Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.My take: I loved Heather Demetrios' first book, Something Real, and I was very excited to read this.
I loved it. I'll Meet You There is both poignant and romantic. I love stories that featuretwo people who absolutely shouldn't fall in love, but (of course) are perfect for each other. Skylar doesn't want to be tied down. For years, she's been dreaming of escaping her small town and attending art school. Josh is trying to accept the fact that some of his dreams have been shattered along with his leg.
What I loved:
The setting. I love small town stories, and I'll Meet You There really makes use of its location. Skylar thinks of Creek View as a place that people stop in on the way to somewhere else. Josh, returning home with a combat injury, has to face everyone's reaction to his news. This story shows how small towns can be a place of tremendous support, but also a place in which it's hard to reinvent yourself.
The way this turned the player/innocent dynamic upside down. I've seen many other bloggers moan about their weariness of this trope, but I'll Meet You There proves that familiar things can be reinvented. Skylar's no shrinking violet, and Josh may have been a ladies' man in his former life, but his injury has shaken his confidence in ways that puts them on more even footing.
The way the book handles families and relationships. I loved the way that Something Real presented family life in all its joys, frustrations and imperfections, and this book did the same. Skylar and her mom have a difficult relationship. Josh and his brother (and Skyler) also have a bit of history. Marge the hotel manager serves as a surrogate mother to them both. Dylan the teen mother also defies stereotypes: she and the father of her child are deeply in love.
The ending. I'll be honest: books in which it seems like teenage girls might give up all their dreams for a guy make me very nervous. But I loved the way this ending was handled. It wasn't too open-ended, or too saccharine, or too sad.
If you like YA realistic fiction that's moving and romantic, definitely check this one out. I highly recommend it!