stop and I needed to know what was going to happen to Josh & Skylar. I highly recommend this book.
There are so many things about I'LL MEET YOU THERE that impressed me--from the glimpses of hope and heartbreak inherent in military service, the depictions of life in a poor small town, the bonds of friendship between Sky, Chris, and Dylan, and the gorgeous love story behind Sky and Josh. If I had to pick though, I'd say that the thing I loved most about this book is how it shatters stereotypes at every turn. Sky lives in a trailer and dreams of escaping her hometown, but she's also willing to forgo her own future to take care of her mother. Her mom isn't always the world's greatest parent, but she protects her daughter--even when Sky and the reader can't see it. Dylan, Sky's best friend, is a teen mom in a healthy, solid relationship. Creek View is a tiny, nowhere town that still contains incredible beauty. Nothing in this story is simple, none of the answers come easily, and that's what makes it so satisfying. This is one of the best dual POV YA novels, and one of the best novels period, that I've read all year.
I loved this book, and how it showed aspects of life that are not often showcased in this books. One of these aspects was the lower socioeconomic status of the main character, Skylar. Also, one of Skylar's best friend, Dylan, is a teen mom, which is something else that isn't often shown in books, though it does happen in real life. I liked how it dealt with Josh's PTSD from war as well, and with him having a prosthetic leg. I liked watching the romance between Josh and Skylar develop slowly. I didn't love this book quite as much as I loved Demetrios' first book, Something Real, but I did still love it.
This book is seriously awesome! I admit though, it took me the first 3 chapters to get really into it but after that, i would sit and wait in class till my studyhalls just so i could keep reading. You get close with all the characters and you fall in love with them. It also shows a great concept on the truths of what soldiers go through, across seas and at home. You will not regret buying it!
Read more: http://www.sarcasmandlemons.com/2015/06/review-ill-meet-you-there-by-heather.html the basics I'm glad I gave this book a chance, even though Exquisite Captive wasn't an insta-favorite. I'll Meet You There has some of the trappings of an ABC Family show, but there's enough heart and power to make up for the drama. The story follows Skylar, small town good girl with a ticket to the real world--if she can just last the summer. Then there's Josh, former high school god, back from Afghanistan with a new prosthetic leg and nightmares lurking behind his smirk. What follows is an atmospheric, emotional story that's often frustrating and never simple. Sky and Josh are each deeply flawed, and don't quite know how to fit their frayed edges together. Despite a few missteps in prose, it's a story that satisfies without offering neat solutions--a story that's so important in a time when there are many Joshes coming home. Demetrios seems completely at home in the realm of the bittersweet contemporary.
I loved this book. The romance was really nice and Josh was such a complex character. Worth a read.
Sky has dreams of leaving her small town behind her; her future plans of college in San Francisco offer her a brighter future, pursuing her love of art. Josh’s dreams of being a soldier in the Marines hang in the balance after losing his leg in combat, he now finds himself back in his hometown contemplating his future. Previous acquaintances, these two young adults working side-by-side at the Paradise Motel, realize that life is a journey with struggles and successes. What appealed to me about this novel was the way the characters struggled with life. Sky felt responsible for her mother and she struggled within herself to let go of that responsibility and let her mother stand on her own two feet. Her mother, the emotions and attitude she had spoke volumes and yet Sky held on. I felt for Sky and I dreaded the outcome but such is life and how much a person can take and still hang on, depends on the person. I was glad that Sky and Josh had Marge, she didn’t have to say much but her presence was known. Josh struggled with his inner and outer appearances, I believe. I don’t need to say much about Josh as everyone knows how war can damage a person and Josh was no different. Josh was in need, period. There were plenty of dances in the relationship between Sky and Josh, their variety filling the air, keeping the enjoyment and the excitement of the book moving, for I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.
I adored this book. The characters were flawed in the best of ways but were all survivors. They adapted and grew and were ultimately the best kinds of crazy. Skylar was strong yet weak all at once. She was the typical girl who was unsure of the future and that scared her but she prevailed and got the ending she deserved. Josh was complicated but a guy you couldn't help but love even when he was making mistakes. He is a survivor of war and as such was wonded in mind and body but loved Sky in the only way he knew how. Dylan and Chris are the kinds of best friends we all wish we could have strong, caring and always on your side. This book made me smile and cry, I recommend it to anyone looking for a touching read.
