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Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Source: Publisher provided for review
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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.I devoured I'll Meet You There. I went in with few expectations, having never read one of Heather Demetrios' books and staying away from reviews for this one. Quickly, however, I was brought into Skylar and Josh's story and, until I turned the last page, I only put the book down to get more tea (a necessity, obviously).
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 heartbreakingly real. We all wish for sunshine and roses in life, but people deal with hardship. They make mistakes. All Skylar wants to do is get through the summer so she can head off to art school, the finish line for the hard life she's led thus far. What teenage girl wants to--or is fully capable of--taking care of their mother? Her anger and her fear that she'll never leave Creek View fill her narration. It's so hard to read about Skylar without being able to give her a hug, because it's just a cruel twist of fate that she might not be able to achieve the dreams she's been working so desperately to reach.
And Josh. Oh Josh. Back from Afganistan and missing a leg, he's haunted by what he lived in the war and the friends he lost. His tentative friendship with Skylar is one of his only bright spots, a line he can cling to. It'd be simple to see Josh and Skylar's as too easy, that love can fix whatever has hurt Josh so deeply, but that's not the way it is. Instead, friendship--and eventually love--is a salve. It numbs the pain, giving Josh hope that with time things will get better. He'll never be who he was before, but he can eventually be better, stronger, and grounded by that love.
There's a lot of pain in I'll Meet You There. A lot of drama, too. At times, the lines get messy and unclear. Some of the characters have less than pleasing pasts. But that's life, right? It might be uncomfortable or painful at times, but the experience is worth it in the end because there's beauty in overcoming together.
When she's not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher's Weekly called“[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of Exquisite Captive, the first in the Dark Caravan Cycle fantasy series, as well as I’ll Meet You There. Coming from Macmillan in Winter 2015, I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios) and pretty much any social media site you can imagine. - See more at: http://www.heatherdemetrios.com/about#sthash.