Good For You (Between The Lines #3)
Penguin Books AUS
2013 (originally 2011), 383p
Copy courtesy of the publisher
Wild child Hollywood bad boy actor Reid Alexander has finally found himself in trouble. Drunk, he crashed his Porsche into a house making it impossible for the family who were renting it to continue living there. As punishment for his reckless behaviour, the judge sentences him to 20 days community service helping to build a house for Habitat for Humanity. As the house being built is for the family who were living in the rental Reid destroyed, the judge believes that it’s only fair that Reid assist in constructing their new house. He is placed under the care of Dori Cantrell, a seasoned volunteer.
Dori is a Pastor’s daughter, someone who has a social conscience. Her mother is an obstetrics nurse, working primarily with pregnant women on low incomes and her sister is a doctor beginning her residency in Indiana. Dori has been accepted into Berkely and plans to study social welfare in her attempt to ‘give back’ because she is grateful for what she has and wants to help others.When she realises just who she’ll be working with, she’s perhaps the only teenage girl who isn’t impressed. Reid doesn’t interest her with his obvious arrogance and lack of consideration for others. They clash immediately.
Although romance was the last thing on both Reid and Dori’s mind, it sneaks in nevertheless. Reid finds himself wanting the one woman who doesn’t seem to care that he’s Reid Alexander. She doesn’t care about his money, his possessions, his looks, his IMDB history. As they get to know each other, he finds more and more to Dori, peeling back to layers under her paint spattered clothes and lack of care about her appearance. But do such a couple of opposites like Reid and Dori really have a future together?
I have to admit that I have really struggled with this series. I read the first one and found it just okay – most of my problems with it revolved around Reid and having to spend so much time in his head. He’s probably the most cliched character I’ve ever had the displeasure of reading. I didn’t even manage to finish the second novel because reading about two catty, unlikable people trying to break up a couple does nothing for me, plus I didn’t appreciate the clumsy 180 of Brooke’s character. However people tell me that the series gets better as it gets further along and that this one is fab, so I thought I would attempt to give it a fair go.
You don’t get much opposite than Reid and Dori and the writer takes pains to really ram that down the reader’s throat. Dori is a Pastor’s daughter, she volunteers for a variety of things, she’s part of a very tightknit family unit and she doesn’t even swear. Reid has been doing whatever he wants since he was about 14, his father is a mostly absent and judgemental workaholic and his mother has a problem with alcohol. He splashes money around, he drinks underage, he sleeps around, he is Reid Alexander and he basks in the rise of his star. They have very little in common and basically wind each other up the moment they meet.
Reid is just such an asshole in the beginning of the book that his narrative is so hard to read and it makes me not want Dori to end up with him. He deliberately winds her up, he’s offensive, he’s smarmy and he’s just so boring. He’s like the cardboard cutout of every jock bully character ever, except he’s a rich movie star to boot. He and Dori both say stupid things to each other but the way in which he judges her on her appearance all the time was so offputting to me. And actually, the way Dori swooned over Reid’s was equally as offputting. Her attraction to him seemed mostly based on the fact that he’s unspeakably hot. Their interactions seem pretty superficial until much later in the book.
It’s that latter part of the book that redeemed the book slightly for me. Dori’s older sister Deborah is involved in a small subplot that I actually found far more interesting than the entire Reid and Dori mess. I’d have liked to read an entire book about her. I really liked the sisterly relationship between Deb and Dori and how Deb had her back and had been there for her during a difficult time. What happened to Deb was grossly unfair and very upsetting and by far the best part of the book. By then Reid’s interactions with Dori had actually managed to temper him down into an almost tolerable person but I think this book lacked a deep enough exploration as to why that is. They spend only a few weeks together before Dori leaves for Ecuador and then Reid finishes his community service and goes to film a movie and he changes his lifestyle utterly after such a brief interaction. Their interactions aren’t really deep enough for me to believe that Reid is so affected by her.
The following paragraph is ***SPOILERISH***
Am I the only one who finds all these teen pregnancies a bit unbelievable? It seems that everyone either impregnated someone as a teenager (Reid, Graham) or got pregnant as a teenager (Brooke, Dori). Brooke and Dori were both 15 I think, when they got pregnant. They all took different paths with the pregnancies and it looks like some of those choices are going to come to a head in the fourth novel which seems like it might be about Brooke attempting to find the baby she gave up for adoption. Reid had a perfect chance in this book to tell Dori about the baby he conceived and then refused to acknowledge when she confessed her own teen pregnancy but he chose not to and I can’t imagine Dori reacting too well when the information comes out. So it seems that like in the first novel, the author has set up a happiness that is going to be temporary.
End ***SPOILER TALK/SPECULATION***
The last third of the book was enough for me to feel like it was okay, but I’m not sure I’ll read book #4.
Book #135 of 2013