Saturday, May 21, 2011

PS: I'll Be There

Sunrise was at 5:45, sunset will be at 8:27. It's cold, gray and wet. Again. We had a warm day on Friday, not a clear one, but it finally reached the 70's.

I'll Be There,
by Holly Goldberg Sloan, is one of my top 5 books of the year. It's got everything you want in a book: adventure, suspense, interesting people, great sibling relationships, romance, horrible and loving adults. AND no supernatural events or beings, the only angels are the human ones we encounter in daily life. It is SO good, and I love the way it was sent out to buyers and booksellers.

And, if I could find my copy -where oh where can it be?- I'd take a picture of it and show it to you!

Like Delirium, I'll Be There had no giveaway info on the galley. Unlike the manuscript for the Delirium, IBT has a brown cover, black type, and at least had the author's and publisher's names on it. A blurb from the editor on the back was the only entreaty to open the book.

I saw it in a box, the plain kraft paper brown cover, the title and author, and thought, "Ooh! What's that?" and then my next thought, "I want that." Judy said it was being highly touted by the pubs and they wanted everyone to know about it and she thought it was really good. (It's hard not to get everything first, anymore. Sigh.) So, I asked if I could read it and she handed it over. I turned it over, looked in and out, asked what's it about? and thought, wow, this is a chance-taking book. This is a book that is going to be only hand-sold to buyers. I didn't see any cover art, didn't know who the author was, no photos, no flap copy. There is nothing like reading something completely blank slate-ish.

It took me a while to become completely caught up in the story; I had a lot of other things I had to read for work, there were blog posts to write, a house to clean. I finally took it with me when I went to do the weekly chores and knew I was going to eat lunch out. Isn't that how you always kickstart a book you aren't sure about? Make it the only thing you take with you when you have to eat or pump gas, walk to work or around the lake?

I started it and was really surprised to read the words "Junction City"- oh, a clue!- she must be acquainted with the northwest, at least Oregon, the Willamette Valley for sure.

And then I got a little farther along, finished lunch, and reached the part where questionable activities happen and I had to put it down. I got scared for the characters- the two brothers who have been stolen by their father and have been on the road, out of school, for 10 years and the older brother is 17, his brother may be autistic, and the boy is worried about being beaten. Enough for me until I know how tense I need to be prepared to be.

Eventually, with reassurance from the rest of the staff, I finished the book and oh, it was good. It may be one of those books that transcends most stories for teens. There isn't much dialogue (128 different characters in the book), it is very movie-ish, lots of scenes where you are living in the character's heads, seeing and hearing what they see, quick moving, well-paced, surprising in a number of ways. I think I was most surprised by the idea that there are probably a lot of families out there who aren't on the grid, don't subscribe to the ordinary ways of the world: school, church, neighborhoods, community. They have withdrawn from the norm for whatever reasons they have.

It's a good book for adults to read, too. Smart, funny, different.

I'm not going to tell you anything about the story itself. You need to read it and have the joy of having it unfold in your head without expectations. You need to meet everyone as they do. mmm. I'm glad that you have it ahead of you to read for the first time.

I'll post a photo of the book when, or if, I ever find my copy of it.

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