I’ll Meet you There by Heather Demetrios
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. (Goodreads)
Skylar Evans is ready to say goodbye to life as she’s known it in Creek View: Small town, double-wide trailers, no real future in sight. But life away from home is promising. She has a full ride scholarship to study art far from away from the dead-ends surrounding her. All she has to do is get through three months of summer.
The problem is that Skylar’s mom is going nowhere. When she’s fired from her job at Taco Bell she essentially falls apart, what little stability she’s built for her and her daughter quickly crumbling under the weight of bad decision after bad decision. To make ends meet Skyler takes on more hours at the Paradise, an odd motel off the highway. She does it not only to pull extra weight at home, but to avoid her mom’s latest loser boyfriend. Her mother can’t seem to get it together and Skyler fears she’ll never be able to leave her behind to truly pursue her dreams.
Josh Mitchell has different plans. His life took an unexpected detour when he lost a leg while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan. He’s home again, but he’s not the same and he’s searching for a way, not only to build a life again, but to escape the pain and nightmares he’s enduring on a daily basis.
Skyler and Josh have always known each other, Josh, the cocky guy who was a legendary flirt, Skyler, the brainiac girl who was definitely going somewhere. They’re thrown together again when Josh returns to work at the Paradise and they develop a powerful bond that eventually becomes something more.
Holy cow. This book. It was crazy good.
The feelings. The massive swoons. It has everything.
Individually, I loved Skyler and Josh. They were the kind of people I’d always want to be around. Skyler is loyal to the end, even going to far as possibly giving up her dream—her full scholarship and ticket out of Nowhereland—to stay and take care of a mother who won’t (not can’t. Won’t) take care of herself. And what Sklyer isn’t willing to do for Josh. That girl—even before there’s a clear romance—is pretty much his only real friend at home. And Josh slowly sees he can let her in and show her the person he’s become in all his time away from home.
One of the great things about Josh is that there are chapters written from his perspective. They are beautiful and painful, tortured and fractured. Sure, he talks about Skyler sometimes and it’s sweet—but mostly, he talks about what he’s lived through and how he can’t leave it behind. It’s desperate and heartbreaking, and though I, personally, have no first-hand experience with PTSD, Demetrios paints such a vivid picture it left me stunned (and that much more grateful for our incredible soldiers).
It would be easy to pity either of these two–but don’t. Their struggles, their flaws, it’s what makes them amazing and human, and real. It makes them leap from the page and practically grab your heart from your chest. They have a beautiful, breathtaking story, a steamy hot romance (because did I mention that? Josh is all kinds of hot.), but it is also an all-consuming love story. You will not soon forget this story.
I hesitate to compare books to other books and characters to others because, of course, what I think and feel may differ from your opinion, but I have to say this.
When I was reading I’ll Meet You There, Skyler and Josh reminded me of another fictional couple I love: Taylor Markham and Jonah Griggs from Jellicoe Road. Please don’t misunderstand me, this is a completely different story. But these characters have that same pain, that same passion, that same crazy intensity.
This one is going down as a forever favorite. I’ll be reading and sharing it again and again.
Crush Intensity: 5/5 Amazing. READ THIS BOOK! Swoon City, all the way.
“I don’t really know what it means to move on, but lately, with Sky, I’m starting to feel like I want to because when I look at her, I don’t see you or the war or any of the shit in my head. I just see her, and it’s like suddenly I can breathe again after holding my breath for so long.”–Josh
“It occurred to me that we were the same, in a way. Both of us treading water, pushing against forces we couldn’t control.”–Skyler
“He tasted like hope and healing. He tasted like the future.”–Skyler