Review: I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

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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

3 stars

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Recently Added To My To-Be-Read List

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This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is: Top Ten Books You Recently Added To Your To-Be-Read List.

The First Wife

1. The First Wife by Erica Spindler.

Dumped: Women Unfriending Women

2. Dumped: Stories of Women Unfriending Women by Nina Gaby.

The Start of Me and You

3. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

Made for You

4. Made for You by Melissa Marr

My Soul to Keep (Soul Screamers, #3)

5. My Soul to Keep by Rachel Vincent.

I'll Meet You There

6. I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios.

Emmy & Oliver

7. Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway.

The Walls Around Us

8. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.

Cuckoo

9. Cuckoo by Julia Crouch.

99 Days

10. 99 Days by Katie Cotugno.

What books are new to  your TBR list? Have you read any of the above?

 

Review: Something Real by Heather Demetrios

Something Real

Synopsis from Good Reads:

There’s nothing real about reality TV.

Seventeen-year-old Bonnie™ Baker has grown up on TV—she and her twelve siblings are the stars of one-time hit reality show Baker’s Dozen. Since the show’s cancellation and the scandal surrounding it, Bonnie™ has tried to live a normal life, under the radar and out of the spotlight. But it’s about to fall apart…because Baker’s Dozen is going back on the air. Bonnie™’s mom and the show’s producers won’t let her quit and soon the life she has so carefully built for herself, with real friends (and maybe even a real boyfriend), is in danger of being destroyed by the show. Bonnie™ needs to do something drastic if her life is ever going to be her own—even if it means being more exposed than ever before.

I love reality tv. I can’t help it. So I knew I would be picking this book up at sometime or another. I tend to go for the competition shows (Survivor, Amazing Race) or home improvement shows (Property Brothers, Love it or List It), or my greatest guilty pleasure, Mystery Diner, more than the family-type shows (Sister-Wives, Keeping up with the Kardashians, 19 Kids and Counting), though. Something Real is definitely more of a play on the family-type shows, particularly the one with John and Kate Gosselin.

Once upon a time the young Baker couple wanted to have a baby, but were having trouble, so they pitched a show to a big network that they wanted “A Baker’s Dozen”. So fast forward several years and they now have thirteen children and their whole lives have been chronicled on a tv show. However, having a baker’s dozen worth of kids and cameras in your face all the time is not as charming as it seems. Much like the reality show this is obviously inspired by, the patriarch of the family cheats on his wife with a much younger woman and then leaves the family and is an absentee parent. The show ends when Bonnie has an extreme reaction to the pressure. The mother moves the family and remarries and Bonnie is now going by Chloe and lies to all her friends about her reality tv past and things are going well, until Chloe suddenly finds out that the show is going back on the air.

I enjoyed large portions of this book. I liked all the behind the scenes drama of having one’s life constantly filmed. I loved to hate the manipulative producer who stirred the pot and capitalized on every traumatic moment. I loved, loved Chloe’s love interest, Patrick Sheldon. He was basically the perfect guy, with just a touch of Edward Cullen-eque obsessiveness at times. I loved the relationship between Chloe and her brother Benton.

There were, unfortunately, several things that didn’t work for me, though. Chloe was way over-dramatic most of the time. She did have very valid points about not wanting to be on the show and having privacy and shouldn’t have been threatened by the producer as much as she was, but she still took things way too dramatically. The mother was ridiculous. I think it would’ve been a little more realistic to give her at least a couple of humanized moments where she wasn’t completely awful. I also felt like the ending left things way too open. There was a lot of time spent building up to certain things and the book ends before we find out the outcomes.

Overall, I enjoyed Something Real. Most of the books I’ve read so far this year have been kind of heavy, so it was definitely time for some light YA fun. While the book ran maybe a touch too long and was often a little over-dramatic, the romance was sweet, the characters were well developed and the premise was interesting.

Rating (out of 5)

3 stars