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

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A heart-breaking look at love, loss, and finding your own place in the world are at the center of Heather Demetrios‘ gorgeous new YA novel, I’ll Meet You There. 

i'll meet you there cover HRIf 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’ll Meet You There is a book that has stuck with me long after finishing the last page. I lingered in the world of Creek View, just as Josh and Skylar lingered in my mind … for days, even weeks. Demetrios has crafted a truly compelling novel, with these intertwining stories about two people trying to figure out where they fit into the world and how to make their mark. There is loss and heartbreak, but also hope and strength and love.

But as much as Josh and Skylar are so central to the story, so, too, is Creek View itself — the town that brings them together. In many ways, Creek View is perhaps the most important “character” of the book.

I’ve driven by and through countless towns like Creek View in California’s Central Valley. I remember always thinking about what kind of people lived in these blink-and-you’ll-miss-it towns along long stretches of highway, with miles between it and anything significant.

Demetrios has beautifully captured the unique qualities of one such town; it’s isolation, and all the beauty and difficulties that entails. And she has beautifully illustrated a snapshot into the world of this town, and the people that inhabit it. They are beautiful and conflicted and troubled and loving, and so fully realized. Not just Josh and Skylar — but the friends and family members who come in and out of their lives.

Richly detailed and fully-wrought, I’ll Meet You There is a powerful story about love and loss, and how sometimes you must face the darkness head-on to come out in the light.

I’ll Meet You There is in stores now.

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