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I'll Be There Hardcover – May 17, 2011


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 810L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (May 17, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316122793
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316122795
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #869,724 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A harrowing survival story.... Sam and Riddle are wonderfully appealing characters....  A highly suspenseful read with a dynamic, cinematic quality that keeps the pages turning to the satisfying conclusion." 

--BOOKLIST 4/1/11


"Sloan, a film writer and director (Angels in the Outfield and Made in America ), has fashioned a cast of memorable characters with compelling stories and relationships
."   --KIRKUS  4/1/11

"Readers will love the sense of karmic justice and the depth of character in this beautiful and moving story about how two boys journey toward home." -- ROMANTIC TIMES 3/31/11

Sloan delivers a cinematic, psychologically nuanced first novel of star-crossed love and the power of human empathy and connection. Her skills as a writer are never in doubt.
--PUBLISHERS WEEKLY copyright 04/11/11

Sam and Riddle are two of the most utterly sympathetic characters to grace a page; there aren't enough warm, fuzzy blankets in the world to wrap around these deserving boys. --THE BULLETIN FOR THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS copyright June 2011

A 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults Book
A 2011 Los Angeles Public Library Best of YA Book
A 2011 Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book
A Holland Golden List Award Winner


* "Illustrates how we are all connected in big and small, positive and negative ways....[This] riveting story will keep readers interested and guessing until the end."—School Library Journal, starred review

* "[A] life-affirming exploration of the subtleties of love, compassion, and relationships. . . . Like the song it was named for, this book is hard to get out of your head."
The Horn Book, starred review

* "Sloan builds characters rich with depth and realism.... A terrific read, quick to capture the audience, this book will make readers sing the melody in their hearts."—VOYA, starred review

"[Sloan] has fashioned a cast of memorable characters with compelling stories and relationships."—Kirkus Reviews

"Sam and Riddle are wonderfully appealing characters that readers will root for....A highly suspenseful read with a dynamic, cinematic quality that keeps the pages turning to the satisfying conclusion."—Booklist

"Sloan delivers a cinematic, psychologically nuanced first novel...[and] excels at crafting memorable characters and relationships."—Publishers Weekly

About the Author

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 is her debut novel.

More About the Author

Holly Goldberg Sloan was born in Michigan and spent her childhood living in Holland, Turkey, Washington DC, California and Eugene, Oregon. She has written and directed a number of successful feature films. The mother of two sons, Holly lives with her husband, Gary Rosen, in Santa Monica, California. Her novel I'll Be There has been acknowledged by:

* Children's Literature Council of Southern California 2012 Award for YA Fiction
* YALSA Best Books for Young Adults (2012)
* A Los Angeles Library Best Book For Teens (2012)
* Milwaukee County Teen Book Finalist (2011)
* Chicago Public Library Best of the Best (2012)
* Field Family Teen Author Pick Free Public Library Philadelphia 2011

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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I'll Be There is a magical tale of family, hope and love.
AReader'sRecord
It was quite literally a tactile as well as a cerebral pleasure reading this beautiful debut novel by Holly Goldberg Sloan.
Angela Thompson
For the most part though the story was good and like I said, the characters were engaging.
My Favorite Pastime

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Richie Partington VINE VOICE on May 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Intertwining a gripping survival story with a sweet tale of innocent first love, I'LL BE THERE is one of the best and most memorable books for twelve-years-and-up that will be published in 2011, and is one of my biggest finds at the recent ALA Midwinter meeting in San Diego.

Seventeen year-old Sam and his twelve year-old brother Riddle were kidnapped by their father -- a murderer and a thief -- a decade ago. Maintaining their anonymity over the years, their father has regularly moved them from place to place around the country (and sometimes out of it), keeping his truck equipped with a supply of stolen license plates, and packed as to be ready to leave at a moment's notice as he settles briefly in town after town to then live off of his break-ins into cars and houses. Every day, the two boys are forced to scavenge for their own food and otherwise fend for themselves. Sam, who has not been in school since the abduction -- when he was in second grade -- has raised the near-mute and sickly Riddle, who suffers from severe and never-treated asthma; who spends his days creating amazingly intricate drawings of the insides of mechanical objects on the pages of a telephone book; and who has never set foot in a school.

