Where You Are by Tammara Webber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
School Pride has wrapped up, nothing left for the cast to do but some promotional events and interviews, and of course, the premiere. So Emma Pierce, soon to be star, has been back home, trying her hardest to live that "normal" life that seems so appealing and yet elusive. At the urging of her bff Emily, she's even dating a regular boy, albet somewhat unenthusiastically, and trying to put the emotional uproar of the past few months behind her. And then she meets Graham Douglas again ...
This sequel to Between the Lines picks up where that one ended, the morning after Emma and Graham's chance encounter at the coffee shop. As they come to recognize and acknowledge the depth and intensity of their feelings for each other, they have to deal with the obstacles of a long distance relationship, their own somewhat reticent natures and history, and, more dramatically, the attention and nefarious intentions of Brooke and Reid, who aren't finished with them yet. Brooke's plan to nab Graham for herself, with the assistance of Reid, who she enlists in her scheme with the promise that he can pick up the pieces of Emma when she prevails, is the main story line, and it is one that will keep you reading, biting your nails, and cursing that bitchy, brittle and broken Brooke, well beyond the time you promised you'd turn out the lights, stop reading and try to get some sleep before work in the am. Good luck with that, my friend, it won't be easy!
This one is told in four shifting POV's - Emma, Graham, Brooke and Reid. This is a relief, after the opacity of Graham's thought processes in BTL. It retains the closeness we feel to Emma and Graham, and continues to hold out the tantalizing possiblity that there's more to Reid than he lets on. Brooke's point of view, while revealing the world of hurt she's coming from, doesn't (for me at least) make her a whole lot more sympathetic or relatable. Maybe the subtitle of this should be "Hoping for Brooke's Comeuppance," because I spent a good part of the book wishing for that! But, back to POV's. While the first book felt to me like it was Emma's story, this one feels like it's Graham's turn. We come to understand the basis for his hands-off, non-possessive attitude (whether we like it or not, or feel like yelling "Use your powers, Superman!," as he hurtles ever closer to the ground). And learning his history and spending more time with Cara and his family is really enjoyable, too.
The story of this one is fun, despite the almost overwhelming tension created by the machinations of the two antagonists, but again for me, there's an elusive something beyond the plot, characters and setting that makes these books special. Tammara's writing is seductive and immersive - you're reading along in the regular way, and suddenly realize that you've been drawn into her world so deeply that hours have passed, you're hungry, and that bathroom break you've been postponing is long overdue, and still you don't want to stop! It's a kind of dreamy but vivid style that I wish I were astute enough to analyze, but prefer to just enjoy.
There are three teaser chapters for the next book, Good For You, included, and they promise a different direction, focusing on Reid this time, as he meets someone different than the actresses and society girls he usually hangs with. The promise of sparks between them makes me look forward to this one, as much as I anticipated Where You Are.
So, just to be perfectly clear, I loved this book, the characters, the story, the writing and look forward to enjoy Tammara's exploration of this lovingly and richly imagined foursome. Could there be someone who can heal Brooke's hurts? Or is she so bereft of the capacity for real love that she'll have to just make her own way in the world, without the tender touch of Tammara's obvious affection for her little cast? Time will tell, but I, for one, would love to read about it!
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