Holly Holdberg Sloan
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: May 17, 2011
Emily Bell believes in destiny. To her, being forced to sing a solo in the church choir--despite her average voice--is fate: because it's while she's singing that she first sees Sam. At first sight, they are connected.
Sam Border wishes he could escape, but there's nowhere for him to run. He and his little brother, Riddle, have spent their entire lives constantly uprooted by their unstable father. That is, until Sam sees Emily. That's when everything changes.
As Sam and Riddle are welcomed into the Bells' lives, they witness the warmth and protection of a family for the first time. But when tragedy strikes, they're left fighting for survival in the desolate wilderness, and wondering if they'll ever find a place where they can belong. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I'll Be There is a gripping story that explores the complexities of teenage passions, friendships, and loyalties.
One of the best things about this book was Sloan's writing style. It was so sophisticated and lovely. I would have to say that this is what makes the book.
I also loved Sam's relationship with Riddle. I wouldn't have liked Sam as much if he didn't have such a great relationship with his brother. Sam stands as Riddle's protector and care-giver, and he was so sweet and patient with him.
What I was not expecting in this novel was those moments of high tension. Even though this is a contemporary, there were a few scenes (toward the second half) that had me so anxious.
I'll Be There is certainly an emotional roller-coaster that can pull at your heart strings. However, even though I was very impressed by this novel, I'm not sure it's going to be one to stay with me. For this book being more emotional than I though, it was still a beautiful and sweet story.