Thursday, January 15, 2015

Review: 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 3rd, 2015
*eARC kindly provided by Macmillan Children's Publishing Group via NetGalley*

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.


My Review!
I think books like this need to be written. I don't much about the military, because I have no family in it. My cousin did a tour, but other than that, there have only been a few distant relatives fighting the war. But I hear about PTSD all the time; I hear about the nightmares and personality changes. However, what I don't hear about is it happening to young adults, kids who are barely out of high school. Kids who sign up to fight a war and come back broken and damaged beyond repair. We think about PTSD in terms of veterans. But what we don't think about is how old they are when the war scars them.

Heather Demetrios didn't shy away from anything in this novel, and I loved that. I loved that this was gritty and realistic and dark and sad and hopeful and passionate and genuine. Basically, I felt all the emotions and then some. I laughed, I swooned, I cried. I wanted to reach into the book and give Josh a hug, and at the same time I wanted to punch him for being a douche. If an author can do this to me, make me feel everything deeply, can break my heart and put it back together again by the end, then they've done their job.


I loved the main characters. Sky was just plain awesome. On the outside, she's calm and cool and collected. But underneath, she's dying to break free and fly far, far away. She dreams of a life away from this place that sucks you dry and she continues to hold onto that even through everything. Even when she just wants to, and almost does, give up that dream. I loved how strong she was, how caring and forgiving. She hasn't had an easy life, with a mother who can't be bothered to be the parent and pain in her heart for the father she lost too early. Add in a guy who makes her question herself and who has the power to break her heart completely, and Sky spends her summer wondering if leaving is the right choice. But she's strong and determined to live the life she wants. And I'm glad, so glad that no one took that away from her.


Josh's chapters slayed me. Sliced open my heart and left it bleeding in a pile of pain. They were so raw and intense and utterly harsh. They read like a diary, little snippets of how he's coping with what happened in the war and what he's feeling now that he's home. Home. A foreign concept to him, since all he can think of and all he wants is to be across the seas with his brothers. He doesn't know how to be normal. He doesn't know how to want anything different. And he certainly doesn't know how to cope with the guilt of being the survivor. Josh makes a lot of mistakes; he does some things that are hard to swallow. But all I wanted was for him to find that something that makes him want to live again. His grief and pain aren't an excuse for him; they're just there. It's his life. And he's forced to face all of it throughout this book.


Their relationship was absolutely beautiful. I think they brought out the best in each other. They made each other stronger. Sure, there were moments of heartbreak and angst, anger and regret. But their romance gave them both a passion that they hadn't been feeling in years. It was sweet and genuine, the slow buildup and hesitant interactions of a first love. I loved that Josh found in Sky a reason to want to heal. And I loved that Sky felt so strongly for him that she could forgive him for hurting her. It gave them a level of maturity and depth that you don't find often in YA romance.


I loved all of the secondary characters. Well, most of them. I adored Sky's two best friends, Chris and Dylan. The trio were hilarious together, and I loved how their friendship was a strong element in this story. I was hoping for a bit more when it came to Josh and his family; I would have loved more from his brother, Blake. He had so many layers, and I wish Josh had had more support from him and his family. I also adored Marge, their boss at Paradise. She definitely brought in some wisdom when the two main characters didn't know what to do. She was like another parent, and even more so because she showed them that she cared.


The plot focused on Sky and Josh and their blossoming romance. It was just so realistic and genuine and felt like a real-life story. It was about two kids who had to grow up too fast in a small town that suffocated them. It was about a girl who wanted space to fly and follow her dreams. It was about a guy who lost more than his leg in a war that still haunts to this day. It was about strength and healing and life and loss. It was about two characters who found in each other a love that made everything seem possible. 


I'll Meet You There is the type of story that will stick with you long after you've read it. It's one of those books that will impact people, and I hope it touches many, many hearts. Because even if we don't want to think about it, the war has cost us so much and there are people out there who have given up everything for it. Stories like this need to be written, and the kids who are like Josh, who come home broken and bruised and bleeding, who don't know what it's like to dream and to hope anymore, need our help. I know this book wasn't written for the sole purpose of bringing awareness to the issue, but I'm glad it is. Because we can't forget about the Joshes of the world.



RATING:
4.5 Paw Prints!

6 comments:

  1. It's official. You and Shannon have convinced me. I'm going to see if it's at the library...NO IT'S NOT POOP. Not yet at least. But yeah, this will probably destroy me, I just feel it. The cover itself even portrays this gritty, genuine feel. I DON'T KNOW IF I WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT

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    1. That's okay. If you pre-order, you'll get a letter from Josh. (I mean, trust me, you really want it). :P This book destroyed me, but in the best possible way. AND YOU WILL BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT. I MEAN YOU'VE READ ATBP. You just might have to wait a bit before you read this one. :P

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  2. Wonderful review, Holly! I completely agree with everything. I wish there was more than 5 stars I could give it. Loved the characters, LOVED the romance, loved the setting. You're definitely right - Josh and Sky made each other better people, and that's the type of relationship I can get behind and swoon over.
    I hope Heather keeps writing books just like this one. :)

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    1. Everything about it was basically perfection! Loved it all. And I just love the types of relationships between people like Josh and Sky. It's definitely a romance I can swoon over.

      Me too! Though, my heart might be completely shattered and ruined for other books if she keeps writing these. Haha. :) Thanks Danielle!

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