Monday, January 12, 2015

Title: I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Series: stand-alone
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

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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.

For me, it's always hardest to review a book I absolutely loved because there's practically no adequate way to express my feels. This is the third novel I've read by Heather Demetrios, but it is by far my very most favorite. It's so raw and earnest and impassioned, and it left me with all the feels. I'm not as new to contemporary novels as I once was, but I am picky as hell, even now. But my finicky, romance-loving heart adored this novel, and I'm pretty sure most everyone who reads it will feel the same way.

The characters in I'll Meet You There are so flawed, so perfectly imperfect. And even if I hadn't shared similar circumstances, I would still have found them easy to relate to and care for. Living in a small town, far from civilization, can really suck. You make do and do what you have to in order to survive and hopefully one day leave that dreary existence. Or you don't. And that's what these characters face, what they've been facing and hoping for practically all their lives. Mistakes are made along the way, but it's hard to fault the characters for them when you know how much of an effort they're putting in to make it out of there.
“I loved taking these pieces and making them part of a whole, giving them a place to belong. More beautiful than when they started.”
I love that we don't just get to know the characters through their narration and dialogue, but also through their interactions with friends, each other, and in Skylar's case, her art. She creates these beautiful collages from scraps of paper that make up her life, and it's her ticket out of Creek View. Josh is still trying to decide where his future is headed, whether it's back to the Marines he goes or if the world holds something more for him. His struggle is seen through short snippets of his thoughts in between Sky's chapters, and these are some of the most raw, heartfelt sections of the least they were for me.

These two characters barely knew one another before this summer, but once Josh returns to Creek View, it's obvious he's a different person than when he left. He attempts to maintain the bravado of his cocksure youth, but it's taking a toll on him, and the only one who doesn't seem to expect something from him is Skylar. The two develop a comfortable friendship as they work together at the motel, but it's obvious that something more is growing between them, and it was one of the most poignant, beautiful, and utterly realistic relationships I've read in YA. Not to mention sexy.
“The Josh I grew up around, with two legs and an ego that couldn’t fit through the door? I didn’t love him. I didn’t even always like him.” One corner of his mouth turned up. “This is who you are. The real you.” I rested my forehead against his. “And I want you so fucking bad.”
From a distance, this story reminded me of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, with the flawed love interest who'd recently returned from a stint in the military overseas and was dealing with some really difficult stuff as a result. But I think it's the author's emotional attachment to her story that makes I'll Meet You There that much better. Not saying Doller didn't have the same attachment, just that it shone brighter from these pages as Demetrios laid her characters' hearts bare. Plus, there are the acknowledgements and author's notes that made it all the more evident how special this story was to Demetrios. Still, if you enjoyed Something Like Normal, you'll love this story...and the opposite holds true, as well.

I'll Meet You There was an emotional read, and it was genuinely difficult to read at times, especially during those portions Josh was narrating, but the end result is a story that I'll hold as a favorite for a long time to come. This review doesn't even begin to do the book justice, but it's a start.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

When she's not traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, Heather Demetrios lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real, which Publisher's Weekly calls “[An] addictive yet thoughtful debut” about reality TV stardom. She is the author of EXQUISITE CAPTIVE, a smoldering fantasy about jinn in Los Angeles and what Kirkus called in its starred review "an intoxicating, richly realized realm of magic, politics, spirituality and history" (#1 in the DARK CARAVAN CYCLE). She is also the author of the upcoming I’ll Meet You There (Winter 2015). I’ll Meet You There is a love story about a young combat veteran and a girl trapped in their small town, both struggling to escape the war at home. Heather is the founder of Live Your What, an organization dedicated to fostering passion in people of all ages and creating writing opportunities for underserved youth. She is proud to have an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. You can always find her on Twitter (@HDemetrios), ogling the military dogs she wants to adopt (but can’t because her NYC apartment is way too small). Find out more about Heather and her other books at and

Find Heather:

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  1. This sounds so good. The issue i have with most ya and romance is the romance and I love it when ones comes out that starts as friendship and just leads to the romance. It sweet and yes it can still be sexy. I can't wait to read this one. great review.

  2. Inadequacy. Yeah. I can relate. I've spent an entire weekend writing a review for such a book. Le sigh.

  3. I loved this book so much!! I too loved the perfectly imperfect characters and how the romance develops so well. I really liked the supporting characters and that little motel and her art and everything. Lovely review!!

  4. *Excited* I have this one coming up to read. I just skimmed your review but so happy to hear you loved it.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  5. I want to read this book so much! I can't wait for it to come out. I still have yet to read a book written by Heather Demetrios, but, she's definitely high on my priority list and I hope to read them all very soon.
    As for I'll Meet You There goes, I have only seen awesome reviews about it, which makes me even more excited. Great review Jen!

    Anatea @ Anatea's Bookshelf


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