Guys, I’ve read I’LL MEET YOU THERE by Heather Demetrios twice already. It’s one of those stories that isn’t brimming with big, epic flash-bangs, but still has that impact emotionally. Does that make sense? I loved I’LL MEET YOU THERE because it’s just a story about two kids in a down-and-out town who both have baggage and demons and who have this slowly intensifying heat between them that’s founded in friendship. But, OH, when that friendship is suddenly something else? UGH MY HEART AND FEELS AND BUTTERFLIES. Sky and Josh are everything. Everything. If there were two characters that I wish were real just so that I could know for an actual fact that this amazing story was true and they were living this major happiness in real life, it would be these two. They deserve to be real and to be happy together. If this makes me a crazy person, just let me know. I’LL MEET YOU THERE is the story of two teens, Skylar and Josh, who live in a small town in California, an hour away from anything, barely a blip on the map. Sky lives in a trailer with her mother and struggles to keep her little family afloat in the aftermath of her father’s death years before. One of her jobs in between daydreaming about leaving Creek View for San Francisco in the fall to go to college, is working at the Paradise motel. A place where she used to work with the insufferable, popular, good-looking Josh Mitchell. Before he joined the Marines, that is. When Josh returns home from Afghanistan missing part of his leg and with other wounds besides, Sky and Josh slowly begin to forge a friendship and to reveal themselves to one another. Their feelings continue to grow until things in Creek View go a little pear-shaped. So I mentioned that this book gets all my love, right? All of it? Ok, good. Because I really did love everything about it. The relationship, the characters, the setting–it was all a perfect mix. I can picture Creek View in all it’s dry, desolate backwater-ness. I feel Sky’s eagerness to leave, and Josh’s uncertainty about being home. I keep thinking about all of it. I can’t get these people and these places out of my mind. I’LL MEET YOU THERE is told from two perspectives: Sky’s and Josh’s. Josh’s chapters in particular are heartbreaking. They’re told as if he was speaking directly to an old friend of his from the Marines as he tries to acclimate to returning home, something his friend can never do. Josh blames himself for his friend’s death and struggles hugely with survivor’s guilt and post-traumatic stress. But the way he talks to his friend about Skylar and what she means to him and how he doesn’t know how to approach their relationship, it gives us great insight into his character and, on a smaller scale, brief but poignant glimpses into the camaraderie he felt with the guys in his unit while he was serving. I’m just going to come out with it: I LOVE JOSHUA MITCHELL. I adore him. He’s got kind of a soft center, but not too soft. He’s still a dude. Funny, adventurous, confident. Sky is a wonderful, wonderful match for him, and he for her. She wants to look out for him and empathizes with him but doesn’t let him wallow or let him off the hook when he’s being a douche. They are exactly what the other one needs. And I loved how Josh’s disability is obviously important, but it doesn’t really define him to Skylar. Heather Demetrios crafted an amazing relationship, guys. It’s so REAL and still has that magic that all romances have. Speaking of Skylar, this poor girl. She’d probably hate me saying that because she doesn’t want anyone’s pity. She works hard to help her mom pay the bills, she’s concerned about her mother when she takes up with this bum guy Billy, she wants to make sure that her mom isn’t left hanging out to dry when she leaves for school, she’s a wonderful friend to Dylan and Chris (who I also loved), and she’s devoted to her art (she makes collages). Skylar is one of those kids that has too much on her shoulders but who handles it with aplomb. I was just so proud of her, you know? There’s basically nothing I don’t love about I’LL MEET YOU THERE, friends. Nothing. I’ve read Heather Demetrios’ book twice and the second reading had the same impact on me as the first. It’s stuck in my mind and my heart. I wish I could pick it up and reread it again right now. I can’t wait to read more of Heather Demetrios’ books. As my first book of hers, I’LL MEET YOU THERE sets the bar really high, but not just for her. For everyone. READ ITTTTT.
