Steph Su's Reviews > I'll Be There

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
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's review
Jun 02, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: debs11, cover-lust, own, best-of-11
Read from May 15 to 16, 2011

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 extraordinary boy—model-worthy looks, raw musical talent, swooningly romantic—but made sympathetic and real by all the hardships he has had to endure. Unlike other beautiful and talented love interests in YA fiction, Sam does not seek the spotlight, which endears him all the more to us. His lack of awareness of his own specialness is his best trait.

I’LL BE THERE is told from multiple points of view, covering everyone from Emily, the girl who draws Sam and Riddle out of their shells, to Riddle, smart and determined and existing in a bubble of lack of oxygen, to the various adults who come in and out of these two boys’ lives. This is a technique we don’t see often in YA, and yet I think works exceptionally well at riveting our eyes to the page especially during the later, most suspenseful moments of the book, when I literally couldn’t put the last 250 or so pages down.

There is nothing flashy about Holly Goldberg Sloan’s writing: instead, the magic of the writing and story comes from the characters and predicaments themselves. Don’t expect to find a regular ole contemporary story of trial and triumph in these pages: I’LL BE THERE contains truly enviable story craftsmanship, and is a unique, and uniquely told, story that you will find difficult to not read in one sitting. Magical, indeed.
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Reading Progress

05/15 page 41
10.0% "I am love-love-loving this. There's something about this omniscient third-person narrator and the writing style that completely works for me."
05/15 page 84
21.0% "There's a sort of magic in the writing; now I just want the magic to appear in the romance!"
05/16 page 128
32.0% "This is a book about literacies!"
05/16 page 182
46.0% "Oh, to meet a guy like Sam in real life..."
05/16 page 400
100.0% "Wow. Couldn't put it down for the past 2 hours. So suspenseful!"
06/29 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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G.C. Nash Love this review!

Brittany (UnderTheRadarBooks) Great review Steph!

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