I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
"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."- summary from Amazon
Demetrios' third novel (her second contemporary) is another winner and a bit of a 180 from her previous contemporary, which was a little more light-hearted than this was. This book deals with PTSD and the after-effects of war on young people, and she does a wonderful job handling this delicate, complicated subject. Skylar also has to deal with her mom and the downward spiral she's in, which is simply heartbreaking to read (I can't remember the guy's name that her mom hooks up with, but he pissed me off to no end and it's sad to see Skylar's mom with someone like that who's just dragging her down even further).
It's not all a downer though, as it's sweet to see Skylar and Josh navigate friendship and, soon after, romance and the hurdles and obstacles that come with it- the normal ones as well as Josh's war memories and the PTSD he struggles with. Demetrios adds another layer to the story by having occasional chapters in Josh's perspective, which seem to be written as almost stream-of-consciousness to reflect where his mind is at.
Overall, a fantastically written, poignant, and powerful novel. Demetrios is proving herself to be a formidable voice in the YA genre.
FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.