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I'll Be There Hardcover – May 17, 2011

4.6 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the I'll Be There Series

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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.
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Product Details

  • 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: 5.9 x 1.2 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. S. 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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'LL BE THERE is a wonderful book. I've hesitated to write a review because I'm not sure I'll be able to really pin down its excellence, explain why it was so satisfying. A lot of things I guess. The writing is beautiful and spare, balanced. Sloan communicates intense emotion, scenes both troubling and lovely, in a balanced way that sinks right down to the nerve but never gives you whiplash. The setting is contemporary, everyday, but there's a whiff of fairy tale about the whole book in the most marvelous way. The three young heroes, Emily, Sam, and Riddle, leap right off the page. I loved all three of them.

It does everything just right. The bond between Sam and Riddle. Sam's wariness, Emily's determination, the advance and retreat of their relationship. The menace of Sam and Riddle's father, who's completely unhinged. And I'LL BE THERE has one of the most satisfying endings of any book I've read in a while. No spoilers - just that in a book that's so excellent on every page, throwing out all the stops and bringing it to such a perfect conclusion is a marvel.

Highly recommended. Wonderful, wonderful book.
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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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I'LL BE THERE is a beautifully-written, haunting debut by Holly Goldberg Sloan. It tells the story of two brothers, Sam and his younger brother Riddle, raised in a harrowing and sheltered home. Sam is at the age where he wants to join the outside world. This comes in the form of Emily, a girl who he sees at church one day. Their fierce love for each other is what this book is centered around. It's a gorgeous story of family loyalty, young love. It has lots of laughs, a climactic adventure scene, and wonderful characters you won't soon forget.
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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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