Monday, May 16, 2011

Review: I'll Be There

I'll Be There by  Holly Goldberg Sloan
Released: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 400, Hardcover
Young Adult
Source: Publisher, in exchange for honest review.  Thank You!
Overall: Fabulous! 

Raised by an unstable father who keeps the family constantly on the move, Sam Border hasn't been in a classroom since the second grade. He's always been the rock for his younger brother Riddle, who stopped speaking long ago and instead makes sense of the world through his strange and intricate drawings. It's said that the two boys speak with one voice--and that voice is Sam's.Then, Sam meets Emily Bell, and everything changes. The two share an immediate and intense attraction, and soon Sam and Riddle find themselves welcomed into the Bell's home. Faced with normalcy for the first time, they know it's too good to last.
Told from multiple perspectives, Holly Goldberg Sloan's debut novel offers readers fresh voices and a gripping story, with vivid glimpses into the lives of many unique characters. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I'll Be There is a story about connections both big and small, and deftly explores the many ways that our lives are woven together.

My  Thoughts:

Though I'll Be There isn't a book that dips into the paranormal realm, there is definitely a magical aspect of this story.

I have never read a book written how Holly Goldberg Sloan decided to write I'll Be There.  It wasn't overly descriptive, and if you didn't connect to the story I could see how it could come across as vague and unorganized.  Though, for me, I adored the style and connected well with the characters, rather than on a personal I've experienced that matter it was more of a I have to know what happens to them sort of way.  The dialog was a bit tricky too, most of the dialog came in the basic paragraph form of telling me what was said rather than running through the entirety of a conversation.  The first time I noticed this, I actually reread the paragraph and gave the book a cross look, but I quickly got over it when it became obvious to me that this is how the book was supposed to be written, should have been written, it was part of the magic that was Emily, Sam and Riddle.

Sam and Riddle's situation is sad and unfortunate at best.  The two boys do what they can to get by but it sure didn't seem like, up to that point, that there was anyone rooting for them to succeed in life and definitely wasn't caring for them how a parent should.  Despite their situation, Sam took care of Riddle the best he could and did as their father said to spare either of them the repercussions of angering their severely unstable and just plain crazy father.  The dynamic between the brothers is sweet and shows us the true characters of the boys, proving that the apple sometimes does fall far from the tree.  Sam's voice is the one we hear until destiny has other plans but when we do hear and see Riddle's it is obvious that Sam and Riddle are two of  the most grateful characters I have ever come across.

Emily is a character, like Sam and Riddle, who I instantly fell in love with.  She did her best to be who everyone wanted her to be but she did have a backbone and with time that showed.  With a heart of gold, this story would have never blossomed into the rocky adventure of Sam and Riddle and Emily's first love if it weren't for Emily and her head strong, heart driven beliefs on destiny, love, and helping others.  Emily's parents played a big part part in this story, were realistic, and you could tell it was them who shaped their daughter to be such an amazing young woman.  There were no disappearing parents for Emily, like we see in a lot of YA fiction, and that small detail alone made this book all that more fulfilling and realistic.

I'll Be There is a magical tale of family, hope and love.  The writing of this story is brilliant, and while everyone may not get it, I did!  If you have a chance to read I'll Be There I encourage you to do so.  There is something about a book based on innocence and how the world can eat you alive if it wasn't for the heart and support of others and possibly a bit of fate and destiny, weaving lives together before you have a chance to protest.  This  emotionally profound book is definitely in need of a second read.


  1. I adore this cover:) I love books about magic so I'm excited for this one. Thanks for the review!

  2. I loved this book as well and linked to your review.


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