Sun, January 18, 2015

I’ll Meet You There Review

I'll Meet You There book cover

I'll Meet You There book cover

I’ll Meet You There
By Heather Demetrios
Publication date: Feb. 3, 2015
Henry Holt and Co. (BYR), 400 pages
Source: Publisher

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.

— description

Gahhhh the romance in I’ll Meet You There is slow burn goodness.

I don’t have a personal relationship to the military, but I loved the portrayal here — it felt very real and authentic, respectful and well-researched. But holy hell it’s painful to read about Josh, his PTSD and his war injuries.

And it’s painful to read about Skylar’s poverty.

But it’s damn good.

This book is insanely well done and emotional. I was so impressed, and doubly so when I read the author’s note at the end about her inspiration and the research she put into telling this story. I’m looking up Heather Demetrios’ other books stat, because if they are as good as this one? Wow.

LOVED IT. Beyond recommended, especially for older-skewing YA readers.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: heather demetrios, mental health, poverty, romance

Mon, September 8, 2014

Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson Review

Don't Touch book cover

Don't Touch book cover

Don’t Touch
By Rachel M. Wilson
Publication date: Sept. 2, 2014
HarperTeen, 432 pages
Source: Publisher

A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together… which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn’t sure she’s brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who’s fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

— description

I really, really liked this one. In terms of books that deal with mental health, Don’t Touch definitely fell among the best I’ve read.

It’s the type of book that I read with a pit in my stomach. It made me anxious and tense, as it should — that’s exactly how Callie felt throughout the book as she struggled with her OCD and phobia of being touched. As I read, I felt like I was standing on a precipice, that I could fall or jump and the decision between the two could go either way. Again, the tone was a perfect fit for the subject matter and it had a very strong affect on me.

I especially like that, in my amateur opinion, Callie’s mental health issues were handled in a healthy way (therapy, honesty, asking for help) vs. pushed aside with an easy fix. Don’t Touch is a powerful story with a strong message.

Anna Reads young adult book blog

Posted by: Anna   •   In: mental health, rachel m. wilson