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I'll Be There (I'll Be There #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  5,104 ratings  ·  908 reviews
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 b
Hardcover, 392 pages
Published May 17th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Naomi Yes. It was quite good. Really enjoyed it when I didn't expect to.…moreYes. It was quite good. Really enjoyed it when I didn't expect to.(less)
Verna Harris This books isn't about teens having sex, it is a learning experience, taking the reader outside the safe world that they may life in. It shares that…moreThis books isn't about teens having sex, it is a learning experience, taking the reader outside the safe world that they may life in. It shares that not all kids life a smart phone/three meals a day life; that some kids live with danger every minute of their day. Some kids are too busy surviving to complicate it with sex because they are 'bored'.
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Community Reviews

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3.5 stars

I'll Be There is a modern fairy tale.
It reads like a fairy tale and it's got the tropes of a fairy tale, though revisited in a modern key.

It is the story of Sam and Emily.
Sam, our modern male Cinderella, has been on the road with his little sick brother for as long as he can remember, obliged by their psychotic father to live a miserable life, not going to school, kept out of society.
Emily is just a regular small town girl, reserved, introverted.
But when Emily is obliged by her fat
4.5 stars (Brace yourself for the gushing - apparently my brain was having a fire sale on similes and adjectives.)

Books like this make me feel so grateful that I am a reader.

Imagining that I was born without a propensity for reading and/or taught to love it tends to put me in a panicky tailspin, at the thought of all the characters, places and emotional experiences I would have missed, had I not been so inclined to pick up a book whenever possible.

And as far as emotional experiences go, this o
I'll Be There is one of the most unique young-adult novels I've ever read. It's about Sam and Riddle Border, brothers who have been moving around with their unstable father for several years - Sam, now 17, hasn't seen a classroom since the second grade. Their lives consist of grabbing food from garbage disposals, hiding from people who may report them to the police, and moving away whenever their criminal father makes a too close for comfort encounter with the local authorities. One day, Sam ste ...more
Jun 04, 2011 Erin rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
Ugh. Okay. I saw amazing reviews on this book, so I was psyched. But in the end, it just disappointed me.

I'll start with this, though - I absolutely loved Sam and Riddle, and their ability to get people to fall head over heels for them (except the evil people, obvs). Their parts of the story were awesome. If the rest of the characters were written as well as Sam and Riddle, I don't think I'd have as much of a problem.

But it seems as if Sam and Riddle are the only characters you’re supposed to
When people say Do Not Read In Public, I should probably listen, as it would likely save my mascara. You want a book that brings crocodile tears from sadness and joy, read I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan. This is arguably one of the best contemps I’ve read all year.

Read the rest of my review here
Maja (The Nocturnal Library)
3.5 stars
I’ll Be There has been collecting dust on my shelf for over a year. I usually don’t buy books unless I intend to read them right away, but sometime between ordering Holly Goldberg Sloan’s debut and actually receiving it, I convinced myself it would be too emotionally draining. So I just left it on my shelf where it made me feel guilty every time I looked at it. And then last night, I finally picked it up.

In the end, while I did tear up a couple of times, I’ll Be There came nowhere near

Our lives are packed with people, relationships, and connections—big and small. So many people and pieces that come together, break, and fall away each and every day. Moments and people that passed by without a second glance could somehow, some way make an impact on your life without you even realizing it. Moments and decisions that ripple through time and unite the past with the present. This story reminded me again and again just how connected we all are—how an act of violence, kindness, or he
Cait Grace
This book and I did not get along. I TRIED TO BE NICE. I did. I went in slightly skeptical because the blurb is a mess of "destiny" and "waiting for life to begin" which is all kinds of wrong. You shouldn't have to wait to meet a boy for your life to begin, okay?! SO. I was skeptical going in...but then the book turned into a complete monologue of telling instead of showing. The ENTIRE book is told. There is a scraping of dialogue and there are NO action scenes. It's like you're reading a detail ...more
Steph Su
When one describes a novel as being “magical,” we often think of lyricism, of rhythm and beautiful descriptions. But Holly Goldberg Sloan’s debut novel, I’LL BE THERE, is magical in quite a different way. A story of how the little things add up to the big things, I’LL BE THERE takes extraordinary characters and ordinary moments and weaves them together into a suspenseful and unforgettable story, one of the most unique books I’ve read in 2011.

