Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Weight of Living: I'll Meet You There

I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Henry Holt, 2015

*ARC provided by the publisher - thank you! This in no way impacted my opinion of this book.*

Calling Creek View a town is being generous. Especially since her dad died, Skylar Evans has dreamed of leaving her trailer park and at the end of the summer, it will finally happen when she moves to college in San Francisco. At least, it was looking that way until Mom lost her job and Skylar will have to pick up the pieces. Again. Josh Mitchell also had plans for a life far away, and he even had it for a while when he joined the Marines. But after losing his leg, he is back, a shell of the person he used to be. These two have little in common besides working at the Paradise, yet this quirky motel becomes a place where an unlikely friendship, and more, finds a home.

This is one of those books where I was torn between wanting to inhale it as fast as possible and knowing that I shouldn't, that I should take my time to absorb and appreciate the story, the characters, and the incredible twisting of my emotions on every single page. I did the later and I'm so happy I did. While this story is told mostly from Skylar's perspective, Josh's voice is peppered throughout, offering insights into what happened to him in Afghanistan, his feelings about his friends and fellow soldiers - some still living, others not, what it's like for him to be back in Creek View, the loss of his leg, his feelings for Sky, and the PTSD that pulls at every part of who he is.

Demetrios is one of those rare writers who has the magical ability of writing a story that is simple on the surface in terms of plot, but incredibly complex in terms of feeling and characters. Every single person in these pages is flawed and is struggling with something in their own way. Sometimes they're succeeding, sometimes they're not. I was engaged and invested every single step of the way, and much more emotional than I usually am while reading.

This is a shining example of a great book and an exceptional YA novel. A solid choice for the older YA crowd, younger readers (or perhaps parents of younger readers) should know that this is a more mature book both in terms of subject matter and language aka adult situations and swearing. While I had absolutely no problem with either of these things and this book will joining my school library's collection, it is something to be aware of.

This book packed a punch in all the right ways, making me think and leaving me raw and in awe. PTSD is a hard topic to tackle, but Demetrios does it both well and realistically. If you're someone who doesn't mind books puts your heart in an emotional blender but leaves you better off, then you must read I'll Meet You There.

Comments welcome, and, as always, happy reading!

Heather Demetrios's Website
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