Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Book Review: I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Sam likes churches, so whenever he can find the time (and a clean shirt) he goes. Not wanting to be noticed, he sits in the back and leaves before the service is over. He goes for the music, which to him is a sort of religion.

Emily does not want to sing the solo in church that Sunday. She doesn't have the best voice in the choir, and if you ask her she doesn't even have a good voice. Now her father has gone too far, giving her the solo in I'll Be There, which isn't even a church song.

It's this song that brings them together. Sam, who would rather not connect with another human being who is not his little brother, an lives a life on the run with his father. Emily, who connects with everything while blending into her normal life, and lives a life of middle class comfort. Sam and Emily are drawn to each other, and even after running away, events keep bringing them together.

Sam and his brother Riddle were taken by their father at a young age, and due to unfortunate circumstances they were never quite "missing" and never had a stable childhood. Sam lives in fear of his father, who packs up to move at a moments notice, afraid of being caught. In spite of this, Sam is a sweetheart, who happens to be a musical genius, while Riddle is a bit of a riddle himself, spending time drawing in old phone books.

Random events keep bringing Sam and Emily together, as well as tear them apart. The point of view in I'll Be There changes, depending on who needs to be telling the story. Sure we get to see things through Sam and Emily's eyes, but Riddle gets turns in telling the story, as well as other memorable characters such as Bobby Ellis, Emily's sometime-kind-of-boyfriend, who has quite a memorable prom day.

I'll Be There is a quiet meandering story. If you enjoy books like Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins or Marcelo in the Real World by Franciso X. Stork, you'll enjoy the pacing and inner voice of I'll Be There. From the light romance, to the mystery of where Sam and Riddle are and the family drama that they have there is a lot to like in this quiet story.

I'll see you @ the library!
Katie (Now reading Paper Covers Rock by Jenny Hubbard)