Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Here Without You (Between The Lines #4) by Tammara Webber

From Amazon.com

Everyone has secrets.
Some are buried so deep, their existence is forgotten.
But a secret never told can turn into a lie.
And in love, a lie is one thing:

Reid's in love with Dori, though she hasn't told her parents that she's fallen hard for the guy they'd forbidden her to see. Now she's leaving for college, and Reid's promise not to push her to go public is wearing thin, especially when she can't - or won't - return those three important words he wants to hear.

Five years ago, Brooke and Reid were a Thing. That relationship is long gone, detonated amid allegations of cheating - but they still share a secret that would stun everyone they know and alter public perception of them both if it ever comes out. And it's about to do just that.

Here Without You is the fourth, final installment in the Between the Lines series, which includes: Between the Lines, Where You Are, and Good For You.


**SPOILER Warning** While I try my hardest not to include spoilers in my reviews, this is the fourth in the series & it would be hard to say what I love about this book without referencing things that happen earlier in the Between The Lines series.  If you are new to the series, then you might not want to read further.

If you read my Best of 2013...So Far post, you know that I love Tammara Webber. When she announced Here Without You I was excited and a little nervous. Good For You was my favorite of the Between The Lines series.  With that book, she surprised me time & time again.  The biggest surprise was that she made me fall for Reid Alexander. So, hearing that this book was a continuation of Reid's story thrilled me because I couldn't wait to spend more time with him, but I was afraid because any good book has to have conflict & I thought that Reid & Dori had suffered enough.  The last thing they needed in their life was Brooke & her drama resurfacing.

However, I knew there needed to be a fourth book to deal with one major detail. In Between The Lines, we learn that though Reid & Brooke's relationship self-destructed years earlier, part of them lived on in the child they created.  Brooke gave him up for adoption & moved on with her life, but was never able to completely forget him.  Reid, thinking Brooke had cheated on him, never believed the child was his & so never gave him another thought.  By the end of Good For You, both Reid & Brooke had grown & matured (mainly through learning from the consequences of their bad decisions), but they both had a way to go.

When we start Here Without You, we find that very little time has passed since we last saw them, and they all are dealing with secrets. Dori doesn't know how to tell her parents that she is dating Reid;  Reid doesn't know how to tell Dori that he has a child; and Brooke doesn't know how to tell anyone about her decision to find her son.  Each of the characters handles their secrets in their own way, but they all know that no good secret stays hidden long...especially not when your every move is chronicled & critiqued on the internet by "adoring" fans.

Tammara unravels & reveals everything with the complexity & grace that I have come to expect from her.  There are ups & downs & bumps in the road along the way for everyone involved, and more than ever before in this series, Here Without You went beyond being a love story.  It is a story of redemption & growth.  Both Reid & Brooke had to grow up & deal with the choices they made when they were thrust into celebrity at a young age without any real adult supervision.  It's hard to remember at times that they are still only 19 & 20 as they are having to make adult decisions that will change the direction of their lives and their careers, decisions that I'm not sure many people would be able to handle at that age.

The challenge this book faced for me was that it is more Brooke's story than Reid's.  Brooke had her moments in Between The Lines that made me think she might have a glimmer of hope of being a decent person, but Where You Are took all of that away.  We got to see that her conniving, scheming, selfish side is much more prominent & that any moment in which she was acting for someone else's benefit, she usually profited in some way.  So, when we find her alone & hated by everyone in Here Without You, I couldn't find it in myself to feel sorry for her.  She needed to earn my respect as well as the forgiveness of those that she hurt along the way.  Despite this, Tammara does a great job of reminding us that no person is beyond redemption.

I couldn't have asked for a more satisfying conclusion to this series.  While not everything works out perfectly, everything works out as it should.  Good For You is still my favorite of the series, but this one comes in as a close second.

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