Review: I’ll Meet You There, Heather Demetrios

Before heading into this, I have to give a special mention to Melissa, the one who recommended me this book day and night until I read it. I can’t thank her enough – I’ll Meet You There was everything I expected it to be and more. It was the kind of book that make my heart grow and swell and explode inside my chest as I read and that, my friends, definitely is the sign of a great story.

WELL-SHAPED MAIN CHARACTERS TO ROOT FOR

“But I knew it was too much to wish that Creek View would be wiped off the face of the earth forever. The other towns needed us: you can’t have the light without the dark, right? Maybe our darkness was necessary for other people to see their light.”

💭

I’ll Meet You There is the story of Skylar, eager to escape her small California town to San Francisco, her trailer park, her life as it is right now. I’ll Meet You There is the story of Josh, back to that same Californian small town from Afghanistan after serving as a Marine, broken both physically and mentally. I’ll Meet You There is the story of the two of them as their lives meet again, intertwine in a way none of them imagined it to.
Like in most of young adult contemporaries, the characters are the one making the story: this is not a fast-paced, breathtaking or mysterious, intriguing story, this is a story about life, about its characters and their way of going through life as they did not imagine to. If the characters are the ones at the heart of the book, they better be strong and well-shaped and boy, here, they were everything I expected them to be.

“Maybe all those years when Josh was running around town, acting like an idiot, he was just trying to find a way to escape. Maybe that was what all of us were doing, in our different ways.”

Skylar was such a complex, three-dimensional character: as the story goes on, I could relate to her and her feeling of wanting more than this small town life, this feeling of wanting to grow up, to escape, to discover the world and do more, this feeling of not exactly fitting in this small town canvas with all of the other people, like they were all just drawn in perfectly and she is standing at the edge of the canvas, not quite finding her place. As the story goes on, we find out so much about Skylar’s character, her feelings, her personality, her fears and ambitions: everything was well-shaped, realistically and without info-dumps: we could discover her as the story went on, which is the best way to get and absorb a character’s personality completely.
On the other hand, we have Josh, the other main character of this book. If the book is mostly narrated from Skylar’s point of view, Josh has a couple of short, quick chapters definitely helping us grasp his personality. It’s raw, it’s heartbreaking, it’s a messed-up world and jumble of thoughts as he is trying to get through this new part of his life, stuck at home while his friends are still out there fighting, trying to cope with everything that had happened to him out there, and so on.

“I don’t really know what it means to move on, but lately, with Sky, I’m starting to feel like I want to because when I look at her, I don’t see you or the war or any of the shit in my head. I just see her, and it’s like suddenly I can breathe again after holding my breath for so long.”

Having lost his own leg, having PTSD, we get to read his own side of the story, feel his pain and everything that had happened to him. If Josh’s behavior is, at times, a bit curious and annoying, given everything that had happened to him and thanks to these chapters inside of his mind, we are getting so much more from him and making this character jump off the page realistically.

COMPLEX, SWOON-WORTHY AND HEARTBREAKING RELATIONSHIPS

💭

Something I love about contemporaries is how they are able to, by talking about different characters in different situations, feel like our lives, make us relate to the feelings, make us think about what’s actually going on in our minds and in our world. I’ll Meet You There manages to do that perfectly.
The relationships in this story are all complex and flawed, but in a perfect way. Skylar and Josh’s relationship is complicated: from almost strangers after not having seen each other for years, to friends again, to something more, everything develops slowly, naturally and in such a great way that I couldn’t help but swoon.

“My life was being planned in sentences that started with ‘We’ instead of ‘I’, yet it felt like the most natural transition in the world.”

