Teresa Hamilton has only ever surmounted to one thing in her life: dancing. A recent knee injury risks not only her dance scholarship, but also the only passion she's ever known, the only future she's ever planned. But Tess, whom we first were introduced to as Cam Hamilton's resilient little sister in J. Lynn's Wait for You, is a big girl, which means she's going to do what she's always done: pick up the pieces of her life and carry on. This doesn't only mean, college; it also means taking the leap of faith by being honest with her feelings for Jase, who swears the two of them would never work.
The problem isn't that Jase is her brother's best friendÃ??Ã?Â¢??after all, it's Tess Jase is afraid of, not Cam; it's that Jase, despite his clear attraction to her, is unwilling to drag her down into anything serious. He has a dark past that never surfaces in his cool, calm nature, but Tess can just tell he has a story to tell, but reluctantly won't. And she'll be damned if he keeps leading her on, but avoiding confrontation.
When an impending problem, outside of Tess's control and radar, grows bigger and eventually implodes in a devastating turn of events, Tess learns that the things holding her backÃ??Ã?Â¢??pride, schoolwork, fear of rejection, fear of never dancing againÃ??Ã?Â¢??are the last things in the world that she should be worrying about, and that Jase, regardless of his quiet torment, is a good man who just needs to sort himself out.
The physicality of Tess and Jase's relationship is scorching hot, and their explosive encounters are interspersed with frustrating periods where Jase completely cuts off contact, or attempts to collect himself. His suave exterior shatters to pieces in her presence, but he can't afford to fall for her because he has too much baggage, too much going on in his life that she wouldn't understand. I absolutely hated how bipolar Jase was with his mixed signals; it really made me feel bad for Teresa. She is a bit of an emotional and hypersensitive character, but I totally understand why: Jase is infuriating! Teresa had every right to be naggy and needy when Jase treated her that way.
I still fell in love with Jase, though, which is a complex feeling in itself. He's such a well-developed character, who isn't composed solely of a few cardinal personality traits like Cam was in Wait for You; he actually has depth to him, intrigue. He's a stoic heroÃ??Ã?Â¢??the charmingly self-possessed mature typeÃ??Ã?Â¢??who's only uncharacteristically affectionate with Tess. I actually liked him much better than Cam; he's less two-dimensional and has more to him than just good looks.
Tess is much more likable than Avery too, although in this book's perspective, Avery is viewed as the gorgeous, altruistic good girlÃ??Ã?Â¢??the one who was able to tame Cam. It's not that I don't like this slant on her, but I just wish it would have been better portrayed in Wait for You. At times, Tess is annoyingly naÃ???Ã??Ã?Â¯ve, but that has a lot to do with her young age and inexperience, as well as the tough times she's been through, namely her abusive boyfriend from high school. I love how this pivot point of Wait for You is explored much more in Be With Me. The recurring characters, including Cam, Avery, Brittany, plus a few new likable secondary characters, were a pleasant surprise, as well.
The quality of the writing and the procession of the story are both noticeably better and much more compelling in Be With Me than in Wait for You, a tribute to the fact that this book was written under a Harper Collins contract (whereas the first book was initially self-published, then picked up to be reprinted due to its popularity). I'm not saying Armentrout couldn't have written this alone (obviously, she started out self-publishing and was wildly successful with that), but a good editor really does make a difference.
There still are some unbelievable cheesy moments in this book, but not as much as in Wait for You, so overall I enjoyed it much more. Not as many clichÃ???Ã??Ã?Â©s and "coincidences", that's for sure; Be With Me actually had good plot elements, a level of unpredictability and uncertainty, and characters that I actually loved getting to know.
Pros: Liked this sequel much better than the first book // Teresa is a humble, relatable, cute characterÃ??Ã?Â¢??love her personality! // Jase will make your knees go weak // Chemistry is super hot! // Tess and Jase are a perfect couple // The roadblock of emotional unavailability is really well portrayed // Quirky, upbeat tone of voice that I love // Deals with grave issues maturely
Cons: Relationship seems very cheesy and a bit abrupt at times // Jase's mixed signals made me want to slap him in the face! // Story is great, but writing style is a bit amateur... however, it's still a huge improvement from Wait for You
Verdict: "It's complicated." In an emotionally turbulent and heart-wrenching sequel to the ever-popular Wait for You, Teresa and Jase muster up the mutual courage to love, and learn to find a home in each other along the way. Fans of the first book will go wild with Jase, the seemingly smooth-sailing, unreservedly charming new bad boy on the blockÃ??Ã?Â¢??one with distress seared into his soul, but wouldn't ever dare to show itÃ??Ã?Â¢??except to the one girl who brings him to his knees. J. Lynn brings us a novel about baggage, the uncertainty of the future, and the inescapability of the past, that I personally liked much better than the first book in the series. Be With Me is a captivating sequel about strength, resilience, and belonging to and giving yourself to someone wholly.
Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC!).show more