Friday, August 15, 2014

Book Review: Just Call My Name by Holly Goldberg Sloan (@hgoldbergsloan) (@lbkids)

Just Call My Name (I'll Be There #2) by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publication Date: August 5, 2014
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

My Rating:

The happily-ever-after of Holly Goldberg Sloan's acclaimed debut, I'll Be There, is turned on its head in this riveting, emotional sequel about friends, enemies, and how those roles can shift in a matter of moments.
Emily Bell has it all. She's in love with a boy named Sam Border, and his little brother has become part of her family. This summer is destined to be the best time of their lives--until a charismatic new girl in town sets her sights on Sam. Now Emily finds herself questioning the loyalty of the person she thought she could trust most.
But the biggest threat to her happiness is someone she never saw coming. Sam's criminally insane father, whom everyone thought they'd finally left behind, is planning a jailbreak. And he knows exactly where to find Emily and his sons when he escapes...and takes his revenge.
Sam, Riddle, and Emily are characters I recently came to know, after reading the first book in this series, I'll Be There. While I felt I'll Be There could stand alone, I was grateful to be able to revisit this now-family to see what came next for them.

Just Call My Name takes up exactly where the first book left off with Sam and Riddle living apart from the Bells - due to the nature of Emily and Sam's relationship - but still part of their family. Summer is just starting, and each kid has their own thing going on. Sam is starting school, Emily's started a new job, and Debbie Bell is determined to teach Riddle how to read. Pretty quickly the story takes shape by reintroducing us to the boys father, who is formulating a diabolical plan.

There are some new characters introduced in this book. Mainly, Destiny, a beautiful, but slight girl with a big personality. Coming from a background similar to Sam's, Destiny is skilled in the arts of manipulation and getting by. In the beginning I was disappointed that after everything Sam and Emily went through in book one that their relationship had to suffer further testing. There was something about Destiny that I simply didn't trust, and I guess I still feel that way.

Alongside the new faces were also some old ones I thought I could live without reading about again. However, Clarence and Bobby served their purpose in this story. In the end, I even warmed up to Bobby a little. And Clarence... What a nightmare. Holly Goldberg Sloan may write in lyrical prose, but that doesn't lessen her villain's venom. I was sickeningly satisfied with the conclusion to Clarence's story.

Riddle is still my favorite. I will always root for that kid and kids like him. It killed me that Jared was so jealous of Riddle. However, I understood. If someone came into my home at the tender age of ten and it seemed like everyone, including my dog, liked them better, I would have felt that way, too. Riddle and Jared's relationship was nice to see. It added another element to the story, that thanks to the third person omniscient point of view we got to see.

Just Call My Name is a high drama, fast paced read that elicits emotion of all sorts. There were times I wanted to scream and cry simultaneously, and spots that made me gooey inside. While you'll find familiar themes, like the color orange, this book is all its own. Well worth the read.

Think there will be a third?


  1. I haven't read the first book, but I've seen both of them around before. And they sound awesome. I can't wait to start on this myself :) Thanks for the awesome review!

  2. They really were so good. The writing style was different than I had read before, so that doubled my interest. I hope you like the series if you decide to check it out!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!