I want a Sam in my life. He is undoubtedly an extraord
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2013 Brigid added it
Wowza. I don't know what to say.

I loved the book. I couldn't put it down. Another one that I read on my phone anytime I had a spare moment. I will agree with other reviewers who said that the relationship between Sam and Emily didn't have much development. But what's funny is that's not the point of the story. This book is a perfect example of an omniscient narrator. Imagine that this book takes place in a snow globe full of people, and you're watching everything from above. You're not going to
This book took me on a journey I wasn't expecting at all. From the beginning, I thought I'd had this book in the bag. I thought I knew what I'd be rating it, where the characters would end up, the road they'd be on. Midway through the book I think I could hear Holly Goldberg Sloan laughing at me.

Excuse me while I go dig up every interview I can find with this author. The way she explores (so many) characters throughout this book is fascinating. The way she explores the human condition and its am
I don't know. I just don't know how any self-respecting book lover can see this book and not have to buy it immediately. I mean, look at that cover. It's gorgeous and haunting and somehow bursting with meaning all at once. As I mentioned before, it reminds me very much of the exquisite cover of Marcelo in the Real World--a book I loved without reserve. All that put together had me on the edge of my seat to read it, and I had a lovely copy all ready and waiting for me on the nightstand in the nur ...more
Katie Fritz
Sam Border knew he would have to leave Churchill eventually. His father would make them leave this town, just like the others. Clarence Border's stealing had sent them out of many towns quicker then it was possible for either Sam or his brother Riddle to get comfortable. Sam was okay with that, until he meets Emily Bell at the town's First Unitarian Church. Emily Bell, singing for the choir, is helped suddenly by Sam when she feels ill after her performance. They both are curious about each othe ...more
Stephanie (Stepping out of the Page)
This was fantastic! I'll be there is written in a unique and effective way. It's very hard to believe that this is Sloan's debut novel. The book explores the lives of several people, mainly the Border, Bell and Ellis families and how they all come together over the disapperance of the two Border children, Sam and Riddle and their abusive father, Clarence. Sam and Riddle are both very strong characters with distinct personalities, especially Riddle. In fact, I found most of the personalities to b ...more
Overall, I'd say well worth reading, I really enjoyed the story, but there were some things that distracted me, hence the 3 stars.

I liked least:
The first few pages didn't catch me. That's harsh, but hey. If someone hadn't recommended the book to me, I may have put it down based on the first few pages. Also, the ending felt a little too much like a "let's wrap up the movie with a tight little bow."
The thing writers also love to do in on t.v., especially in sitcoms, which is what I'll describe as
This review is also posted on my blog, In The Good Books.

Sam and his younger brother Riddle live under the care of their unstable criminal father, constantly moving out of his paranoia. Drawn to music, Sam one day finds himself in the back pew of a church, transfixed by the off-key solo of Emily Bell, who's given him more incentive to stay than he's ever had.

Let's begin with: I'll Be There is one of the most charming books I've ever read.

