Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
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 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 Paradise—a 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, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I enjoyed I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios a lot more than I initially thought I would. Though I’m an avid YA reader, and even more so, a Romance reader, this book wasn’t what I’d usually pick up. The synopsis sounded vaguely interesting to me, but to be honest… I grew up in a small town with rinky-dink trailer parks. I grew up in the poor neighborhoods where clubhouses were built in abandoned lots where addicts occasionally hung out. I was that small town girl who worked at a fast food restaurant because there were no other jobs available in a town most people had never even heard of. Revisiting those small-town memories isn’t high on my to-do-list.
Almost on a whim, I picked up this book, and I’m so glad I did. Forget the genre’s… because if you see that it’s labeled YA, Contemporary, Romance… you’re going to get the wrong idea. This book is so much more than that.
I’ll Meet You There is the story of two teens, barely on their way into adulthood. Skylar is the small town girl that sees her hometown through jaded eyes. She wants out in the worst way possible, but she’s scared to leave her neurotic mother and her close friends behind. Josh is a boy who was once the life of the party… the jock that every girl wanted and every guy wished he could be… and then the war happened. He comes home an amputee and doesn’t know what to do with himself now that he’s home. This story is the narrative of their friendship and eventual romance as they rediscover who they are and re-evaluate what they thought they knew about their lives.
The narrative was exceptionally well written. I had an ARC (sent to me directly by the publishers) and there were a few typos, but nothing that stuck out too much. The writing was clear, easy to follow, and engaging. The story is told from two points of view: Skylar’s POV which is the main thread of the story, and smaller interjections of Josh’s POV which consists mainly of military service flashbacks and diary-esque moments when he’s addressing his dead war buddy, trying to figure out his life.
The story is gripping and real. Though there’s some of the usual teen hijinks where relationships get complicated and often go bad, you won’t find a lot of melodramatic teen angst that’s present just for the purpose of providing drama. I got sucked into the story right away, and by the end I was cheering on the characters. I felt their pain, and I was desperately hoping that everything would turn out all right.
Now if you’re looking into buying this book for your Teen, be aware that there is mention of sex and violence—a few times. The story doesn’t give a blow-by-blow account of anything, but there are certainly some moments that aren’t going to be appropriate for young teens. This is definitely geared more towards the 16-20 crowd. That being said… it’s a conversation starter. The characters deal with issues like infidelity, teen motherhood, disabilities, alcohol use, PTSD, and disabilities. There are some pretty heavy topics—but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
I’d certainly recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a solid, well-written YA Romance. This isn’t one of those books that relies on insta-lust to pull the romance through—this is honest, sometimes less than perfect love despite adversity, and it’s going on my keeper shelf.