I really liked reading I'll Meet You There, but it didn't leave much of a lasting impression on me. I felt . . . disappointed in a way, yet it still deserves the rating I'm giving it. I liked the main character and her growth throughout the book. She wasn't that memorable (I can't even make a guess at what her name was without looking), but she was still good. I loved her artistic side. Dylan and Chris were really nice supporting characters. I appreciated the focus on friendship. The romance was tumultuous, which I really liked. The couple had great chemistry. It made me love certain scenes between the two of them. *crickets* That's all I have to say on those parts. The part of the book that I absolutely loved--the biggest reason why I even liked the book--was Josh. He made this book. I started out hating him. He was so RUDE and disrespectful. His behavior irritated me. However, he turned out to be afantastic character. He felt real and well developed. His flaws and his struggles with them actually made me like him more. I loved that he wasn't easy to like. Sometimes those are the best characters! His growth was amazing. I went from mildly repulsed to loving him, and that was what made his growth so evident to me. I loved that he was a Marine. That military focus made the story more interesting and, in a way, more emotional. Josh had short sections in his POV, which were some of my favorite parts to read. I loved his emotions--the rawness that infused his narration. I wish I had more to say about this book that wasn't Josh related, but . . . that's where this book fell short for me. I don't have much to say. It was a great read! I had a good time reading it. Is it a favorite? Not one bit. There was something about this book that was missing. I was left with very little words, but not in a good way. Overall, I'll Meet You There was a great contemporary with a fantastic love interest. I will definitely read Heather Demetrios' other books, though I'm hoping that I'll have more to say about those ones. If you're a fan of great YA contemporary romance, I would definitely look into reading this one. Most readers don't seem to feel that same weird disappointment in this book, so I doubt many of those interested in reading it will come across the same problem that I did. *I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This review was originally posted on my blog Belletristic Books. Do you love contemporary young adult books? If you answered yes to this question, then I highly suggest you get I’ll Meet You There stat! And even if you aren’t that big of a fan of young adult realistic fiction, I think reading this book would be beneficial just to get into the minds of some individuals who I don’t believe are often portrayed in young adult literature. This is the first title I’ve read by Heather Demetrios and I’m glad I started with it since I super enjoyed this book! This tale involves a lot of really intense issues and yet manages to seem very optimistic too. Despite the tragedy occurring quite often in this book, many of its characters still seem ready and willing to fight for what they consider their happy ending to be. One of the main complications in this is how the two main characters seem stuck in their small town. Their hometown is a place where it appears as though the multitude of the population is dealing with problems with alcohol and poverty. I feel like I haven’t seen a lot of young adult books that deals with characters that are so destitute, which seems crazy considering it can be a big issue for many teenagers. This book felt refreshing since it’s a good look into how intricate life really is. Sky just wants her freedom and she considers her scholarship to an art school away from Creek View as her ticket out. Since her father passed away, she’s had a difficult time dealing with her Mom who seems quite fragile. Sky is ready to make her own life and see exotic places away from her hometown. Josh thought he found his way out via the Marines but he returns home with a whole range of complicated problems. He has to wear a prosthetic leg and is depressed over losing friends while in Afghanistan. He doesn’t understand why he’s still living and what he’s supposed to do with his life. While reading I’ll Meet You There, I was quite surprised to see Sky and Josh become more friendly and eventually falling for each other because they’re such different people. Sky’s considered a “good girl” and Josh has a bit of a drinking problem as well as a history of being a womanizer. But they’ve both been looking for a way to get out of Creek View. However, this book really made me think about how perhaps home isn’t a place but a person. What if finding a way out isn’t through leaving but from finding someone you feel comfortable with who understands you? This book just gave me so many feels – it’s cute yet realistic and so hopeful but awesome! Demetrios doesn’t sugarcoat this story. Her characters are both diverse and complex. The struggles they face felt real to me and I thought it was beneficial to read about issues that I haven’t faced. Especially since I feel like the problems brought up when war is involved is something that isn’t really seen in young adult books. For me, this book is definitely 5 out of 5 stars. I’ll Meet You There is an exceptionally written and intriguing story that’s definitely become a new favorite!
