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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Review: I'll Be There

Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan

Release date: 5th April 2012
Genre: Contemporary
Target audience: 11+
UK Publisher: Piccadilly Press


I’ll Be There is a story of love, survival and the important people we meet in life who change us. It is a contemporary novel set in America and is sure to be a hit with librarians everywhere.

I’ve read four contemporary teen romances in quick succession but I’ll Be There stands out because it has a style all of its own. It couldn’t be further from the “high-school cafeteria scenario” story if it tried. This novel is full of quirkiness which begins with the two main characters. Sam is 17, he’s never lived in a place for long; his father suffers from mental health issues and moves them after just a few weeks. Everything Sam knows he taught himself, he never went to school. And neither did his younger brother Riddle. Sam is Riddle’s protector both of them blend into the town backdrop and do their utmost to go unnoticed.

That is until Sam meets Emily. Emily is honest and a listener. She cares deeply about the world and the people in it. She looks at people and wants to know more, to go deeper into who they are, to really understand them. The moment Emily and Sam meet is captured in music, the song I’ll Be There, is the soul of the book.

The structure of the book is a journey - both literally and of self-discovery. It is cyclical and begins where it ends adding to its message of what you give up into the world, you get back. It is also a thriller – Sam and Riddle’s father is a dangerous man and they need to escape his violent outbursts in order to find a home and inner peace. And of course, it is a love story. Sam and Emily must rise above all the challenges sent to try their bond. The three plots twist together perfectly and will have you hooked.

I loved the author’s voice and her unique way of unravelling the story for each of the characters. Told in the third person, we shift from character to character and back again and the story unfolds. I’ll Be There is such a rewarding book to read. It is entirely satisfying and utterly endearing. It will leave you feeling uplifted and inspired to see the beauty in everything around you.

Recommended for fans of:

·         Trash by Andy Mulligan

·         The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon


Hannah Mariska said...

ooh this sounds right up my street. I haven't noticed it before, but will have to put it on my to-read pile!

M said...

I'm not a fan of the typical high school romances, so this one sounds good.