Yet, if it seems to be at the heart of the story, the romantic relationship isn’t everything in this book: we get a fantastic glimpse of well-thought friendships between Skylar and her friends as they struggle to spend their last summer together, both thinking about the future, about escaping, both struggling between enjoying their last moments together and thinking about what will become of their friendship next. The feeling of moving away, moving on, changing lives and leaving all you’ve ever known in this hard, bittersweet moment you’re going to college is perfectly painted here in a relatable way and something that makes us think – or at least, made me think – about my own departure to college. It really helped that, as much as the main character, Skylar’s friends were well-developed, each with their own struggles, needs and wants out of life.
Family relationships are also a heavy subject in this book: having lost her dad, Skylar lives with her mother in the small trailer park and life is far from being perfect. As her mother deals with depression, struggles with keeping her own job and overall just to lead her life the right way, Skylar finds herself at crossroads more than once with her own mother. Both have such an ups-and-downs, complicated relationship that was heartbreaking, raw, realistic, just like the rest of the relationships in this book.

OVERALL

I really want to use this comparison to end my review, because it feels so true: in this book, Skylar’s fond of doing collage and I loved the metaphor for it in the story. Everything in this life, in this story, is like a collage. Broken, then put together again. Even if it’s not as perfect as it used to be, everything can feel complete again.

I’ll Meet You There was such a lovely book, with complex relationships, great character development. It wasn’t perfect but it was quite amazing and most definitely one I’d recommend to everyone. So, if you’re a fan of the genre, do yourself a favour and add this to your TBR right away.

Final rating:  4 drops!

 Do you want to read I’ll Meet You There? Share your thoughts in comments!


Heather Demetrios, I’ll Meet You There,  Published by Henry Holt and Co, February 3rd 2015.

 goodreads-badge-add-plus-fad3b68d35050280ea55d50f17c654b5

If 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 separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach.

Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg 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 Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper.

Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

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Book blogger, travel blogger, writer. 📚 |🌍 | 💞 Writing & Communications Graduate. French. Living on love, wanderlust and ya books.

39 thoughts on “Review: I’ll Meet You There, Heather Demetrios

  1. Great review for this book Marie. 🙂 ❤ I've heard a lot about I'll Meet You There from Melissa as well and I definitely definitely need to add it to my to-read list and get around to it very soon as well, your review has just made me determined to get around to it even more. 😀
    Skylar and Josh sound like incredible characters, in fact it sounds like this book is filled with incredible and well-developed characters. I haven't read a book that features a character with a physical disability so I think that must have been an interesting subject for Heather Demetrios to explore. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Beth! ❤ I hope you'll be able to read that one soon, it's such an incredible one. I thought the characters were really well fleshed-out and loved that it dealt with quite a difficult subject; It was different from the usual YA contemporary for sure! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved I’ll Meet You There when I read it last year! I feel like not nearly enough people have read this fantastic book. It was so heartbreakingly beautiful to me, and absolutely needs more hype. Skylar and Josh are the perfect pair and the last 50 pages or so were my favorite because we delve SO deep into their respective characters. Stunning review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so glad you loved that one as well! I agree – I don’t feel like enough people know about this book and the beauty of it. YES! I loved how deep we got to know the characters and their struggles and everything. Thank you so, so much Jordyn! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ooh, this sounds so interesting! I think I saw a tiny bit of your thoughts in your wrap-up and instantly looked forward to reading your review. 😛 This sounds like a really good book! It’s also so fascinating to read about books with men from war — you get to see all the heartbreaking effects. ❤ And yay for good relationships! I'm tired of insta-love or poorly developed romances. XD I LOVE all the quotes you put in the review — it makes me want to read this even more! 😛 Awesome review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw thank you so, so much May! ❤ I hope you'll be able to read that one soon. It's so good and refreshing to read a relationship that really develops with each page and each of their interations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d vaguely heard about this book, but I’m definitely sold now. Every time I start to get bored of non-queer contemporaries, a book like this comes a long that renews my faith, haha. I’m going to add this to my TBR for some point in the future because it definitely sounds like one that I’d enjoy.

