For What It's Worth

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios



95002717If 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.

Goodreads | Source: ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Review:
So this book.

I know I’m not going to be able to put everything I feel about Heather Demetrios’s writing into words. Just know that I LOVED I'll Meet You There and rated it 5 stars on Goodreads – which I RARELY do.

I was kind of hesitant to read this I’ll Meet You There. Although I’m always looking for a book that tackles tough issues, I’m often disappointed. I love a good romance but I don’t think when you are going to write about things like PTSD, the romance should overtake or solve that. I’ve read many books where trauma seems to = pages and pages of our hero being an asshole, wallowing in self pity and that is somehow supposed to enough to address how serious or hard something is. Of course that’s real and does happen but it also misses the heart of a character or the depth of the topic the author is exploring.

My copy included a letter from the author explaining why she wrote about PTSD and poverty and her personal experiences with both. Her real life experience and compassion for both shows. This is really one of the best books I’ve read on those subjects. In any genre -  YA, NA, or Adult.

Onto the babbling praise portion of the review.

There is a romance between Skylar and Josh but it felt like so much more to me. It was slow and easy – yet complicated for so many reasons. This is a warts and all kind of love and more believable for it.

Josh has the obvious issues you would expect after a tour in Afghanistan and losing his leg. His chapters are few but have an incredible impact. His pain is palpable yet you don’t ever pity him and neither does Skylar.

I loved how this was just as much Skylar’s story as it was Josh’s. Skylar can’t wait to get out of Creek View. She has a scholarship and a one way ticket out until her mother starts to spiral out of control. Reading about her conflict between her loyalty to her mom and attaining her dreams was heartbreaking.

There’s an ebb and flow to these characters. It gets pretty dark at times yet there’s a realistic balance. Not everyday is awful. Sometimes they just make it through by putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes they stumbled – then took a leap of faith and make progress.

The secondary characters were just as complex and interesting as Skylar and Josh. The changing dynamics between friends and family as things shift add yet another layer to this already wonderful story.

There are a lot of potential clichés here – the alcoholic mom, losing your virginity, the teenage mother, the returning bad boy, but not a one of them is written that way. Just because they all come from the same town, doesn't mean they have a universal experience or even want the same things.

I’ll Meet You There shows the despair of poverty, addiction and trauma yet also shows how there is always hope in that despair. Not everything is tied up in a neat little bow. Demetrious doesn't cop out at the end – she shows the hard work that still needs to be done, but you also see that both Skylar and Josh and their friends are headed in the right direction.

I tried to keep this review spoiler free but I suggest following the I'll Meet You There Book Tour. Tours can be kind of boring sometimes but Heather has been writing really great posts regarding the book and some of the issues she explored. They are a tad spoliery though.

29 comments:

  1. Great review and this book was amazing :)

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  2. I have a difficult time reading books that deal with war or the aftereffects. Many of the summaries sound great (like this one) but my brother is in the army now, so it's a bit worrisome. haha At any rate, I'm glad you liked the book so much!

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    1. That makes sense. I couldn't watch the news or movies about the military when my husband was in the Navy. He was on subs and we couldn't talk for 3 months at a time (way before email & smart phones) so I had to avoid all that stuff or I would stress out.

      The author had a father who suffered from PTSD and her brother is about to join the military so I felt that helped her write this story in a way that was authentic and sensitive. Not just romantic.

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  3. Ive been seeing this a lot lately and I want to read it. It sounds like its smart and affecting & I need more of that in my life!

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    1. It's good. There is romance - but both characters stand not heir own as individuals which I really liked.

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  4. The characters' working together, and the great cast of secondary does make this sound good.

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    1. I think you would really like this one Brandi.

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  5. I am glad she does not fix the problems too easily, that is serious stuff

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    1. Yeah I hate when sex solves everything.

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  6. Geez, friggin' Louise, man. This is like the third time I've had to explain what a lamewad I am for not reading anything by Demetrios yet (despite owning at least two of her books). This one is on the list as well--how could it not be? *stares at TBR with awe and fear* Fantastic review ;)

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    1. I know! I've been hearing about this author forever but never picked up one of her books. Now I want to buy them ALL.

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  7. Fantastic review, all of my friends loved it as well. So glad this was a five star for you. I haven't tried Demetrios and I am thinking I need to stat.

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    1. I need to read her other books soon!

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  8. Okay this isn't the first review that glows with praise for the book. So, yea, I already wanted to read it. However, your review really TELLS me why it is so great! All without spoilage! Damn, I want to write reviews like you! :) This book is going to the top of my wishlist.

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    1. Eep! Thank you :-)

      It was VERY hard not spoil lol

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  9. This book sounds really good and I have heard nothing but good things about this one. Great review!

    Teresa @ Readers Live A Thousand Lives

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  10. Wow this book sounds absolutely amazing:) So many great reviews...

    PS love the new design (it's so fresh how you change it up) and Fig's new pic:)

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    1. Thank you!

      & yeah - I really loved this one!

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  11. This is the 2nd review I've read this week for this one and theirs was much the same. Yall definitely have me curious and I'm seriously loving that cover which is always a plus for me :)

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  12. I've seen a few reviews of this book now - I'm curious now, I'm glad you loved it though! Amazing review :)

    Benish | Feminist Reflections

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    1. I wanted add that I finished reading this book, thanks to your stellar review and OMGGGG I'm in love with it .. I haven't found that many good books lately, and this happens to be one of them :)

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    2. Yay! I'm so glad you loved it too!

      This was a stand out to me in the contemporary/issue genre.

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  13. Woah five stars, eh? And now I'm intrigued after having read this. Not my usual type of read at all, but I could see myself appreciating this one for all the same reasons.

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  14. To be honest, I didn't have any plans of reading this one. But it looks like that book really meant something to the author and has a lot of heart-wrenching scenes. I honestly haven't seen anything less than a 5 star review Karen!

    Thanks for convincing me to give it a go! I'll have to be prepared to deal with a lot of heavy stuff.

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  15. I enjoyed this one, but I wasn't over the moon for it, like so many readers. I felt like I had been there done that with the whole story, nothing original. The characters and writing were terrific though.

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    1. I can see that. I'm kind of over angst books in general but I felt this had a more authentic voice and wasn't just a drumbeat of sadness.

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  16. I haven't read any reviews for this book until now (I had so much trouble summing up my feelings for this story and I didn't want to be influenced by anyone's reviews) but just YES to everything you said. This was the first book I read by Heather but it's def not the last.

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    1. It was my first book by her too. I was so impressed.

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