Published by Henry Holt & Co (BYR) on February 3, 2015
*This book was provided by the Publisher for review. No compensation was provided and all opinions are strictly my own.
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.
Just finished and I still have no idea how to feel. I’ll Meet You There is one that impacts you that’s for damn sure. It feels so…incomplete, but at the same time, it’s perfect.
Where do I even begin?
The story is very simple, very slow-placed, and very character driven. Some people can be turned off by this, but I wasn’t because I really loved the characters and I wanted to know their story. EVERY. SINGLE. DETAIL. and that’s what I fucking got. It was wonderful.
The characters are so real. There were times where I wanted to wring their necks. There were some scenes toward the end when I just went:
But the thing is, these characters aren’t flawless. They aren’t perfect. They’re as real as you can possibly get from a novel. Obviously, I’m not going to agree with all of their choices, but I can appreciate that they sound and act like real people who make mistakes.
Skylar is just trying to enjoy her last summer before college (and yes, this 400-page book only spans 3 months of summer) working at the Paradise motel. She’s been scrounging for money ever since her father’s drunk-driving death and her mother’s recent unemployment. There’s one point where she only eats a cracker for the whole day. Meanwhile, it’s set in cute little small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business. So when Josh gets back from the war with a missing limb, everyone throws him a big party for his return.
But Josh isn’t the same party guy any more. War will do that to you. Losing a leg will do that to you and he really doesn’t know where he’s going in life or if he even wants to go on.
This novel gets pretty deep as it delves into issues like poverty, alcoholism, loss, and suicidal tendencies. There’s just the right amount of angst and I think what really came together for me was that this isn’t a full romance novel. In fact, I’d say it’s about 10% romance–possibly even less. There are about two kissing scenes and that’s it.
I love it because it focuses on each character as an individual…they focus on themselves and love doesn’t triumph over their lives. THIS IS REALISTIC FICTION ALL THE WAY, PEOPLE.
The characterization was done so well and with absolute purpose. There were so many times I teared up and I just felt too much from Josh. I felt like I knew him. His chapters were scarce and only a page or two long, but fuck…they told so much. SO MUCH. And spectacular male POV in my opinion (that’s usually so hard for women to get right).
The things that I didn’t like so much but forgave:
-The super slow pace (It was fine because it was so realistic, slow is how life is! Everything happens with time!)
-Some of the stylistic writing choices in the regular chapters (not Josh’s, I loved all of his)
-Every homosexual diss made my Josh (I told you…imperfections man, they are there)
-Sky’s irrational behavior toward the end (kind of inconsistent with her whole good-girl vibe and not a good enough reason for her to suddenly spiral down)
-The ending (I don’t know why, but I feel like I’m missing something. Maybe that was the point. Maybe I’m supposed to feel like the story is still being written, some books have that type of mentality at the end)
Overall: If you like realism with poverty and war as a backdrop–that will kick you in the feels–then this is the book for you.
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