on May 31, 2016
Source: Greenwillow Books
In a single night—graduation night—Thomas has to decide: Do what everyone has always expected of him? Or forge an entirely new path? Bryan Bliss’s absorbing examination of one boy struggling with expectations and realities will appeal to readers of Sara Zarr and Chris Crutcher.
Thomas is supposed to leave for the army in the morning. His father was Army. His brother, Jake, is Army—is a hero, even, with the medals to prove it. Everyone expects Thomas to follow in that fine tradition. But Jake came back from overseas a completely different person, and that has shaken Thomas’s certainty about his own future. And so when his long-estranged friend Mallory suggests one last night of adventure, Thomas takes her up on the distraction. Over the course of this single night, Thomas will lose, find, resolve, doubt, drive, explore, and leap off a bridge. He’ll also face the truth of his brother’s post-traumatic stress disorder and of his own courage. In Bryan Bliss’s deft hands, graduation night becomes a night to find yourself, find each other, find a path, and know that you always have a place—and people—to come back to.
Everything changed because of a slap. Thomas had a plan but then Mallory slapped her boyfriend Will on graduation night. It shouldn’t have affected Thomas at all since Thomas and Mallory haven’t been best friends or even really talked to each other since before seventh grade. But it did because she bee lined for Thomas begging him to take her home. And that was it, Thomas’ life changed forever.
Thomas is a guy who knows about duty and courage, wusses and cowards. It’s in his DNA. His stern, inflexible, demanding veteran of a dad has made sure of that. Even though Thomas’ brother came back from his tour a hero, came back a ghost, it doesn’t change the expectation that Thomas will enlist the day after graduation—in everyone’s mind except Thomas’. But Mallory takes him on a detour that is more than a ride home.
The weight of MEET ME HERE is as heavy as the load on Thomas’ shoulders and as real as my own memories. The characters are drawn so well I feel like they’re my own friends. The burden Thomas carries is heavy on my shoulders. The dialogue so rich it’s my native tongue. Read it. Let it move you, change you.