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Good For You by Tammara Webber
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's review
Oct 21, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: immediate-re-reads, favorites

This review won't contain any "spoilers," with respect to this book, but it does assume familiarity with the characters and events of the two previous books in the series, so it may be mildly spoilerish with respect to them.

This third book picks up where "Where You Are" leaves off. Reid is at somewhat of a personal nadir after the unsettling events on the night of the premiere of School Pride. He even gets uncharacteristically introspective, wondering what makes Emma think there's something more to him. Fortunately(?), his loyal friend John is there to steer him back to his "pointless, pleasure-driven life," with foreseeably disastrous results. When he's sentenced to community service at a Habitat for Humanity site as part of his punishment for a catastrophic drunk driving incident, he meets Dori, the volunteer assigned to "baby-sit" Reid while he fulfills his obligation. Dori, short for Dorcas, is there because she's committed to making the world a better place for others. She not only volunteers at Habitat, she helps with VBS, Sunday School and other programs at her dad's church, does meals on wheels, and is headed to Ecuador for a mission trip in just a few weeks. Reid and Dori come from two different worlds and world views, that's for sure, and their initial impressions of each other are not favorable, to say the least. But each feels drawn to the other as the summer progresses, and they begin to find something of value, something they need, in each other.

I loved the previous books in this series, and I really didn't expect this one to surpass them in reading and emotional enjoyment and intensity. I was always an ambivalent Reid supporter at best. Yes, it's been clear from the start that he had potential and character that lay fallow, awaiting some kind of awakening. But as Emma said at one point, it wasn't enough for me that he could be good, given the right motivation. He had to want to be, he had to do something about it, and he never seemed to have the gumption to do that. So, I sort of expected this to be about Reid finding a good girl who could sort of "convert" him, to "change" him to someone better behaved, the way that girls always seem to think they can do to bad boys. But this is a much deeper story, a story about choices, and growth and becoming a human being.

Dori is an amazing character, revealed slowly over the course of the book. You think you know her at the beginning of the book, that she's a classic do-gooder type, with values and strengths that motivate and drive her commitments. And all that is true, but there's so much more depth to her. As it turns out, when these two strangers meet in a modest little half built house, both of them are there under some kind of compulsion, one the no less strong for being self imposed. Both Reid and Dori have built themselves worlds of self-sufficiency, in different way and for different reasons. What happens when those constructions fall apart is what makes this book so powerful and affecting.

Some final random thoughts:

Do things happen for a reason? Dori spends a great deal of emotional energy denying that, at one point saying, "if I believed for two seconds that there was a reason behind some of the awful thing that occur in this life, I wouldn't be able to stand it." Exploring that idea, through some pretty horrific events, is a really interesting theme of this book, and while it's left unresolved (can it ever be resolved?), good does come from some terrible things in this story.

The name Dorcas. Whew, tough name for a kid, no wonder she goes by Dori. In the Bible, Dorcas was a woman known for her good deeds. She was also brought back from death by Peter, a guy who spent most of his time messing things up until he finally got it right. I'm not saying this is an allegory or anything, but I love how that story kind of resonates.

Alison Krauss. What an achingly pure and sweet voice she has. It seems so simple, and yet conveys such emotional power and depth. So it totally makes sense that when Dori sings, it's one of her songs. A particularly ambiguously heart-breaking one, too.

So, all in all, a wonderful book, a powerful read that will stick with you long after you finish, wishing and begging for more. I love how Brooke comes (briefly) back into things, and how parental relationships are such an important part of this story. Thanks so much, Tammara, for creating such a richly imagined world, that has such creatures in it.

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Quotes Fred Liked

Tammara Webber
“There are a million ways to lose someone you love.”
Tammara Webber, Good For You

Tammara Webber
“It isn't fair how I doubt him, and I wonder if he'll ever gather that my loss of faith extends further than I'd ever known it would, severing lines of trust and leveling my confidence like a city-flattening tornado.”
Tammara Webber, Good For You

Reading Progress

October 21, 2011 – Shelved
December 16, 2011 – Started Reading
December 19, 2011 – Shelved as: immediate-re-reads
December 19, 2011 – Shelved as: favorites
December 19, 2011 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy Can't wait to read it. Loved your review as always Fred.

Fred Thanks Aims! It is really good, gets darker than the others, just makes it all the more touching. You will cry, I guarantee! In a good way!

Halyna Thanks for the information of the origin of the name Dorcas!!!

message 4: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Wow, outstanding review, Fred!!

Fred Leslie wrote: "Wow, outstanding review, Fred!!"

Thanks! Have you read these? This is seriously my favorite series ever. I know you are sometimes sceptical of things labeled YA, but this is that Mature YA, or New Adult or whatev category, the characters are late teens early 20's. I appreciate your comment on my review, but I still haven't captured what's so good about Tammara's writing. It's really quite magical. If you want to start out with a stand-alone, her newest, Easy, just came out. It is also an amazing emotional read, I'm gonna try and review it this weekend. Fun seeing you everywhere I go now!

message 6: by Leslie (new)

Leslie My dear Fred, you will be delighted to know that I am reading TW's "Easy" as I write and loving it! This series will be next! ox

Fred Leslie wrote: "My dear Fred, you will be delighted to know that I am reading TW's "Easy" as I write and loving it! This series will be next! ox"

Yay! Easy is wonderful, dark and deep, like the coffee they always seem to be drinking in it. The series - each book is great on its own, but things develop over the three books in a way that, by the end of book three, just blew me away. Hope you feel that way, too. Between the Lines was the book that made me realize that I had a strong preference for indie books, there's just a certain feel and vibe that gets boiled out a little bit by the whole New York style editorial process, imo.

Marion Croslydon Yeah, agree. I didn't expect book 3 to be as good (or better) than the previous ones. I loved it! Easy is well worth the read

Fred Marion wrote: "Yeah, agree. I didn't expect book 3 to be as good (or better) than the previous ones. I loved it! Easy is well worth the read"

Hey Marion, I'm sorry I didn't see you comment before, thanks! I totally agree this really kicks it up a notch, and the first two were pretty darn awesome!

message 10: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie I LOVE your review - just as much as I loved this book! You really touched on a lot of aspects that also struck me while reading. Lovely. :)

message 11: by Fred (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fred Julie wrote: "I LOVE your review - just as much as I loved this book! You really touched on a lot of aspects that also struck me while reading. Lovely. :)"

Thanks Julie, that is really nice of you to take the time to comment! This really is a sweet book, I'm so glad to see someone else loving it as much as I did.

Marion Croslydon I think the fourth book (revolving arounf Brook) should be out early July or something... Cant wait!

message 13: by Fred (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fred Marion wrote: "I think the fourth book (revolving arounf Brook) should be out early July or something... Cant wait!"

I'm so curious to see if Tammara can turn our feelings about Brooke around the way she did with Reid. That Brookie is a hard one to love, for sure. Haha, thread count, that killed me!

Char ღ Denae Wow, Fred! You wrote exactly what I was going to write... Word for word! LOL!

Char ღ Denae Seriously, you about covered it. Probably one of the best books I've ever read. The best review I've ever read, too.

Now if I can just get my eyes to stop watering and the lump out of my throat...

message 16: by Fred (new) - rated it 5 stars

Fred Thanks Charli, I appreciate your comments so much! Wow! This really is a wonderful book, for me it's Tammara's best (so far). Thank goodness she's still writing, right?

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