15 April 2013

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 17th 2011
My rating: 4 stars

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.
I knew I didn't made a mistake when I bought this book. It has this beautiful cover (one of my favorites), the blurb screams pain and devotion and it got an advance praise from Gayle Forman, Sara Zarr and A.S. King. 

This is a story about brothers, Sam and Riddle who were kidnapped by their scumbag father when they were very small. They travel all over the country, staying in their truck or in old houses, while their father steals and scams. Sam is the older brother and he takes care of Riddle who spends his time drawing in phone books. Sam works hard not to be like his father, he helps strangers to unload their garbage for a couple of dollars so they could have anything to eat. 

Everything changes one day in church when Emily sings I'll Be There while looking at Sam. They fall in love and her family warms up to them when they find out the boys are harmless. Soon, their father sees things changed, he follows Sam and sees he replaced him so he leaves with Sam and Riddle. Everything goes wrong from there. They find themselves in the mountain badly hurt. Sam and Riddle are all alone and they need to learn how to survive in wilderness without food, a warm place to sleep and with broken bones after their father abandons them. 

I'll Be There is written in third person omniscient point of view which means we get to read about a lot of characters, even the really small ones. I don't usually read books with this type of narrators so it was pretty new and refreshing. I liked it very much. It wasn't hard at all to follow what was everyone doing and what they were feeling at the time. 

This book does have a fairy tale quality. At times I felt like I was watching the movie where characters go through hell, only to be reunited in the end. This usually doesn't work for me because I dislike the fact everything wraps up so perfectly but in this case it was so well deserved. It made me wish certain heartbreaking books *cough* The Storyteller *cough* had a happy ending. 

The cover is gorgeous. Neil Swaab created it and he's made a lot of beautiful covers for other authors. But that is not the only cover of I'll Be There. Look at these pretties. 

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