Teen-aged Sam and younger brother Riddle (what a name!) have a father that is a whisper's breath from a mental institution, and Sam just hasn't figured out how to get away from him and still find his mother. Teen-aged Emily takes a smart risk, singing a solo in church one Sunday, and ends up with some good-looking boy holding her hair back after stress makes her vomit on the sidewalk outside of the sanctuary. When her mom shows up, boy disappears. Emily though can't stop thinking about him, and Sam can't stop thinking about her. Their worlds act atomic, colliding and repelling, given the multitude of issues that two teen lives and two very, very, very different family structures can bring to two folks trying to work out how to spend time together. And actually live to experience it.
Author Sloan does a sweet job of weaving these two lives together in I'll Be There. I really liked how she zeroed in on her characters but also broadens the actual storyline in a way that kept me really engaged. I have some serious visuals as a result of how she wrote the book-- let me tell you, I may never see a faded red kayak in the same way again! I will definitely look for this author in the future, and after Alysa finishes, I may just have to read it again!