The tone of I'll Be There pretty accurately represented wh
Rating: 3.5 Stars

Sam and Riddle Border have spent all their lives moving from place to place with their father Clarence. Clarence suffers from paranoia and mental instability, causing him to resort to thievery to live and leaving his children poorly educated and socially outcast. When Sam meets Emily Bell in a small town church, they feel an instant connection. Emily believes in destiny, she believes that she has a purpose in this world, and she also believes that Sam is the key to this fate. F
Leer que a Sam y a Emily les unía el amor por la música fue la chispa que encendió mis ganas de leer esta novela. Pues bien, resumiendo:
Emily canta un día en la iglesia y Sam la observa desde la última fila. Sus miradas se cruzan. Ella sale corriendo tras cantar I'll be there de los Jackson Five ya que tiene pánico escénico. Él sale corriendo tras ella. Ella vomita. Él sujeta su pelo. Se separan. Se enamoran.
¿Y cuánto tiempo ha transcurrido? Media hora, a lo sumo. ¿Y cuántas páginas? 30, como m
Sam Border has moved around so much that of all the homes he's lived in what he most remembers is the sounds: rain on an aluminum roof, a rattling trailer. Waves crashing on a beach. What he’d most like is to move away from his mentally unstable father, but he would never leave his brother Riddle.

Riddle Border is small for his age and doesn’t say much. Mostly he likes to draw the intricate insides of things. He looks up to his brother Sam, who is more of a father to him than his real dad will ev
Kelly (Diva Booknerd)
Loved the concept, but I just felt no connection to the characters and storyline. It should have been far more emotional, given the hand that Sam and Riddle were dealt. But I couldn't immerse myself and form any sort of attachment.
I'll be there is a romantic and adventurous story about two people who can't love each other because of their family. It's a really interesting, romantic and dramatic story.
The main character is Sam who has always lived in a camper with his dad and younger brother Riddle who never talks and always makes weird drawings in his telephone book.
Sam has never been to school or lived in a normal house. Then he meets Emily while she's singing in a church and they fall in love. Although Emily notices th
Margaret Stohl
Possibly my favorite book of 2011. This book will win awards, I'm calling it now. I think the author, Holly Goldberg Sloan, might be the top of my list in terms of YA fiction. This little book turned my heart inside out, and I haven't cared about a literary little brother like this since Charles Wallace -- or Ponyboy!
Nopety nope.

Things that went wrong
- the writing. WAY too much telling, hardly any showing. And telling in a really annoying way as well. Such short sentences e.g. "Nora waited. Emily seemed to be done. Now Nora seemed to be getting bored." It would be fine if it didn't happen so often, but the whole book is written like this. HECK NO.

- the characters. Emily is probably the blandest character I've come across this year. Sam is a bit better, but I still wouldn't hang anything onto the character de
Lovely, sweet, unique story of destiny and love-at-first-sight. Soul mates. Family. Loyalty. This novel exemplifies EM Forster's very famous, simple but profound quote: "Only connect."
Bon, que les choses soient claires, je crois que ce roman va être mon plus gros coup de coeur 2012 !
Que d'émotions, j'ai vibré durant cette lecture. MA-GNI-FI-QUE
Chiara (delicate eternity)
A copy of this novel was provided by Scholastic Australia for review.

I’m going to be completely honest here and say that I nearly did not finish I’ll Be There. I got to about 80 pages, and I wasn’t a fan of anything that had happened, or was happening, in the book. I wasn’t huge on the writing style, the characters and how very ~special~ they were, or the fact that there seemed to be no plot and very little dialogue.

But then I thought: Chiara, give this book a chance. Get to maybe 100 pages, and
My hearts a mess.

Zemira Warner
Read this review and much more on my blog, YA Fanatic.

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. S
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Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and spent her childhood living in California, the Netherlands, Istanbul, Washington, DC, and Oregon. She has written and directed a number of successful family feature films. The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband in Santa Monica, California. I'll Be There was her debut novel (she earlier had written a middle reader book called Ke ...more
More about Holly Goldberg Sloan...

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Share This Book

“For him and his brother, he now knew, that music was real. Becuase all you had to do, really, was be willing to use your imagination. And listen.” 13 likes
“The way to make the pain go away was to put your mind somewhere else. you let your mind leave and float above you, where it could watch you.” 11 likes
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