I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Title: I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Source: ARC received from Publisher in exchange for honest review (thank you Macmillan!)

Summary from Goodreads:
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 am a little speechless after reading this book. It made me feel so many things.

I feel sadness for the Josh and Skylars of the world. I feel wonder that some people can overcome such bleak odds. I feel inspired by their perserverance. I feel anger that war is taking or wounding so many lives. I feel hateful that there are some really shitty people in the world. I feel hopeful that there are some really selfless people in the world. I feel in awe of the power of friendship and forgiveness. I feel grateful for all of the opportunities that were afforded me. I feel ashamed that I take them for granted. I feel happy that Josh and Skylar were able to find some peace in each other. I FEEL.

This book was not an easy read. Skylar is weeks away from getting everything she worked so hard for when her mother starts falling apart. Now she can't decide whether to stay and take care of her or to finally take care of herself. Meanwhile, Josh recently returned from war but not before a bomb claimed his leg and his friend. He is plagued by his guilt, haunted by the war, and struggles to adjust to his new reality. To Skylar, Josh is steady ground. Someone who will look out for her. Someone that makes her feel special. To Josh, Skylar is quiet. Someone who eases the noise in his head and the nightmares in his sleep. Someone who doesn't expect him to be who he once was.

I loved the pull between these two characters. Their romance was slow building. They were once friends but had to redefine that friendship after two years apart and lots of changes. I love how they were exactly what they needed each other to be. Skylar was so so good with Josh - patient and understanding, but most importantly, normal. She didn't fixate on his leg or his limitations. And I loved how protective Josh was of Skylar. When Josh said "I've got you" to Skylar I nearly cried.  It was so nice for someone to finally take care of her for a change. Things weren't easy between them, and never would be as is often the case with wounded soldiers, but it was those ups and downs that made this relationship so damn moving.

There were many things about this book that were well done - ancillary characters and storylines - but it was Skylar and Josh's story that made it so powerful. And it hit me so hard. I don't know if it's the fact that this is reality for so many people or what but it left its mark on me. I implore everyone to read it. 

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