"The days of the week meant nothing to him."Except Sunday."

Sam, a self-taught guitar player loves music and seeks out churches on Sundays where he can slip in, mostly unobserved, and listen to music being sung and played. So it is that he is hiding out alone in the back row of the First Unitarian Church on the Sunday that Emily Bell is compelled by her college music professor father to perform a solo rendition of "I'll Be There" during the service.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Karen on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'll Be There is an instant classic! The teen characters of Sam, Emily and younger brother Riddle jump off the page and feel like long lost friends. This book highlights that everyone can make a difference and it's all about connecting with others. Happy endings do come in small packages, even as small as a penny. This is a must read for tweens, teens and adults of all ages.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Stout TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I happened upon this book at the library and I am so glad that I did. This book is advertised for young readers but you will be missing out if you are an adult and don't read "I'll Be There." Yes, it says a lot to young readers but the messages imparted are actually universally appreciated.

It is a story of mental illness, violence, abuse - and also of families and homes, of brothers, and moms and dads, of friendship, despair and hope, of romance, of music, of differences, of laughter and tears.

Each and every character in the book comes alive on the pages, each one fully developed. The story fell into place, each piece fitting so neatly together.

I loved that the ending came together so well and tied everything up with a big red bow.

I would recommend this book to anyone - it's the best I've read in a long time - and one I'll remember far into the future.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Hudson on November 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sam doesn't remember too much from before his dad took him and his little brother away from home for a life on the run. He just knows that it's important that he not attract attention to himself when he goes out. But when he makes a connection with Emily, he suddenly doesn't want to be anonymous anymore. Soon Sam and his younger brother Riddle are interacting with other people for the first time in 10 years. Even though they know it won't be long before their father moves them along again, they want to stay and find out what normal life is like.

From the opening lines of I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan I was hooked on Sam Border's story. Which is why I found myself wanting to race through this story even though it's not the kind of book you would expect to be a page turner.

Sam has learned to cope with his dad's mental illness and angry outbursts, and he fiercely takes care of Riddle, who has always had health problems. The mom in me ached to see these two boys rescued from their situation.

And Emily's relationship with Sam is touching. She knows he's different, but she would never guess the reason why. And when her whole family becomes interested in the two boys, she can't imagine the consequences that will result for all of them. Indeed, everyone who appears in the book has their lives touched in some way by Sam and Emily, even if they didn't know how those connections came about.

I highly recommend I'll Be There for mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 12 and up. Issues to discuss include what makes up a family, what attracts and repels us to other people, mental illness, parents kidnapping their children, wilderness survival and more.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By O. Lisa on November 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover
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 father to sing a solo in church and sees Sam sitting on the back pew, something in the cosmic order of things shifts and their encounter will trigger a series of events which will change, once and for all, not only Sam, Riddle and Emily's lives profoundly but the lives of all people who will get caught in this devastating snowball effect.

I'll admit straight away that I liked this book against my better judgement.
Said judgement was purely based on emotional reasons, namely on the character of Riddle Border. If I had to choose a kid to adopt, this kid would be like him. His thoughts, his story, his drawings, the world seen through his eyes were the best part of the story for me and the main reason why I liked this book. I recommend you to read I'll Be There if only for Riddle.

When I look at it with my analytical skills though, there are various things which didn't convince me or didn't care for.

The first, is the writing style. To tell you the truth, it is pretty much in line with my first statement, that is that this is a fairy tale. Simple, concise, direct. But it unnerved me. I felt like the author was trying to talk to me like you would to a little kid, presenting facts in a linear order, making it simple for my simple mind.
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