Holly Goldberg Sloan
Published: April 2015
Reviewed by Debbie Berger
Emily comes from a loving family. Sam and his younger brother Riddle definitely do not. Destiny has them meet each other but eventually a series of terrible events tear them apart. Will destiny bring them back together?
Emily Bell is singing in her local church choir when by a twist of fate she crosses paths with Sam. Sam lives with his younger brother and father in a highly dysfunctional family. Their father is unstable, as well as a seasoned thief and a criminal who packs the boys up and leaves town whenever the law gets close to catching up with him. The boys don’t attend school and they spend their days searching for food in dumpsters. When Emily’s family take in Sam and Riddle the boys know it is too good to last. When their father finds a mobile phone they have been hiding he kidnaps them and leaves town again. This is where the adventure and suspense begin as Emily’s family worry about finding the boys with no way of knowing where they have been taken.
This modern tale will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wonder how the story will end. Will the boys be found? Will they survive? Will Emily get over her first true love? I’ll Be There is well written and is riveting right to the end. It is about destiny and how a chance meeting can change one’s life. Full of sadness and emotion, I personally felt moved at how Sam and Riddle had to endure such neglect at the hands of their father. The story stuck with me long after I read it. Recommended for middle school students 12+ who like realistic fiction.