Release Date: February 3, 3015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; 400 pages
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 wanted to give this book 5 stars so badly. And this may be me being a bit too harsh on this book but there is one reason I couldn't give it a perfect rating. Do you want to know why this is? It didn't make me cry. Sure, I teared up a few times but I was expecting and waiting for that moment (or moments, really) that would just gut me and make me loose my shit. It never came. Emotionally, this book drained me (in the best way possible, trust me) but the tears never came. I wanted to cry; I know, weird, right? But I wanted it and I never got it and it makes me so sad. It makes me want to cry for not being able to cry which is weirder to begin with.
I will say, if there is one contemporary book you should read this year, it's this one. I don't even care that it's the beginning of 2015, this is one you need to read. Also, this is coming from someone whose obsessed with fantasy and tends to cringe when contemporary is mentioned. That should show you how series I am about reading this book. I've already preordered it because I need it in hardcover. I also saw American Sniper after reading I'll Meet You There and some of Chris Kyle's reactions when he's home from war reminds me entirely of scenes with Josh from the book. So many things just brought this book more to life with seeing this movie - I don't know if it's just me.
I'm not sure which character killed me the most but both Sky and Josh were equally intriguing and difficult and down right hard to read at times. Josh, whose recently come back from the military but certainly not the same guy who left to go to war. Sure, he's still there but then you add everything he went through during his tour and it's just a mess (rightfully so). Then there's Sky, whose about to be one of the few who get out of this small town but her family life is anything but solid. Her father is dead and her mother is on the verge of another breakdown - it's enough to have her questioning whether she should put off school and stay back. Which is the last thing she needs.
There is not one negative thing about the book (me not crying is a personal thing, which is sad, but nothing against the book). It was everything I was hoping it to be and then some. Then so much more, really. The supporting characters are fantastic; their stories are unique in itself and not like anything you really read about in other YA books. Unless, of course, they're those contemps I stay away from. I can't even go in to detail about this book without wanting to talk about EVERYTHING so I'm opting for a vague review so I don't risk the urge.
All you need to know is this is a book you need to read. If it's not now, please put it on your list to read some time this year or as soon as you can. What I wouldn't give for more from these characters - alas, why I also steer away from standalone's. One book with characters I love is never enough for satisfy me.
Thank you so much to Macmillan for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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