Wednesday, June 29, 2011

review: I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

pub date: May 3, 2011
publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
pages: 400
appeals: contemporary, realistic fiction, romance, family
content: clean (I think. I don't remember anything that would make it otherwise)

I enjoyed this story. It was not what I expected, and I love to be surprised. I thought it was interesting and well written with great descriptions and characters.

However, I felt Sloan's writing style was more of a summary. I felt too much of the story was skimmed over. Emily and Sam supposedly have a deep relationship, but as a reader I wasn't ever privy to the building of the relationship. I just was told by the narrator that they talked and spent time together. I wanted to read about it, not just be told about it. So the fact that this relationship was so important to the story kind of put a kink in my love for the book because I didn't buy into it. 

This novel was written from multiple perspectives, and I really enjoyed that. I thought it opened up a lot of the characters by seeing them through anothers eyes.

Though I did like the multiple perspectives, at times it got annoying. Mostly I wanted the story to focus on Sam and Riddle and Emily, but a few characters went off on tangents that took away from the main story. And that bothered me because I didn't care about the tangents, I cared about the main three characters. Bobby was the worst offender. I didn't like him and though he was important to certain plot points, he got old really fast. I wanted out of his head, especially when it came to the prom. Too many pages were wasted on him.

So I did like the book, I thought the story and characters were compelling. I just didn't love it like I wanted to.   

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.

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