Good For You, by Tammara Webber

>> Monday, June 03, 2013

TITLE: Good For You
AUTHOR: Tammara Webber

PAGES: 294
PUBLISHER: Self-published

SETTING: Contemporary
TYPE: NA Romance
SERIES: 3rd in a series

Reid Alexander's celebrity life is an open book. Every relationship, every error in judgment is analyzed by strangers. His latest mistake totaled his car, destroyed a house and landed him in the hospital. As his PR team works overtime to salvage his image, one thing is clear--this is one predicament he won't escape without paying for it.

Dori Cantrell is a genuine humanitarian--the outward opposite of everything Reid represents. When his DUI plea bargain lands him under her community service supervision, she proves unimpressed with his status and indifferent to his proximity, and he soon wants nothing more than to knock her off of her pedestal and prove she's human.

Counting the days until his month of service ends, Dori struggles to ignore Reid's wicked pull while challenging him to recognize his own wasted potential. But Dori has secrets of her own, safely locked away until one night turns her entire world upside down. Suddenly their only hope for connection and redemption hinges on one choice: whether or not to have faith in each other.
As part of my New Year's resolution to read stuff out of order if I feel like it, I started with the third book in this trilogy. The plot of the first two didn't appeal to me as much, plus Jane from Dear Author said this one was the best of the three, so I went for it. It was a good call. The events of previous books were relevant here, but the book stood alone well, as Webber caught the reader up relatively unobtrusively. And... I loved the book!

Reid Alexander is an A-list movie start and a grade-A arsehole (both qualities he apparently demonstrated abundantly in the first two books in the series). He's entitled, spoilt, and doesn't care about anything but himself. As the book starts, he's been sentenced to doing community service after he crashed into a house while driving drunk. He doesn't like this one bit.

Reid's hours will be spent helping build a house with an organisation called Habitat, and his supervisor there is Dori Cantrell, a longtime, experienced volunteer. Dori is as happy to have to work with Reid as Reid is to be there. She has no interest in a shallow, selfish film star, even if he really is spectacularly good looking, and even if he surprises her by actually being willing to put in some hard work.

As for Reid, he's initially just as uninterested in having anything to do with a judgmental do-gooder who hides her body in huge, baggy T-shirts, but as the two spend some time together, both start seeing beyond their first impressions.

I was surprised at just how much I enjoyed this. Reid and Dori initially seemed like two character types, the selfish jerk with a sense of entitlement as big as his head and the innocent yet judgmental goody-goody. I soon got over those first impressions.

Dori, you see, is the real deal, a truly good person who genuinely gives a shit, as Reid puts it later in the book. She's from a family for which her volunteering is par for the course. Dad's a pastor, mum's a nurse specialising in providing health care for poor families, big sis is a newly qualified doctor, and they all give just as much of themselves. I loved what Webber did with them. Dori's conflict is not what I half-expected: her wanting to finally, finally! take something for herself after a lifetime giving to others. Her volunteering and hard-work for others is presented as something she herself wants to do, not as some sort of prison imposed by parents who care more for others than for her own family. They're protective of Dori and clearly love her, but they want he to have her own life and make her own decisions. I also liked that she's no naive innocent. She is, in fact pretty sharp.Dori isn't perfect, and she knows it, but she also knows she doesn't like the person Reid seems to be. But at the same time, she's willing to give him a chance when he seems to want to be better.

With Reid, first impressions were actually pretty accurate. He does starts out being a horrendous person. But then he changes. Not in the blink of an eye, but he starts seeing things differently, and questioning whether he wants to continue as he was. I actually found his change believable. It was gradual, and as he puts it himself, it wasn't that Dori changed him, but that she made him see there was another way of behaving, one he'd never even considered. I especially liked that, even as he became a better person, he didn't completely lose his devilry. He absolutely did not become boring.

These two are so real that I had no trouble at all understanding what they saw in each other. Their relationship develops just as gradually as Reid changes, and has its ups and downs. Plenty of angst here, and I absolutely loved it.

The first half of the book reads quite light and fun and fluffy, so when the angst hits, it hits hard. Reid has his own family stuff, Dori has some traumatic things in her past, and I was especially affected by the stuff with Dori's sister. Now, that felt like a real punch in the gut. Although my sister is younger than me, rather than quite a bit older, as Dori's, the best friends relationship between them was one I recognised, so the book had me in tears several times. Both the family and relationship anges were resolved in ways I found satisfying, but closing the book left me feeling wrung out, in a very good way. It wasn't as good as the amazing Easy, but it was very good indeed.


AUDIOBOOK NOTES: The book is structured with alternating chapters narrated by Dori and Reid, and that's what we get in the audiobook, two alternating narrators. It was this version that I listened to (the only one available, AFAIK) and Todd Haberkorn and Kate Rudd did a very good job with the narration. They got the tone and the feeling spot-on.


jane 3 June 2013 at 15:53  

I'm going to have to get the audio. As I said on Twitter, I felt like Good for You was a better written book because the character archetypes were harder and I felt like Webber took more chances in this book.

Rosario 6 June 2013 at 07:06  

Oops, missed this one! The audio was incredibly absorbing, I hope you enjoy it! And yes, I agree Webber took some big risks with this 2 (and I'm guessing that if I'd read the first two books I would have found it even harder to like Reid) and they really worked out.

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