"It gave me hope: if you could make a beautiful piece of art from discarded newspapers and old matchbooks, then it meant that everything had potential. And maybe people were like collages- no matter how broken or useless we felt, we were an essential part of the whole. We mattered."
If you follow any of my reviews then you know that I am both picky and hard review wise on contemporary novels. I don't usually enjoy them, but when I'm in the mood for them I'm very choosey about what I select. I've been hearing such rave reviews about I'll Meet You There so I figured I'd see what all the hype was about. I'm so glad I did! IMYT is a sweet, heart warming tale about Josh and Skylar, whose world's collide after she just finishes graduating high school.
When it came to our two main characters Heather did an amazing job giving them both very different, distinctive, and interesting voices. Skylar isn't super outgoing, but at the same time isn't shy. She has this light humor about her that gives her such ease throughout the story. She has just graduated high school and is on the edge of her seat about leaving her run-down small town. She is set up to go to an art school in San Francisco and is counting down the days until she will get there. She is currently working her part time job at the Paradise Motel until college starts. This is how she knows Josh, our other lead. The two in previous years have spent time working together at the motel and have always been friendly with one another, but never serious friends. Josh however graduated high school the year before her, and like many others in the town, left and joined the marines. While out serving overseas he is injured, losses a leg, and winds up back in Creek View working as the motel's handy man. Before leaving he was your typical cocky jerk high school guy. All about cracking jokes, going to parties, and getting girls. Now that he has arrived back he just doesn't see the world the same anymore. He isn't the laid back brat he once was. He has matured a lot and is seeing things in a whole new light. These two characters managed to be very similar in their struggles while both facing very different issues. I think that even if this book wouldn't have taken the characters down a romantic journey (it does) it would have still held up just fine. I really think that says a lot about both the writing and the plot.
My absolute favorite thing about IMYT is the friendship between Skylar and her two best friends, Chris and Dylan. All the characters in this book felt so authentic, but these three together were flawless. I think the reason I thought they were so perfect is because they weren't perfect people. First off I love that they were all so different, but wasn't the type of different where they felt like they were forced friends. I actually felt like these three people would hang out with one another (if you're an avid reader than you know what I'm trying to get at). Chris is this math "nerd" who is about to attend college in Boston and Dylan is a saucy teen mom who works a the local restaurant. The three fit so well together. The second thing that I loved is that Heather didn't make Chris secretly in love with Skylar. I loved that she had the two hanging out, going places, ad experiencing things together all while just being friends. I couldn't get enough of the moments when it was Chis and Skylar just hanging out. Having everything from secret eye conversations to the pact that they formed, it was just great. There's one scene in the book where all three of them are in the car and get into a fight, and it just felt so real. It's an argument I could easily see so many people having, and it plays out just how it would in real life.
The setting of this story was another huge plus. It felt like it started becoming its own person. This living breathing thing. The motel really feels like it becomes this own private secret hide out for Skylar and Josh. Even the quirky rundown town has this certain warm feeling and really sets the mood for this book. I liked that there were so many little places for these characters to go, and it gives the story a little something extra. That all mixed with a smooth running solid plot that isn't overshadowed by one certain aspect made this novel a knock out read. The message, romance, and plot completely sold me.