I'LL BE THERE by Holly Goldberg Sloan


Age Range: 12 & up
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“Making a connection to a person can be the scariest thing that ever happens to you.” This truth hits especially hard now that Sam Border, currently known as Sam Smith, has met Emily Bell. Sam has never known many people. His father took Sam and his younger brother Riddle away from home when they were little, never to see their mother again, and ever since they’ve lived a life on the run. Clarence Border, their father, is a born liar and a cruel and abusive man, and Sam has taken on the role of protector of Riddle, who seems to be autistic. Mr. Bell, a music professor, discovers Sam’s gifts as a musician and Riddle’s skill at drawing, talents that become important to the tale. 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, but, curiously, has neglected a basic scriptwriter’s tool, dialogue, in her debut young adult novel. Too often, she violates the old writing teacher’s advice: Show, don’t tell. Too much explaining, too much going on, an overreliance on incomplete sentences and an unwieldy accumulation of subplots undermine a good story. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-12279-5
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 2011


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