Between the Lines – by Tammara Webber
Emma Pierce just got it. Her big break. That one huge movie that can create a career. It’s a modernisation of Pride and Prejudice, set against the backdrop of an American high school. The reason this movie has the potential to make Emma a star is her co-star, Hollywood’s hottest commodity, Reid Alexander. The thing is, Emma’s not completely convinced that she wants the huge career. She loves acting, but it’s not about the fame. And she can’t help but feel there’s more to life than the glitz of the silver screen.
Reid always knows what he wants. And knows how to get it. Money? Yep. Fame? Uh-huh. Girls? Ha! Of course. And now Reid wants Emma. There’s something about her – maybe because she’s so close to his world and yet so far. Whatever the reason, he’s determined to tick Emma off his to do list.
Emma knows Reid’s interested. Reid’s gorgeous, great to talk to and boy can he put on the charm. But Emma isn’t convinced he’s after anything more than a night, and that’s something she’s got no time for. And then there’s Graham, another young co-star. He’s nothing like his character, Bill Collins – he’s sweet and interesting (and yes, really freaking cute). The only problem is that although Graham and Emma hang out all the time, he seems to be seeing Brooke. Emma’s seen him coming out of Brooke’s room more than once. So why is he still so interested in Emma? The mixed signals from both these boys are enough to do her head in!
This book was a lot of fun. It’s told from alternating POVs, something I don’t always enjoy, but that worked well in this context. Getting inside both Emma and Reid’s heads allowed the reader a great insight into situations that can be seen so differently by either person.
I really liked Emma. Initially, she was a little too along-for-the-ride, seemingly caught up in a movie career she wasn’t all that interested in. But as we got to know her it became clear how much passion Emma has for her work – and, just as importantly, how much more she wants from life than to be just another starlet. Emma has bigger dreams than the red carpets, something I can absolutely respect. Her family life is, as can be expected, not exactly typical. One of my favourite B plots was the gradual easing of tensions between Emma and her emotionally distant father. That’s one storyline that always gets me – in a lot of ways your relationship with your parents is more relevant than your romantic entanglements.
Reid definitely had shades of poor-little-rich-boy. But – thankfully – that’s not all he was. His home life is suffering from teen-star-itis, his parents miserable, and his love life about the depth of a cup of coffee. Even at his most calculating, as Reid manipulates his way closer to Emma, he’s a very sympathetic character. One who’ll be a good guy, one day, when he grows up.
Graham, the remaining side of this triangle, is the balance. He’s very different to Reid – much less interested in the fame – and comes across as much more genuine. His motives remain suspect, however, and since we don’t peek inside his head (in this volume, anyway) we’ve less reason to trust Graham.
I’ve mentioned before that I’m getting pretty sick of love triangles. Am I ever. But what I enjoyed about Webber’s version of the requisite teen love triangle was that the struggle was almost completely internal, as Emma grappled with herself over what she wanted, and who she could trust. This was a refreshing change, and kept the focus on what was important: not which guy was the cutest or wants Emma the most, but which guy was right for Emma.
I absolutely recommend Between the Lines to fans of Sarah Dessen, Jennifer E Smith, and Huntley Fitzpatrick. Light, fluffy, and very readable. (I’ll be on to the next one soon, it’s already on the pile, ready to go!)