I'll Be There - by Holly Goldberg Sloan
I'll Be There

"I lost track of the time in the pages and finished the book before night."


In her popular novel, I'll Be There, Holly Goldberg Sloan illustrates a story of two brothers named Sam and Riddle Border. Clarence, the father of the two brothers, is incapable of keeping a steady job and resorts to thievery, causing the boys to retreat to new towns and escape being caught by the police. Sam and Riddle stay hidden - until Sam meets Emily.

Emily Bell, the daughter of a music professor, meets Sam in the church parking lot after singing the worst solo ever sung. From that point on, Sam and Emily fall quickly in love. Before Sam knows it, Clarence is off again and the boys leave town. Riddle, who is diagnosed with asthma and a form of autism, likes to draw mechanical parts and picks up on cooking when introduced to Debbie Bell. The Bell family's dog is captivating to Riddle and he enjoys playing with it outside when Sam visits Emily at her home. He is looked down on as the weaker of the two brothers, but by the end of the novel, Riddle is helping Sam when the two wind up in a life-threatening situation.

I like the style Sloan uses in her writing, especially when she enters the mind of Riddle and explains what his brain is thinking. The novel is moving in that it shows the brotherly relationship between Sam and Riddle and how Sam will go to extreme measures to protect his brother. Although the relationship between Sam and Emily moves quickly, the love is sweet and makes the reader experience the feelings of Emily when she is around Sam.

I'll Be There sets itself apart form other books by the different plot line. A majority of romantic books are predictable, but Sloan changes it up and throws some curve balls and makes the novel more attention grabbing. Sloan dives deep into the minds of the two brothers and describes what their lives are like.

On the whole, I enjoyed the book thoroughly. Once I picked it up and started reading the first page, I lost track of time in the pages and finished the book before night. I recommend it for readers who are looking for a book that will keep you on edge, but touch your heart in ways you never thought possible.

   - Audrey W.