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  5. This sounds like a pretty emotional read with a swoon worthy romance. I have this book in my tbr but I never gotten around to read it yet. May be I’ll give it a shot after reading bad romance. Great review! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhhhh!! This is such a nice review!!! I’ve had this book on my tbr for f-o-r-e-v-e-r and this review definitely rekindled my interest in it! And I’m so glad it has good relationships !! Honestly, characters make or break the book for me and I’m glad that there are complex relationships in this book that don’t just revolve around romance !! Great review, and I’m so excited to read!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I remember seeing this around somewhere, so I’m glad to hear it’s good. I absolutely LOVE meaningful relationships, so I might check this out just for that reason alone! Plus, well-developed characters are the BEST. I’m glad you liked this. Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yay, I’m glad you want to check this out! It was such a fantastic book and if you like meaningful, well-developed relationships, I don’t think you will be disappointed. Thank you so much, Lenna! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve seen this book around a couple of times now but I never really checked what it was about until now. This was such a great review, Marie, and it makes me want to pick it up (even though we both know it won’t happen anytime soon because of reasons). Still, I loved reading about what you thought and complex and flawed is something that instantly sparks my interest in characters and their relationship. I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you, Kat! I really hope you’ll remember to pick it up when you’ll have more time and will be able to buy it. I’ll make sure to remind you 😀 It was such a great book ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Well, if this review doesn’t make me want to stop everything I’m doing right now and read this, I don’t know what will! This is a GREAT review, Marie! I haven’t heard of this book prior to today, but it’s going on my TBR. I completely agree with you that contemporaries are brilliant because they challenge us to view our own lives in different ways– it’s so easy to relate and find a message in the book which feels like it was written just for you. However, I have struggled to find that in my contemporaries lately. Perhaps this is just what I need?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH, Jackie, thank you! Your words mean everything to me. When I really like a book, I want to do it justice but I’m always scared not to in my reviews. I’m glad you wanted to add this to your TBR! ❤
      I hope that this book will be what you need and that you will love it ❤

      Like

  10. Stories about life are so important, I don’t read many of them, but they have all taught me something, and it is so true that they need beautiful and well-crafted characters for the story to become alive.
    Wow, the characterization sounds amazing! I do know the feeling of being too much for your place, of wanting more and feeling trapped. It looks like the author puts her finger right where it hurts and drew her story well! Brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s definitely it – the author found the right way to talk about this particular issue and the characterization was incredible and oh, so relatable. I hope you’ll want to give this one a chance my sweechie! Thank you so much ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I am so, SO glad that you ended up enjoying this, Marie! I loved how different and thought-provoking it was – fluffy contemporaries have their place, but it’s books like this that tend to really stay with me, personally. Like you said, it might not be perfect but for me it did a lot of things right, and I’m super excited for Demetrios’s next work. Have you read any of her other stuff?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thank you so much, Reg! I’m happy you read and enjoyed this book just as much ❤ I haven't read anything else by the author just yet, but I'm looking forward to it! Did you read anything else? Any recommendation? 😀

      Like

  12. This book is one of my all time favourites. I absolutely adore I’ll Meet You There. It’s messy, it’s heartbreaking but worth it all in the end. Skylar and Josh had me rooting for them from the get go and I love that Demetrios took the time to flesh out their individual journeys as well as their romantic one. Josh broke my heart. The stream of conscious passages we get from him really highlight his trauma and identity crisis and how he struggles to reconcile the guy he was before the war, the soldier and the guy that came back with one leg. It was so impacting.
    Skyler is like my soul sister. I can definitely relate to her “not exactly fitting in this small town canvas” feelings. She’s been forced to grow up before her time, especially with basically being her mothers carer. I loved her journey in this book. Great review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I’m so, so glad you love this book so much, Lois! I agree – it is SO good to have such great individual character development, as well as a good relationship development.
      Josh’s point of view in this book broke my heart, really. It was so, raw, intense, definitely impacting, that’s for sure! ❤
      Did you read any other book by this author? 🙂
      Thank you so, so much for your sweet comment ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve read Something Real and loved it. It does a great job at looking into the harsh reality of being a reality TV star, especially at such a young age where you basically don’t have a choice in the matter. I’ve not read her fantasy series yet but it’s on the list. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ohh that’s great! I only read an excerpt of Something Real – that was at the end of my I’ll Meet You There copy – and it sounded so good. I think I’ll read that one soon! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I had seen this book around but never felt the urge to look into it but boy does this sound amazing! I especially love that Josh has PTSD as it’s hard to find YA books with a protagonist/main character who has PTSD. Great review Marie, definitely added this to my tbr 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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