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I’ve got a big secret for you: as much as I try to act otherwise, I’m nothing more than a celebrity whore. I can’t help it. Our culture of celebrity obsession has me firmly entrenched. Besides reading and reviewing YA fiction, Ellen and I do little more than gossip: who is dating whom, who is wearing what, who is getting married, who is getting divorced, and which celebrity relationship is the most over the top. And then there’s the celebrity babies! Squee!! Honestly, we can’t stop. So let me tell you, an entire book about celebrity teens dating and acting scandalously is perhaps the best thing to ever happen to YA fiction. We get all of our fixes in one place and even though I’ve overdosed, I’m not ashamed to say that I liked it. A lot. (Okay, more than a lot. I’m pathetic. Sigh.)
Seventeen year old Emma Pierce has wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember and for the last several years she has steadily worked in her chosen field doing commercials and Lifetime movies, hoping for her big break. She finally gets it after a steamy audition with teen super star Reid Alexander and is cast as the lead in a high school adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Filming begins shortly afterward in Austin, Texas and Emma is thrown together with a group of teen celebrities, each hoping to become as big a star as Hollywood’s golden boy Reid. After several days of partying and filming, Emma forms an unlikely attachment to dark and thoughtful indie actor Graham Douglas. While Graham seems interested, sharing a brief but memorable kiss with her, it’s ultimately Reid who stakes a claim on Emma. Graham steps back, taking on the role of friend while Emma is pursued heavily by the hard-partying wild child Reid. Emma finally allows Reid past her defenses but can’t get rid of the nagging feeling that he isn’t right for her. As filming slowly draws to a close, Emma is forced to make a lot of life changing choices: whether to attend college or see what the future holds for her in acting; whether to move to New York or stay in California; and whether to let Reid Alexander claim her completely when she has more than a passing interest in the sweet yet reserved Graham. In the end, she chooses college over the immediacy of fame and chooses the boy who is perfect for her even with all of his flaws.
Uhh, have I mentioned that I like celebrities? It’s funny that after living in NYC for the last 12 years and seeing my fair share of them that they can still strike me speechless. I’m like a star struck teen who doesn’t understand the concept of television vs reality and when I catch one buying a vente latte at the Starbucks on Astor Place, well, I just swoon. (And clutch at my husband madly trying to pry his fingers off his cell phone which has a remarkably better camera than mine). Seriously, these people can’t be real! And I guess this sense of wonder, of awe is what makes Between the Lines so gosh darn entertaining. We all have more than a fleeting obsession with these people and even Emma our heroine does too. It’s refreshing to see stars in awe of other stars. It’s realism at its finest.
Between the Lines is an extremely well written portrayal of celebrity life and culture. We have Emma, the struggling actress who gets a big break and is thrust amongst Oscar nominated actors and teen super stars. Her foil is Reid, the Hollywood It Boy whose hard partying ways (think drugs, alcohol, women, lack of empathy, and a tendency toward the megalomaniacal) are ignored by everyone and even embraced by women everywhere. And in the middle of these two comes the Indie actor (a bit heavy-handed, yes) Graham who’s a combination of both these worlds. Now what I liked best about this book was the fact that you did not have any clue who Emma would end up with until the very end. I mean, we get alternating viewpoints throughout the story and Reid being one of them was extremely misleading. I kept reading his thoughts and was all, why on earth is he the hero? What a douche! But I kept hoping he would redeem himself because if we are privy to his internal dialogue than he has to be the hero right? Well that’s wrong, fool! You were duped, like I was, but in a supremely good way. Too often lately, I’ve read books where it is so evident what is going to happen that I can actually stop reading about 50 pages in and summarize the rest without reading it to Ellen who finished ages ago. And 9 times out of 10 I’m right. Tammara Webber does us all a great service by including a healthy dose of originality into a book that could easily be banal and trite. It’s not however which forced me to read it in 2 days. I work, people, and deal with some family stuff that takes up a great deal of time and yet managed to cram this into every available moment I had. It’s that good.
Based on the following criteria:
How much did I like the heroine: 9. Emma was pure gold. She stuck true to her beliefs and her morals even though the hottest guy on the planet kept pushing her to tear them down. She wouldn’t relent in the onslaught of blond haired gorgeousness and stuck to her guns enough to realize that lust and love are two wholly different things. Plus she managed to catch the interest of a mainstream Hollywood actor and a buzzed about Indie celebrity. She must be exuding some sort of musk that we need to bottle asap since I think I spotted Ryan Gosling yet again at my starbucks. Swoon.
How much did I like the love interest: Wait, hold up: who’s the love interest here? Reid who is given an internal monologue throughout the book or Graham who seems a bit too reserved to be the one Emma ends up with? That’s the point, people! We don’t know! We don’t have any clue and that makes this book amazing. I loved being kept in suspense about the love interest. It happens so infrequently these days. So Reid as mentioned above is the ultimate douche though drop dead gorgeous and Graham is a strong, sensitive slightly older man with a penchant for taking three steps back for every one forward. Hmmm…tough call. Let’s mash these two together to form the ultimate celebrity male whom we’ll call Reham (get it? Reid + Graham morphs into Reham…or is Graid better? Frankly both are bad and it sounds like we’re comparing industrial solvents or something) Combined, I’m happy so I’ll give them…about 50 bagillion for being hot, hard-partying, sensitive, and rich.
How believable is the plot: 10. This is exactly how I imagine the filming of Twilight went down only with the addition of a mega-hot superstar (Remember ladies: RPatz didn’t become a star until after the movie). Her rendering of young hollywood feels spot on and the no holds barred depiction of the rampant drug use, alcohol abuse, and one night stands is perfect without being raunchy.
How much did I like the writing style/editing/etc: 10. Hats off to you, Tammara Webber, for creating a well-written, evenly paced book about celebrities that doesn’t shy away from the bad yet still manages to embrace the good and show that teen celebrities are still just kids, granted with a heapload more money than I’ll ever see. Her dialogue is superb, the scenes are well laid out and are descriptive, and there are no editing mistakes except for maybe one but I’ve already forgotten what it is so it can’t be too bad.
How much did I want to keep reading: 10. Dude. This book is the first of a trilogy. I had no idea. Let’s just say I bought #2 about 5 minutes ago and will be cramming even more of these characters’ lives into my busy schedule. So happy.
Final Score: Let’s just call it a 10/10 and leave it at that. No need for math tonight. Read this if only for the fact that it deals with teen stars and their love lives and won’t make you feel as cheap as UsWeekly or InStyle.