I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan
My enjoyment rating: 2 of 5 stars
Hangover rating: 2
Genre: Young Adult
Objectionable material: None
After a chance meeting in a church sanctuary, Sam Border and Emily Bell knew instantly that each other was special. But Sam's family circumstances were mysterious -- he doesn't go to school, doesn't have a cell phone, and his little brother, Riddle, was always at his heel. After an act of vandalism at Emily's home, Sam and Riddle disappear. And Emily isn't sure she will ever see either one of them again.
After reading Holly Goldberg Sloan's 2nd novel, Counting by 7s, I knew I wanted to back track and read her first. It had great reviews -- I knew I'd love it...well...not so much.
And here's the thing -- has anyone read Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle? Well --for me -- that's what this book was -- a fictionalized, Young Adult, male version of her story. Sure there were differences: Sam was Jeannette, he only had one sibling, and there was a love story involving Emily and a happy family ending, but it was like the author decided, "wow -- what a great idea for a book!"
There were other issues -- weird characters, unbelievable coincidences, death defying injuries -- so for the most part, it just didn't work for me.
That being said, Sam and Riddle were the best parts of the book. I loved reading about their relationship and intimate bond. Beautifully done.
This was highly rated, so I'm in the minority. You may want to still give it a try.