I'll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan, published by Piccadilly Press on 24th May 2012
Raised by an unstable father who keeps the family constantly on the move, Sam Border hasn't been in a classroom since the second grade. He's always been the rock for his younger brother Riddle, who stopped speaking long ago and instead makes sense of the world through his strange and intricate drawings. It's said that the two boys speak with one voice--and that voice is Sam's.
Then, Sam meets Emily Bell, and everything changes. The two share an immediate and intense attraction, and soon Sam and Riddle find themselves welcomed into the Bell's home. Faced with normalcy for the first time, they know it's too good to last.
A story that will genuinely touch your heart, 'I'll Be There' is the debut of author Holly Goldberg Sloan. After only a few pages, I found myself immediately rooting for brothers Sam and Riddle and desperately hoping that life would take a turn for the better for them both.
One of the things that I found so different about this book was the fact that there's very few passages of dialogue throughout the whole story. Instead, a third person narrator tells the story of how Sam met Emily and his life changed forever. Emily feels an attration to Sam but as she becomes more involved with him, her whole family open the doors of their home to him and his younger brother Riddle. Emily's parents' relationship with the boys was so touching, particularly the bond that formed between her mother and Riddle who has never really known a mother's love.
Half-way through the book the story went in a slightly different direction to the one I was expecting but that was okay because I actually loved this turn of events and found myself enjoying the second part of the book even more than the first. Having connected with all the characters I was engrossed in 'I'll Be There' and raced through it in one evening. I'll admit to reading most of it with my fingers crossed, desperately hoping for a happy ending. I won't reveal how it does conclude except to say that Holly Goldberg Sloan couldn't have written a more fitting or more perfect ending.
One of the central ideas in the book was of people entering each other's lives, no matter how briefly and making a difference, sometimes changing someone's life forever. This was really inspiring. The power of human kindness is also extremely evident in the love that the Bell family show to Sam and Riddle who have never experienced anything like it before.
This book has soul - it's a read that will make you hug the people you love and hold them close. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this wonderful story to others.