Monday, November 9, 2015

Book Review: I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Title: I'll Meet You There
Author: Heather Demetrios
Published: February 3, 2015 by Henry Holt (Macmillan)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: 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'm not a big contemporary fan. And I'm even less of a fan of romances. Despite seeing all the rave reviews about this book when it came out and people trying to sell it to me as one of their favorite contemporary reads I didn't have much interest. Bur I'm going the local FYA Book Club and this is their November read. So I picked it up and honestly, I was pleasantly surprised. But I'll Meet You There is that rare contemporary romance that really impressed me.

Maybe that was because the characters were so relateable. As a small town girl who always wanted to get out into the wider world I can absolutely relate to Sky and her desire to leave Creek View behind. But I can also relate to her struggle with actually leaving. It's this really subtle conflict and inner turmoil that makes Sky so interesting and complex while making the book so engaging. And in general, Sky is just a really interesting and likeable character. She is the perfect balance of strength and vulnerability. She's independent without seeming fake, she's tough but sensitive, she's just so real. And Josh too was so complex and relateable. Throughout the book you get a few peaks into his head where you get to know him and his struggle better. He had his own demons to deal with and I felt just as invested in his happiness. There are also lots of interesting secondary characters including the MC's families, Skylar's friends, and Marge the owner of the motel who I really liked. The book was full of quirky and engaging characters that felt so realistic.

A lot of why I don't enjoy contemporary romances is because of well, the romance. I've mentioned before how I'm romancephobic, so it's hard to please me in the love department. But I did enjoy the relationship here. Maybe the romance worked because it was a rally great slowburn.  At the beginning of the book I could understand why the characters has a connection, they obviously liked each other and had a history of friendship. But that was all it was for me, and frankly them. But as the book developed the crush and romantic feelings grew so strong that it was almost painful. About halfway through the book I just wanted to smoosh their faces together. And that feeling went on honestly for most of the rest of the book. They were just so good together despite their vulnerabilities. Or maybe because of them. And what I liked about it was that it wasn't perfect. It was messy and they argued and they tried to get together and it didn't work. It again, just felt so true to life.

I also really liked the setting of this book. Creek View, California is definitely an interesting place. Heather does a great job of describing the town in a visually interesting way. In a way where it feels bleak but also charming. From the crappy motel that Sky works at, to the one restaurant in town, to the trailer park she lives in. It all jumps off the pages in a cinematic way. Sometimes stories about small town life can seem cliche but this never did. The town in general came alive. I'm not sure if it was the people or that you could feel the characters connection to it but it seemed like the kind of places you wanted to visit but would not want to stay too long. It felt like a really interesting place and like the perfect location to tell this kind of story.

There is just so much to like about this book. At it's heart it's a great character-driven story. I loved seeing both Skylar and Josh develop and grown throughout the book both together and separately. They both had great character development and it made the book so engaging. This book is more on the serious side of things but it still worked really well. One of my criticisms about contemporary YA is that it often seems to be sad for the sake of being sad. Or too serious and overly-dramatic. I like serious, I'm okay with sad, but I think you can write a sad and serious book without forcing the subject and that's what I'll Meet You There did. There are a lot of issues about family, life, society, war covered here and it never felt forced or overwhelming. It was sentimental and affecting but it wasn't all-consuming. I liked that.

I give I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios 9.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Buy. I know by the fact that people freaked out on my via all forms of social media when I said I was reading this book that it is beloved. Now after reading it I can see why. It's an engrossing read with realistic and relateable characters. A must read whether you are a contemporary fan or not. If you are looking for a good book with great characters who are far from perfect pick this up.

Have you read I'll Meet You There? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. Those Glee GIFs are incredibly on point! I read this one awhile back and it reminded me a lot of Something Like Normal by Trish Doller. Yes, I agree- this was so realistic and relatable. Sky and Josh were great characters and I loved their growth too. :)

    1. Haha, thanks. I usually try way too hard to have my gifs be on point. Maybe I'll have to read Something Like Notmal then.

  2. YAY!! So happy to see that you loved it Cassi!! You know we're pretty much on the same boat when it comes to contemporaries and romance, so I was pretty confident you'll love this one since I did! I cried so much with this damned book!

    1. Yes! So many people told me that I would love it even if I don't live contemporary romances. They were totally right. I cried so much too! It was great and terrible!