*This Review is Spoiler Free*
I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios is a Young Adult contemporary novel that follows main protagonist, Skylar Evans during the summer after her senior year of High School. At the beginning of her summer, during a party Skylar encounters Josh Mitchell, a nineteen year-old guy that she used to work with at Paradise Motel before he enlisted in the Marines and was deployed to Afghanistan. Josh lost his leg during his time with the Marines, and has returned home to Creek View, where he ends up working again at Paradise alongside Skylar. The two rekindle their friendship and become much closer than they ever were before. Theirs, is a beautiful love story with dark undertones and very real and truthful depictions of young, blossoming love.
I really really enjoyed this novel and it is a book that I have recommended to numerous people since first reading it. The contemporary novels that I tend to enjoy most, are those that have flawed characters because they ring the most true to life. Skylar does not have the most happy and ‘healthy’ home life. Her mother loses her job during the summer and Skylar is depended on to make a reliable income to support herself and her mother. Skylar wants nothing more than to be rid of the small town where she grew up and go off to art school at the end of the summer, but life inevitably gets in the way and threatens to put that dream on hold. I did have a few issues with Skylar’s outlook on the people in her community and although it’s been awhile since I read this, I remember there being a few moments when I had issues with slut-shaming. One good thing about this, is that the issue is eventually addressed by one of the side characters in a way that feels genuine to the story and helps the reader to understand that Skylar’s opinions are there to enrich the story and add to eventual character growth.
Josh was a refreshing love interest. It was amazing to read a Young Adult novel with a main character/love interest that has a physical disability! I have not researched and ventured into finding YA novels that have characters with disabilities…but it was great to see one that was ‘popular’ and promoted in various book related places. During the development of Skylar and Josh’s relationship, one of the things that made me absolutely fall in love with Josh’s character and the overall novel occurs. I can’t go into detail because I do not want to spoil anything…but it’s a turning point in the story and adds conflict and depth. These events highlight how flawed Josh’s character is and is explained so well that I couldn’t stop myself from completely identifying with Josh. I enjoyed reading an event that I may not be able to identify with, but be able to grasp the emotions and intent behind an action and the author brilliantly conveyed those feelings. Josh also has a mental disability which is PTSD. Although I said that Josh is a flawed character and that’s something that I love about him, neither of his disabilities are what makes him ‘flawed’! People are not spoiled or ruined in any way if they have a disability and I don’t want anyone reading this review to think that those are the ‘flaws’ that I’m referring to. He doubts himself and doubts what he is able to accomplish romantically…and though he probably never had those thoughts prior to his injury…the actions that he undertakes because of those doubts, in regards to his relationship and any hesitancy to peruse a relationship are the ‘flaws’ that I’m referring to. NOT his PTSD or physical disability!
I fell head-over-hoof in love with this story, especially with how organically and realistically it progresses. I would absolutely recommend this novel to any fans of contemporary literature! This is also a great choice if you are making it a goal to read more diverse books/stories. I give I’ll Meet You There 8-out-of-10 unicorn horns. Happy Reading!