Review: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios10:00
Author: Heather Demetrios
Published February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
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 bought this book last year, the same time as I bought Demetrios' Something Real, and for some reason, it's been sitting on my shelves, gathering dust, until now. Wow, I wish I could go back to when I first bought it, and tell myself to read it ASAP, it was fantastic.
In I'll Meet You There, Skylar Evans is looking forward to finishing her last summer at home, before she moves out of the deadbeat town she lives in, to her new college in San Francisco. She's been working in the local motel all through high school, and is trying to save up all she can before her big move. Local boy Josh Mitchell, who'd been a bit of a hell-raiser before joining the Marines and deploying to Afghanistan, has returned home after being injured and losing a leg. He starts back at work at the motel, and him and Skylar grow closer, though both know they are facing their own issues.
Having previously read Demetrios' Something Real, I knew I was a fan of her writing style, and had been told that this book was nothing like the other. In I'll Meet You There, it's a lot more serious, and emotional. I felt a whole plethora a emotions reading this, and know that other people were the same. There are a ton of really serious, and relevant, issues covered in the book, such as PTSD, loss of limbs, problematic family dynamics, poverty, homelessness, etc. And none of these were trivialised. Having grown up during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and having family members in the military, I feel like I've grown up hearing about some of these issues. Though I haven't personally known anyone in a similar situation to Josh, he seems to be just like people I've heard about, and it's not a simple problem. It's serious, and Demetrios has faced this issue seriously, and extremely well.
However, it wasn't only Josh who had his own issues. Skylar's family life is not good - he dad died due to a drink driving incident, and her mam hasn't coped with it well. She's the main breadwinner, and needs her job to keep the family afloat. When her and her mam butt heads one too many times, she leaves, and ends up living in the motel she works at. Both of the characters have burdens, and they combat them as best they can.
The romance was extremely swoony, and developed perfectly. Neither try to 'fix' the other, as they both understand that they're the only person able to do so. It wasn't a case, like in a lot of YA books, where falling in love can be the solution to all your problems - having another person there to talk to was perfect for each character, but each still had their issues, and dealt with them personally.
The character growth from start to finish was amazing. We really saw each character grow, and heal, and it was something they did themselves, with some help from one another. All of the story lines were beautiful in their own right, but once they were brought together, and concluded, the story was epic. This book is one I'd definitely recommend, and I can't wait to read more of Demetrios' work in the future.