I know I loved a book when I have to start and stop a review several times and I'm still unsure I've found the right words for it, This is one of those circumstances. I'll Meet You There is a swoony, funny, sarcastic, and just everything you need from a book. "Being a Marine isn't the only thing you're good at. Maybe you just don't know your thing yet, you know? I think..." I took a breath "I just think you're selling yourself short.'" 25% Skylar is not your typical girl from Creek View. She has an actual chance of getting out. (Without becoming pregnant first.) Try as she might to stay out of trouble, it still found her. In the form of a Marine. Josh is back in Creek View after his tour in Afghanistan and and everything is different. Especially him. As the summer goes by, both Skylar and Josh see what's really important to them. "...it's okay to be proud of yourself, Josh." 32% I loved all "the feels" this book brought on. I laughed out loud, I cried, I got mad, I felt EVERYTHING while reading this. I was fully immersed in this story. Enough to cry real tears and talk back to the book like Skylar would jump from the pages and do what I told her. "you can't have the light without the dark, right? Maybe our darkness was necessary for other people to see their light.'" 43% I also loved the beautiful, lyrical way this story was written. Although the main character of this story is Skylar, there are some chapters from Josh's POV that are super intense and give us a look into his feelings. Though they sometimes hurt to read, I loved that Demetrios gave us that glimpse at Josh. This way we were able to see why he did what he did although we may not have agreed with it. Yes Skylar may have been the MC, but my favorite voice of the story was Josh's. "What am I supposed to do when I'm bad for the one good thing in my life?'" 65% As far as Josh and Skylar together there were so many hick-ups but I rooted for them the entire way. Both Josh and Skylar needed someone to be loved by and I wanted them to find it in each other. There were many times I was upset that they didn't do what I wanted them to, but at the same time, I understood. But trust me, the times they finally get it right, it was electrifying. Josh is seriously swoony and he and Skylar together captured my heart. "Love is medicine and dreams are oxygen.'" -Acknowledgements Heather Demetrios is quickly becoming one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She dares to write outside the box, from teens with huge families that make it to television to teen amputated war veterans. Her writing swept me away to the trailer park in Creek View and even though Skylar was so intent on leaving, I didn't want to.
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.
Gritty, Heart-wrenching, Hopeful. It's difficult to put into words just how much I loved this book, but trust me when I tell you that you need this book in your life. Like yesterday. Several of my reviewer friends had already read "I'll Meet You There" and highly encouraged me to do the same RIGHT THIS INSTANT. I hesitated because the excitement and hype made me nervous. I feared I wouldn't love Skye and Josh (and the supporting cast of characters) like everyone else. I was afraid I would be the odd man out and ultimately disappointed. It's happened before. I.WAS.WRONG. I COULD NOT PUT THIS BOOK DOWN! Nor did I want to. Even when I got to the end--which was full of hopeful perfection--I was reluctant to say goodbye to these characters. Heather Demetrios' writing is fantastic. Her storytelling so genuine and real, her characters so vivid, I felt like I was on this journey with Skye and Josh. (A faceless secondary character who makes everyone cupcakes.) When they laughed, I laughed. When they hurt, I hurt. When they messed up, I wanted to grab them by the shoulders, shaking sense into them while simultaneously hugging all of their pain away. This book broke my heart in the best way before stitching it all back together again. It's the kind of story that stays with you long after you close the book. Read it.
Ahh this book. This book was so real, so honest, so unique. If you have seen any buzz about this book, then you know that most frequently, people have been saying that they don't know what to say. And that is so true. This book is so much MORE than a love story. This book is everything. Demetrios deals with so much in this book, but in such a powerful way. This book takes place over the course of a summer. Skylar lives in a little nowhere town, just counting down the days until she can get out of there. She has a scholarship to an art school, her ticket out of this place. Until things start going downhill. Josh Mitchell is also back in town, after his time in the army caused him to lose his leg. But he's no longer the same person he used to be before he left. The characters in this one. Man, were the so real. I'm not saying they're the most likable. Definitely not. But that's what's part of what makes them so real, so well-written. They make the same mistakes, the same decisions, that real people would make. They were honest, transparent. Demetrios writes very gritty. This isn't a pretty story, but it's one that needs to be told. There are a few pages in between chapters from Josh's perspective and they were written perfectly. They captured the mindset of someone just back from the war. When Josh gets back home, people expect him to be the same he was. But he isn't. No one else has seen what he has seen, and they don't understand that. They can't understand that. I think Demetrios did a great job of bringing to light the fact that so many of our young men are going off into the Army and such, and coming back changed, but are we really doing anything to help them? And Skylar herself is going through some pretty big issues. After all this time of planning and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, her mother goes downhill. Suddenly Sky doesn't know if she's getting out of there. You may not like Sky, you may not agree with her decisions, but you have to admire her as a character. There's a lot of issues that are dealt with in this book, but they're dealt with in an open and honest way, that I think all of us can relate to. This is, in a word, a powerful book. And I think there's something for everyone, from great friendships, to deep issues, to a swoony romance. And while I didn't loooove this one in the way the most others did, I still really, really liked it. You won't want to miss this one.