Between the Lines by Tammara Webber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this warmly engaging read from start to finish. It's more of an acoustic singer/songwriter piece than a senses assaulting rave (no crazy "teen lingo" or wacky style devices), and the pace and your engagement with the characters builds slowly, but intensely, as the story unfolds. It's a POV of two characters, the somewhat (but not completely) naive Emma, a young actress appearing in her first major film, and Reid, a mega teen idol playing the lead, and he hopes, playing Emma as well. To me Emma was the main attraction of the book, and it seemed like it was really her story. Other reviews have even questioned what Reid's POV added, but although he does seem like a classic Mr. Wickham-style cad, he has a backstory and lots going on that make him relatable and interesting, if ultimately unappealing. There's enough to him that you can see why Emma is attracted, even beyond the obvious. I did feel like shouting "Don't go in there, Emma," more than once, but that just added to the fun. A sequel is planned, and I suspect we may see him working out some of those issues therein, I hope so, his story with his parents, and Brooke, the naughty image co-star with a secret, are definitely worthy of further exploration. Emma's friend Emily is a great character too, not just as a foil for Emma's thoughts (and lots of backstory), but as a charming and quirky person on her own. Graham, the other main male character is everything one could hope for in a YA mysterious indie loner dude, and Emma's struggle to understand him, and her feelings for him (and his for her?) are unrolled at just the right pace to build tension and interest, without being downright frustrating. This has been one of the best books I've read this year, right up with favs like Lauren Barnholdt. I hope it does well, it is a self-publication on Kindle and Nook (I read it on my Nook), and though lots of people do have access that way, not everyone does, so I hope it works out for the author. For the $.99 price tag, I definitely got $99.00 worth of enjoyment. Did I mention that it's long enough to be satisfying, too? Super short novels are fun, but this is a main course, not just a couple appetizers snagged from a Wish catering tray as Kristy sashays by. Congratulations to Tammara Webber, and here's hoping for a long and happy writing career.
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