Skylar Evans has a plan and it doesn’t involve staying in Creek View and ending up like all the others who never left: living in a double-wide trailer, working a dead-end job. It’s one more summer after graduation and then she’s gone. But then her mother loses her job and her carefully planned out future is in jeopardy. Josh Mitchell did get out of Creek View through the military. This summer finds him back home after an explosion in Afghanistan took his leg. The only thing Skylar and Josh have in common is working at the Paradise motel but a friendship soon develops and maybe, in time, could lead to something more.
I have made no secret about loving Heather Demetrios’ books. This book was no exception. I couldn’t put it down. It was gritty and real and full of amazing characters and it never shied away from making the characters realistic, even if that meant they weren’t always loveable.
The characters were perfect in the way that they weren’t perfect at all. In fact, they could be downright horrible at times. Skylar could be extremely judgmental of the people in her hometown and Josh could be very rude and vulgar but even though I didn’t like that about them I could understand it. It was characteristics like those that gave them such a realistic feel. Their friendship was absolutely perfect, their banter was hilarious and I loved seeing them open up to each other. It was touching. It was impossible not to smile every time Josh asked “how’s the sky today?”
I really enjoyed so many of the side characters as well. Marge, Paradise’s owner was definitely a force in their lives but also so caring. Skylar’s best friends Chris and Dylan were such a huge part of her life and so completely different. Chris was like Skylar in looking down on their hometown while Dylan was viewed as a typical Creek View girl, likely stuck there forever.
While there is definitely a romance element to the book, it was more about the journeys Skylar and Josh went through. Skylar had to learn that it was okay for her to leave and that it was okay to be afraid of leaving. Josh was struggling after coming back from the war. He suffered from PTSD but there was no one for him to talk to about it at home. He had changed, war had changed him but all his friends had stayed the same.
I thought the pacing was the perfect speed. It wasn’t breakneck fast and it worked. None of the issues the characters were dealing with were easily solved and it meant spending a lot of time with them taking a step forward and then back again. It could have easily felt repetitive or slow but instead it just felt right. The plot seemed simple from the synopsis but again, the issues in the book made it anything but simple.
I would put this book at the older end of the teen group due to the language. There was a lot of it. I thought it would be hard to surpass how I felt about Something Real but I’ll Meet You There managed to do just that.