BOOK REVIEW – I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

BOOK REVIEW –  I’ll Meet You There by Heather DemetriosI'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
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Synopsis:

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.

Review:

I’ll Meet You There was emotionally intense and impossible to put down.  The plight of the characters was gut wrenching and all-consuming.  It was so easy to be pulled into their dire lives and I fell deeply for this book.  Yet I personally struggled, since it made me dive straight into my past.  And that hurt.  Oh my gosh, it hurt too damn much being back there.  But I’ll Meet You There was such an important story and accurate portrayal of PTSD.  I can’t even express how thankful I am that this book was written.

“This buddy of mine always tells me—” He stopped for a second and tapped his key against the steering wheel. I waited for him to finish his thought, but it was like he’d already gotten out of the truck. Like Mom, he wasn’t there.
“Josh?” I reached out to touch his arm, but he jerked away.
“I’m fine,” he snapped.
“Okay,” I said, my voice soft.

I loved Skyler our heroine!  She was witty, sentimental, had a great sense for people, and she knew how to handle life to the best of her abilities….for the most part.  With graduation under her belt and plans to leave her little town, everything was looking up.  I have to say that I loved knowing the area she was from.  My bestie is originally from that area, and if you aren’t familiar with the armpit of California off Hwy 99 well…..it’s insanely hot, rural, and in certain parts there truly isn’t a lot to do.  Especially job wise.  But Skyler is going to attend college in San Francisco, on a scholarship, and she has one last summer to spend with her friends while working at the local motel.

“You hick bastard.”
“I love it when you talk dirty.”

You will want to meet her friends!  They were quirky and hilarious without even trying.  They stood out strongly, and the three of them together were just like peas and carrots and corn.  I swear that’s a thing.  I would love to read another story about each of them – Dylan was her female best friend and Chris was her male best friend.  Or I could just go dancing with Chris or cruising to a party with Dylan.  Oh, I want to meet these people!

I lay down next to him. “I’m glad you’re home,” I whispered.
His hand found mine and held it.

Skyler has another friend, Josh, who is a few years older than her.  They had worked at the local motel together, before he was deployed overseas for a tour with the Marine Core.  Upon returning home, Josh has one less leg and a horrific case of PTSD.  My fingers literally ached to reach out and comfort him.  Especially when we would get these few pages from Josh’s point of view where he was open, honest and layed out all of his pain and suffering for us to see.  The mental and physical anguish he was in broke my heart.  Literally.  It felt as though it was shattering into a billion teeny tiny pieces.

Why did I make it when so many other guys got wasted? And now it’s like I lost a leg and gained another fuckin’ eye that’s letting me see everything in this totally new, crappy light and all this shit that used to make me me I either can’t do or is so fucking stupid—God, what’s the point of me? – Josh

But Josh has this other side to him.  The one that I rooted and cheered to stay at the forefront.  He could be so sweet and caring to Skyler.  Even when he was teaching her something like chess, my heart would race and I had a permanent smile on my face.  Josh was infectious in the best possible way with his charm.  And I hoped they could support and fight their demons together.  

I wasn’t going to cry, I wasn’t. That wouldn’t solve anything. I closed my eyes until the tears retreated down my throat and back into my chest, where they seemed to live these days.

Demons. *hiccup sobs* This book was a very hard subject for me.  For quite a few reasons, but the hardest reason of all was being thrown back to when I was 14-20 years old.  Someone I loved, and who was my best friend in the world, had a father that suffered PTSD from his time in Vietnam.  I don’t want to say more, since it’s not my story to tell, but this book placed me back into that situation.  Of despair.  Of pain.  Of lost hope for someone so full of happiness and life.  It gutted me and I sobbed hysterically for the past.  Not only for the person that suffered, but for their family and loved ones too.  Those few pages in Josh’s point of view put me back in my best friend’s dad’s home where I held my breath that it would be a good night, even though it usually wasn’t.  To those memories where I tried my hardest to help or distract him while his father was suffering.  My heart still hurts to this day that my presence could only do so much to ease his pain.  Oh, this book, it reminded me of so many moments that I had forgotten.

“It’s okay,” he whispered. His lips brushed my hair.
“I’ve got you.”
I’ve got you. My blood racing, his heart pounding against my chest, I lifted my head and pressed my lips against his cheek. It was warm and scruffy, and I wanted to do it again and again, but I didn’t. I felt him smile.
“Thanks for having my back,” I said.
“Any time.”

While I am so grateful this story will impact people so deeply, I closed that last page feeling broken even though I loved so much of I’ll Meet You There.  I was not prepared to step back into my past.  But clearly if you don’t have my type of history, then I truly believe you’d love every part of this book.  The characters were so vivid, the conversations made me feel as though I was there and the emotions the characters felt resonated deep inside of me.  I will definitely be reading her other books in the future!

PS A special thank you to Chelsea for gifting me this beautiful book.  You know what and who I will love oh so well. *hugs*  Thank you!!

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6 Comments

  1. Great review Jen! I love it when the characters are so well written that you wish you could be friends in real life. I’m definitely addicting this one to my TBR list! 😊🙋🏻

  2. Wow! It sounds like this book touched you in such a personal way. I love that reading can do that. Even though some of the memories were painful, sometimes it’s good to reflect on even the difficult times of our lives and hopefully the message of hope in this book was good for you!
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…BEA is Coming Soon! What You Need to Know. (BEA Tips)My Profile

    • I love, for the most part lol, when books can touch us this personally. There has only been one other book that touched me this personally that I loved – Best Kind of Broken by Chelsea Fine. These books will always stick with me and have a special place in my heart. And hope is always needed and appreciated. ♥
      Jen recently posted…FRIDAY STARS – Your Weekly Must Knows 04/22/16My Profile

  3. You had me at emotionally intense. Idk why, but I just love that kind of book. Great review!
    AngelErin recently posted…Waiting On Wednesday- The Sun Is Also A Star By: Nicola YoonMy Profile

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