Synopsis from Good Reads:
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’m going to start out with what worked well for me in I’ll Meet You There.
-I love the cover. I didn’t at first, but once I read about the Paradise motel, the retro, run down sign makes sense.
–EVERY SINGLE SECTION FROM JOSH’S POV. This really made the entire book for me. As the synopsis says, Josh is a marine who has returned home after losing one of his legs. He’s trying to figure out what to do next and is dealing with all the things that a returned soldier might have to deal with. There’s PTSD and depression and survivor’s guilt and anger and loneliness. I think it’s probably a very real portrayal of what someone in Josh’s position might go through and I loved the stream-of-consciousness style used to share his thoughts every few chapters. It’s these snippets that made me understand why so many people say this book is such a sob fest. I got choked up on almost every single one.
-Lots of horrible things happen to the characters in this book, but there is an overall message of focusing on the good and that sometimes the best things in life are the products of all the bad.
-I didn’t’ care for Skylar really at all for most of the book, but by the end I felt like she had grown a lot and I appreciated it.
-Skylar and Josh’s relationship starts out as a friendship that slowly grows. No insta-love here!
While all the above were good things, I still had a lot of issues with this book. Here’s what didn’t work for me.
-Besides what Josh has gone through, I feel like the book was just trying too hard to be gritty and real. In the first chapter we’re introduced to underage drinking, drug use, teenage parents, casual sex, and a drunken parent.
“There were also a lot of slightly older faces…doing the same thing they had done every Saturday night since they were in junior high: Drink. Smoke. Screw. Repeat.”
Ugh. There’s also a lot of driving under the influence and public drunkenness. Throwing of beer bottles at abandoned buildings and the like. It was just too much. I’m sure that is reality for some people, but the suggestion that basically every youth in this town was like that was too big of an exaggeration. It made the characters un-relatable and hard to like most of the time.
-While Skylar and Josh’s relationship wasn’t insta-love, once they got together it was forever right away. After being such a nice slow burn, it was disappointing that they jumped straight to “together forever”.
-Skylar’s best friends, Chris and Dylan, were not very well developed and for being such big parts of her life, they were barely there for most of the book.
Overall, I enjoyed I’ll Meet You There. It wasn’t the best book I’ve ever read by any means, but the portions from Josh’s POV really makes it worth the read. I would recommend reading this based on that alone.
Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars