I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Macmillan
Published on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Young Adult
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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.
An emotional yet sweet and ultimately uplifting story featuring a strong-willed girl battling against her life’s circumstances, and a wounded Marine returned from war struggling to find his place in life, and their amazing journey together.
Skylar has spent her life dreaming of escaping her home in a deadbeat town in the middle of central California. She and her mother struggle to make ends meet, and although she has two amazing best friends, there is nothing she wants more than to leave and go to College in San Francisco.
It was like the whole town was swimming in failure, but no one realized they were drowning … Everything I never, ever wanted to be.
Josh – former town party boy / arrogant manwhore is now a Marine who has returned home from Afghanistan minus a leg and suffering from PTSD following a tragic bomb blast. While on the surface he appears to be coping ok, in reality he is suffering with everything that happened to him overseas, and is struggling to find his place back in his dead-end home town.
I should be out there with them. I’m a fucking waste of space here.
Sky and Josh both worked at the same quirky, road-side motel prior to his deployment, so they know each other but were never what you would call friends. But his return to town sees him back at his old job, and the two of them are suddenly in close proximity again and an unexpected, and charmingly flirty, friendship soon starts to develop.
“Nice panties,” he said.
“Turn around,” I snapped.
He raised his hands in the air and flipped on his back. “You need to learn how to take a compliment. Besides,” he added, “I’ve seen a lot less on a girl, believe me.”
“Yes, Josh, everyone in Creek View is well aware of your sexcapades.”
He snickered. “Sexcapades. I like it.”
But when Skylar’s home life starts to fall apart, it puts her plans for her future in jeopardy. And the closer she gets to Josh, the more complicated things between them seem to get as his past and her future clash with their growing feelings, and create all sorts of complications.
I really loved this book. It’s essentially three stories blended into one – Sky’s story, Josh’s story and Sky and Josh’s story together. There’s a lot of heavy issues touched on – devastating hardship, alcoholism, family issues, and the helplessness and hopelessness that both characters experience. It’s all portrayed with a lot of heart, and you really feel for the characters and all that they are trying to overcome. And of course Josh’s experiences overseas have impacted him profoundly, and his issues of grief, loss and PTSD are heartbreaking, but are also handled beautifully.
People were like collages – no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.
Sky and Josh’s relationship develops beautifully. Their friendship is easy, with a great mix of fun, banter, and poignant moments as they open up to each other. And it evolves really naturally into something more as their attraction to each other slowly grows into a love story which is sweet but achingly angsty.
What am I supposed to do when I’m bad for the one good thing in my life?
Yes, it’s frustrating, but it’s realistic to the situation and it’s handled really well. Mistakes are made, and at times it’s devastating to watch, but the way it all played out was fantastic (including an epic smackdown that was very much deserved and had me cheering loudly!). The romance is there but it’s more the emotional side of things, and not the actual ‘being together’ part of a relationship, and there are no sex scenes. But I didn’t miss it at all, I thought what was there was perfect for direction of the story, and perfect for Sky and Josh.
The story is told primarily from Sky’s POV, but we also get Josh’s perspective (which I particularly loved), and the two POVs tie together beautifully to give us the complete picture of what is going on. While Sky and Josh are open and honest with each other, they still keep some thoughts and feelings to themselves, and I loved getting to see exactly what they were feeling, and the extent of their vulnerability with all that they are going through. It definitely helped me deal with the angst which otherwise would have infuriated me.
It’s all resolved really well, and of course there is a HEA, but I thought that the ending was really abrupt. For me, there was too much was left unfinished and I needed to see more. How did Sky adapt to life in the city? What happened to Josh? Did he stay in the marines? Did he follow Sky to San Francisco? What does their life together even look like????? . I wonder whether Heather Demetrios intends to write another book in the series because there’s a really great cast of supporting characters, and I’d love the opportunity to check in with them again – particularly Sky’s best friend, Chris. He is fantastic, and his story seems to be begging to be told!
Overall, I loved it. I loved both Sky and Josh and loved watching their journeys. The book is slow-paced, which fits the mood of the story perfectly, it’s beautifully written and is both heart-breaking and heart-warming, with lots of emotion and a beautiful romance. I read it in one sitting, not wanting to put it down. I’ll definitely be looking for more of this author’s work.
4 stars (an epilogue would have bumped it up to 4.5)