I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Publication Date: February 2015
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 the many books that have been sitting, unread, on my shelf for months. I was reading another book (trying to, really) when I noticed I’ll Meet You There, and decided to glance through it. Of course, glancing turned to reading, and there was no turning back.
Skylar, a recent high school graduate, cannot wait to leave the backwater town in which she resides. She’s poor, so her only ticket out of there is a scholarship into college- which she already has. When her mum starts slipping into some old bad habits, Skylar has to rethink her decision to leave. Josh, an old acquaintance of Skylar’s, has just returned from his service in Afghanistan where he lost parts of himself, including his leg. During the summer, Skylar and Josh discover a deep, unexpected friendship, despite their huge differences.
I like Skylar; if she were an actual person, we’d get along pretty well. She’s not from a very privileged background, but she doesn’t blame anyone for her situation. She doesn’t go around whining or acting like a victim of circumstance (even though she kind of is). She’s smart, sensible, and sometimes too caring for her own good. She’s real.
The thing I like best about this book is the fact that everything is just so realistic. There are some things that should be cliché, but somehow end up not being cliché. The interactions between the characters are real, and the circumstances surrounding everything that happens in the story are things that are likely to happen in real life.
I also like the romance aspect of the story. I like how their relationship doesn’t seem to appear out of nowhere; there is a gradual process that starts with friendship and ends with something far deeper. I did feel a bit irritated when Skylar and Josh were in denial about their feelings for each other, but oh well…
There are alternating perspectives, which gave me insight to the workings of not only Skylar’s mind, but Josh’s mind as well. The author clearly took time to portray Josh’s thoughts, as I was able to better understand his struggle with his memories from the war. There is real character development, and there is a mixture of all kinds of characters (both annoying and otherwise).
This might seem weird, but I also love the fact that I did not cry when I was reading this book. With all the intensity of the story, I was totally expecting to have to lock my room door with a box of tissues in hand, but I didn’t need to. The story did touch my heart in more ways than one, and it did make me admire people who serve their countries even more than I already did, but I did not cry. And for that reason, I am glad J
After I read the author’s note, I realised that she has quite a personal experience with the military. Not as a veteran, but as someone who is knows what it’s like to be surrounded by people in the military. It’s also very clear that Heather Demetrios conducted some major research in the course of writing I’ll Meet You There, which makes it even more real.
Overall, I’ll Meet You There is one deep story. It has all the right features of an excellent read, and is very realistic. Hopefully, I’ll be reading more of Heather Demetrios in the near future.