My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Publication Date: February 3rd 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Point of View: 1st Person & Alternative
Recommended Age: 13+
Genres & Themes: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Military, Disability, Family, Friendship, Real Life Matters
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.
It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages—no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered.
How I love this quote…
Unlike what I first thought, this wasn’t the kind of read that will take you boxes and boxes of Kleenex to get through. But then again, I didn’t cry while reading The Fault in Our Stars so, perhaps – perhaps – it is just me that has a heart made of stone or the illusion of it, when picking a book full of drama up. But I was actually surprised by the lack of necessity to shed a tear; I was expecting this story to transform me into a helpless cry-baby creature – because MILITARY. There’s something about this subject that makes me feel so sad and melancholic. I can’t even describe you the wreck that I was after finishing Dear John. I loved it but nevermore. Nevermore. That’s why I couldn’t bring myself to buy a physical copy of it… I don’t even know how I survived the movie.
Well, I unconsciously drifted off topic (this book) so let’s slowly return to I’ll Meet You There. It was clear, after reading the author’s note, at the end of the story, that she did a throughout, or so, research on life after war, physiological war damages on human beings, how war can change a person, and so on. And there were buckets of information but, since Josh rarely talked about his time at war and kept all painful and rough memories secluded, I couldn’t envision the schedule he followed daily back in Afghanistan. He couldn’t have just… fought non-stop during the day (or night?). Maybe this is me getting too deep into the subject, something the author’s didn’t plan on doing, but I’m quite curious. I guess I’ll have to make a little research or read one of the books she recommended.
The characterization – even for the less important characters – was splendid! What frustrated me though was seeing how Josh let himself appear as a player and selfish person when, obviously, his chapters showed us a part of him that was completely different! And he knew what people thought of him and didn’t even care. He only cared about Skylar’s opinion and, even then, he messed up quite a few times with her. The ending is easy to predict, because YA + contemporary romance (you know how it goes), but what I liked was that both characters focused on themselves as human beings and what they wanted, needed, and didn’t skip steps. Slow-burn and angst in abundance!
If you enjoy realistic fiction books dealing with real life problems and powerful themes, such as forgiveness, acceptance, family, friendship and what it truly means to love someone, then don’t hesitate to grab a copy of this novel!