Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Published by Henry Holt BFYR on February 3, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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four-half-stars

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 really wasn’t sure what to expect from I’ll Meet You There. Demetrios debuted so strongly with Something Real, a family-oriented novel about reality TV and first love. Then her second novel was a fantasy, which I didn’t get to, but it was obviously a departure in more than just genre. With I’ll Meet You There, though a contemporary again like her debut, Demetrios once again does something quite different. I’ll Meet You There is edgier, rougher, and messed with my emotions like whoa.

One of those discussions that comes up a lot when authors talk about review peeves is “likable” and “relatable” characters. Every book doesn’t require the characters to be likable or someone the reader can relate to, but it often helps. I’ll Meet You There is one of those cases where I find neither Skylaer nor Josh relatable, as in similar to me and my life, and I find Josh quite unlikable. Except that I totally ended up relating and liking and shipping them.

The thing is that, though on paper Josh is someone I would loathe, and, if I met him in person, I would no doubt dislike him strongly, his character is so well drawn. Creek View is a town completely unlike where I grew up; it’s very much not middle class suburbia, aka what I am used to. However, Demetrios has such an amazing way with narrative voice that I was completely sucked in and found myself truly empathizing with characters I ordinarily might not. I love when authors get me to care about people, like Josh, who I might expect to hate. I’m just so impressed.

Josh was basically lead douchecanoe in high school. He did the whole stupid prank thing, got drunk a lot, and used a whole lot of offensive language. Then he joined the Marines and went to Afghanistan. At the beginning of I’ll Meet You There, Josh is back and down to one leg. At first, he seems to be very much the same guy that he was then, considering the way he jokingly greets someone with “faggot.” I really was not expecting to be a fan of the ship at that point, but Skylar totally calls him out for that later, and you learn so much more about Josh as the book goes on.

As you might expect, this is one of those ships that took time. I was worried initially about the fact that Skylar had had a week-long relationship with Josh’s brother after he left, because that sounded like melodrama central, but it really wasn’t an issue. What really made me ship this, and holy shit did I ever, was the fact that they connect on such a deep level and open up about so much. Skylar especially is really good for Josh, because she’s completely non-judgmental about his various post-war issues, unlike everyone else in the world. They’re both going through hard shit and really need someone to listen, and sometimes you just don’t feel like you can talk to the people who have always been there, you know? It’s not just that, though. They’re not just serious and sincere all the time; they joke and banter and fight and make up and YES to it all. Despite my concerns about Josh and his mistakes, I was still desperate to push these two together.

It might seem like Josh is all messed up and Skylar’s life is sunny, but that’s very much not the case. Her mother has been depressed for years since Skylar’s father died in a car accident. After her mom loses her job, she descends into the depths of despair. Suddenly Skylar, who’s meant to be leaving at the end of the summer for her full scholarship to college, is having to work two jobs to try to pay all the bills on their trailer. Skylar has almost been the parent, and she has to choose between her future and protecting her mother.

I’m also a big fan of the friendships in I’ll Meet You There. Marge, Josh and Skylar’s boss, ends up being an amazing character, though I was not expecting to really see her at all. She’s a better mother to them than their own mothers, and this definitely gave me unexpected feels. I also adore Skylar’s friend, Dylan, a teen mom. Unlike Skylar and Chris (the other part of their triumvirate), Dylan won’t be getting out of Creek View; I love that this comes up and her speech about being happy with her life. Chris I didn’t like as much as a character, since I felt like he never ended up serving much of a specific role; his unrequited endless crush on Dylan really got old too.

The only other thing that I don’t love about I’ll Meet You There is Josh’s POV. He has these one to two page chapters every so often. They’re written in a stream of consciousness way that was really hard for me to read. I praise the fact that his voice was very distinct from Skylar’s in more than just the formatting, but I also did not like reading them. More than that, I really didn’t get anything from them that rounded out my understanding of the overall plot. They didn’t add to my reading experience at all.

I’ll Meet You There was an awesome book to end 2014 on and start 2015. Heather Demetrios has incredibly talent at first person narration, and I’m excited for her next projects. If you’ve read I’ll Meet You There and liked it, I highly urge you check out Something Like Normal by Trish Doller, which is similar in a lot of ways but from the perspective of the guy coming home.

Favorite Quote:

“Okay. There has to be intelligent life on Mars. Humans kind of suck at life.”

I laughed. “Yes. Please don’t let us be the last word on evolution.”

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

 gif top gun himym
This will make sense if you read the book.

4 responses to “Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios”

  1. Meg says:

    So, what you’re saying is that I should be reading this right now or as close to right now as I can get, yes?
    Meg recently posted…I Can’t Finish BooksMy Profile

  2. Dragana says:

    Ships that take time are the best. 🙂
    I’m not sure if this book is too heavy for me or not. :/
    I’ve got a lot of recommendations for ‘Something Like Normal’ but I am delaying reading it because I like my contemporaries fluffy.
    Dragana recently posted…Book Review: The Body Electric by Beth RevisMy Profile

  3. Hannah says:

    I’m very much looking forward to this one – I’m also really interested in issues around young veterans, so this should be right up my alley. Lovely review!

  4. MJ says:

    Now, I’m am getting excited for this one. I really liked Demetrios’s first novel, but I was a little less than enthused with Exquisite Captive.
    MJ recently posted…I Lack Focus: This Shattered World by Aimee Kaufman and Meagan SpoonerMy Profile

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