Holly Goldberg Sloan

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.
Told from multiple perspectives, Holly Goldberg Sloan's debut novel offers readers fresh voices and a gripping story, with vivid glimpses into the lives of many unique characters. Beautifully written and emotionally profound, I'll Be There is a story about connections both big and small, and deftly explores the many ways that our lives are woven together.

Download & Read Chapter One
  I’ll Be There, is about the importance of time and place and individual action. It’s about finding your way when you are lost. And it is about the joy of being found. It is about families, personal responsibility and individual talent. It’s also about consequences.
When I was a little kid—I didn't want to wear shoes. This was a problem, not just because I'm allergic to bees, but because the world doesn't respond well to bare-foot people, unless you are on a beach.
So it was a struggle.
I was ordered to put on the shoes and I eventually would. But as soon as the authorities weren't looking, I took them off. And sometimes what taking them off meant was losing them. Who wants to carry shoes?
I don't remember this, because I was too young. But my mother says that she recalls sitting me down, and asking me why I always wanted to go barefoot.
I told her that I needed to feel the ground.
Was it hot or cold or rough or smooth or squishy? I had to know.
I think what I was really saying was that I needed to feel the world and connect to the steps I took in life. I wanted to see my own footprints. And I wanted everyone else to take off their shoes so that I could see the trail others left behind.
Even as a little kid I thought the path made a difference.
And that is in some way what my book is about.
The title of my novel is from the song made famous forty years ago by the Jackson 5.
My favorite line is:
'Where there is love, I'll be there'.
Holly Goldberg Sloan, January 11, 2011
Sam was in second grade and the star of his class, reading books for fifth graders. Ten years later, he could still picture exactly what that classroom looked like.
He'd never seen another one since.
SAM ...always listening for my brother, even when he's only silent. I can shut my eyes and hear my guitar. Running water. Branches of trees in the wind. Sounds of all kinds. But really it is only quiet when I dream, and that is always in color. SAM'S PLAYLIST
RIDDLE ... the inside of everything is different from the outside. It takes many pieces to make something whole. But even if the bits are in the right places, the thing can be broken. If you look at anything you can see lines. But you are seeing only light. Without the light everything disappears. RIDDLE’S PLAYLIST
EMILY BELL ...somewhere out there is the person who will change the direction of my life. Everyone has that person. But do you only know that later? EMILY'S PLAYLIST
DEBBIE BELL ...food is comforting, and so is talking and eating and being together as a
family. There is the family you were born into and the family you choose. Everyone has something that they have to overcome. And everyone needs support at some time or another. No one gets it all. The secret to finding joy is to appreciate the small things, but understand their larger meaning. DEBBIE'S PLAYLIST
TIM BELL ...balance is what music is about. And maybe the same is true for life. Being a husband and a father and a professor. If you are a teacher, it is important not to lecture in other areas of life. A true teacher is a great listener. And so is a great musician. TIM'S PLAYLIST
FELIX BELL ...a dog's job is 24/7. You are watching and guarding and protecting. And then there is sleep. A very big deal. But eating is the best time of day. Even better than going for a walk is a good bowl of food. The world has so many smells. My favorite is bacon cooking on the hot stove, followed by the smell of the inside of a sweaty shoe–both so strong and so filled with promise. FELIX'S PLAYLIST
SHELLY BORDER ...would you know my name if I saw you in heaven?
CLARENCE ...no one understands. They just pretend. I'm not responsible for how things have gone down. I'm not. No how. No way. I'm a believer. But no one understands that pain. CLARENCE'S PLAYLIST
BOBBY ELLIS ...it's strange to be on the inside, but not really feel that way. I can be laughing and right in the middle of it all, but it never feels how I think it should. Even when I'm winning it feels like not enough. BOBBY'S PLAYLIST
JARED ...they think I'm too young to get it. They're wrong. I see it all. But at my age, sleeping with a plastic pirate sword under your bed doesn't mean you're a baby. JARED'S PLAYLIST
about the books Cover Art
About all the type that is surrounding the book above: This is a 'WORDLE' of I'll Be There, Chapter One. 'WORDLE' is an on-line toy that can generate "word clouds" from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. It's fun! You can make your own by CLICKING HERE.
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