Thursday, 29 December 2011

Between the Lines by Tammara Webber

4.5 Stars (contemporary YA)

This book was great! I'm so happy I took the chance and purchased the ebook. I'll preface this whole review by saying that I hate reading books on line. I'm not a fan of the kindle or nook or any sort of ereaders and it's seriously rare that I'll go through the pain of blurred eyes and the uncomfortable placement of a computer perched on my lap for hours for anything other than a story I know I'll love.

I first read the description for Between the Lines months back, I think at the beginning of the summer, but when I realized it was only being released in ebook format I decided to forget it. It wasn't until this book popped up again on my Goodreads feed the other day and I read a great review from a friend who insisted this was a great read that I decided to give in a place my order. Honestly, I can say with certainty that I do not regret reading this book or perching the computer on my lap all night last night or having slightly blurred vision this morning. This book is worth reading.

It had everything good you could want in a YA book. Great characters with depth and emotion, a fun setting - hello movie set - amazing chemistry between the characters and laugh out loud moments of dialogue. I adored reading about Emma Pierce as she lands her first big break and gets set to star in a huge wide release re-make of one of her favourite books. She's apprehensive at first to take the film on, mainly because she's always had a stronger desire to do theater, but was pushed into film roles by her obnoxious and selfish step-mother. When Emma hears that Hollywood heartthrob Reid Alexander is set to play the lead male, she jumps at the chance to at least audition. The roles are all about chemistry and Reid and Emma have it. She's perfect for the role and lands the part. Emma and all the fellow cast members are shipped out to Autin, Texas to begin shooting and what unfolds is a great story about the starlet world as the characters deal with varying degrees of success and experience in the film industry and Emma realizes that once this movie hits the big screen, her life will never be the same. As she begins to understand that this role is her make it or break it moment, Emma also struggles with major decision about her own life. She's had a frustrating and disappointing relationship with her father, spent years playing the role of meek and mild daughter so she doesn't rock the boat and has sacrificed her own wants in the process. She's about to turn eighteen and discovers that what she wants out of life may just be possible - if she'd willing to dive in and go for it.

Like I said the characters in this story were great, not just the main cast, but the minor characters as well. Tadd was hilarious and provided some much needed comic relief, Jenna, Meredith and MiShaun, although sometimes interchangeable had their moments of cuteness and necessity. Brooke, a famous teen idol in her own right fresh off the tv show Life's a Beach where she plays the top bitch, has a complicated past with Reid and an interesting - if shadowed - relationship with Graham.
Graham - Graham, Graham, Graham. What can I say, loved the guy. Sweet, sensitive, funny, endearing, confusing, gorgeous, cagey - he was the seemingly perfect guy and you can't but love him from the start. His friendship with Emma was a key factor in this book and their developing feelings for one another provide some very interesting and confusing emotions for all involved when Emma also starts becoming enamoured of Reid. There were only a few moments - and they were slight - when I became a bit frustrated with Emma and her choices. Namely a pivitol scenes with Graham followed by a key scene with Reid and the fall out of her decisions. I can understand where she was coming from and how the two boys behaviour towards her would have been confusing for anyone - but as a reader, dramatic irony is a powerful thing. When you know something the characters don't you can't help but scream for them not to do what they're doing when you know better. Even the frustration was perfect though because it only ramped the emotional tension.

The emotions and tensions run super high in this book which is something I loved. You never quite know what's really going on as they book only fluctuates between Reid and Emma's perspective of things. I know from other reviews I've read that for some this narrowed POV was a bit of a problem. No one had an issue with Emma's POV, it's her story more than anyone else's, but Reid provided some difficulty for some.

People questioned what he brought to the story and why we needed to know so much about what he was thinking. I for one thought it was brilliant to have his side of things. For one, if we had been given Graham's perspective, we'd know way too much! He would have told us right off how he was feeling and thinking, what his secret rendez-vous with Brooke meant, what he knew about her past with Reid. We would have know it all and so the tension the book hinged on, the confusing emotions and setbacks in various relationship all would have been blown to hell within the first few chapters. With Reid's POV we only get to see what he thinks and feels about the character that surround him but not too much about the ones that matter i.e Brooke and Graham because he isn't close to either of them or in direct contact with either. It's better that everything is cagey, left unsaid and left for readers to wonder about. I think also, that readers needed to get Reid's perspective as the reigning star. He's Hollywood, he's the spoiled, selfish cad who thinks it's all about him. He thinks this way because this is all he's ever known. He's built a career based on adoration and loves it. He thrives on it. But he also uses his fame and all the things that come with it to escape the reality of what he feels and all he has to deal with at home. As readers we get glimpses into his 'real' life and it's not pretty. You can imagine that he would act and do the things he does because he's been brought up in the lap of luxury and coldness. He known nothing else and so thrives a casual hookups and moments of comfort to get by without really looking for anything meaningful or with any sort of depth. I can't say I necessarily liked him - he was an ass, and I definitely didn't like him with Emma - but I understood him character and why he was the way he was. Tammara Webber was spot on with his character. He is playing the role of tons of star we probably know and love but really know nothing about. Ultimately there was nothing predictable about this book - and with a story surrounding a bunch of actors the story could have easily become just that - predictable. Instead Webber constructed a unique and captivating plot where everything just seemed to fit.

Overall the characterization was great, the cast great, the story amusing and absorbing and I loved every minute. I was shocked by the ending, but it made perfect sense and ended perfectly. I can't wait to see what happens in book 2. I hear Graham does get a POV which I am more than happy about! BRING IT ON.

Read it, support Webber, her book is awesome and the fact that it's self published is another great factor. I hear she's trying to get these books printed and I for one would love to see these stories picked up by a publisher. They would get such a wider audience which they richly deserve.

Great story!

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