Sunday, May 15, 2011

I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 400
Buy This Book: Amazon

I'll Be There is as simple as it is inspiring, and gentle with the feeling of deep, roiling waters of philosophy. Remarkable for a debut, Holly Goldberg Sloan weaves a tale of love and beauty while exploring the depths of the relationship of one human being to another. She starts the tale by introducing one of our main characters, Emily Bell. She's an average person, but that doesn't make her mold into the background-likewise, being average has made her a personality collector, a human being who loves the stories of others. When her father, a professional musician, offers her the chance to sing in the church choir, Emily reluctantly says yes. Everybody knows that she is the most horrible singer in the world, but her father won't pass up the chance to change Emily into a musical prodigy. 

When Sunday comes, and Emily is suddenly singing the lyrics to the Jackson Five's I'll Be There, a boy comes in and sits in the last row. As Emily feels more and more nauseous listening to herself sing, she decides she's going to sing this song to this boy, and she's going to sing her heart out and ignore everybody else, because that's the only thing that would allow her to survive for the rest of the song. And she does. But by the end, she's she sick and embarrassed that she goes outside to throw up; and there's the boy, holding her hair as her breakfast boils into a disgusting heap in the parking lot. 

But then he disappears, and nobody knows who he is. 

As Emily Bell, the personality collector who craves for the life story of this one boy who she has never known, and never met, lives entwine with her own to create a beautiful story that resonates with hope and endurance, that tells us all we ever need is love and trust to be anything we ever wanted.


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