Title: I’ll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Synopsis: If 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 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 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 Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.
If you’re looking for a well-done contemporary look no further because I’ll Meet You There hits all the right marks. Fifty pages in and I knew I was going to love this story and I loved it even more by the end. It takes a lot for me to enjoy a contemporary but this one just showed the right amount of dept and dimension to still be Summer-friendly yet tugs at the heart strings.
Our main character is Skylar ‘Sky’, a girl from a very poor town where she lives in a dilapidated trailer with her depressed Mom. Our story begins with us learning about Creek View, CA. A tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town where everyone is poor as dirt and hardly anyone gets out of the town. Sky however wants something more, she wants her full scholarship to San Francisco and just get the hell out of dodge and be an artist. That’s when things start to unravel. Her old co-worker and friend, Josh comes back from Afghanistan. At age 19 he’s lost his leg and suffering from PTSD at the same time her Mom looses her job and falls into a depression leaving all responsibility on Sky’s shoulders. With hardly any money for rent and no money for food Sky spends the Summer trying to make extra money and growing closer to the Marine who is a shadow of the carefree ladies man he used to be.
I have to say that I loved LOVED this story. This story is filled with social critique but it’s also beautiful and rich, I can almost see this as a artsy movie with fantastic cinematography of the California desert.
The relationship between Sky and Josh develops slowly, blooming with time and really pulls you in and I just love when books take their time showing how love grows from friendship. Yet it’s not only about love it’s about Josh’s experiences in the war and the people he has lost, how alone and adrift he is. Sky’s life falling apart and Demetrios doesn’t pull any punches with poverty. There’s days Sky doesn’t have food to eat, there’s days when she wonders what it would be like to be a middle-class kid who has cars with air condition. In Joshua’s side his trauma is not swept under the rug, it’s actually not cured at all by the end of the book and it’s realistic because PTSD doesn’t go away over a Summer.
I don’t want to say more because it is a rare treat to read a well done contemporary. I highly recommend it. Also, this reads like New Adult rather than YA but it’s very YA friendly with serious hard-hitting subjects that adults will also appreciate. A very enjoyable read.