Better Than This

Age Range
Release Date
February 13, 2018

What can keep a dream alive? Before the car accident that changed everything, Samantha Becker was a happy and loved little girl. Ten years later, Sam, now 18, lives under a dark cloud—largely ignored by an alcoholic mother who never recovered from her loss and ruled by an overbearing father who blames Samantha for the family tragedy. And yet, the troubled teenager has a dream that keeps her going, and an extraordinary musical talent that could take her all the way to Julliard…and far beyond. Following her heart, however, means defying her father, who has his own plans for his daughter’s future. Then, in the wake of another devastating personal catastrophe, her dream is irreparably shattered, and in her pain and anger, Samantha acts out recklessly. But her salvation could come from a most unlikely trio: a handsome college student, a hopeful little boy…and an older neighbor woman whose caring and secrets will change Sam’s world forever.

Editor review

1 review
Brilliant, heartbreaking story about triumph over adversity
Overall rating
Writing Style
The story:

Samantha “Sam” Becker wants only one thing – to go to Juilliard. She’s a veritable prodigy with the guitar, a fact that everyone who’s ever heard her play is entranced by her ability. But she is trapped in a house with an alcoholic mother and a domineering father who has her life completely planned out … a life that doesn’t include any ‘pipe dreams’ such as music.

What I loved:

Let’s start with the beginning, where Sam’s father ‘accidentally’ chops off her fretting finger. Right away, I felt her pain, and the ensuing struggle for her to relearn her instrument of choice. Just when all seems lost, she meets Tad, the twelve-year-old boy who lives next door. He was easily my favorite supporting character, though college student Laird ran a close second. Both of these guys were exactly what Sam needed to keep going.

What I didn’t love:

I realize conflict is what drives drama, and drama is what drives fiction, but my gosh, this book had a lot of it. Seriously, the lengths her father went to in order to crush his own daughter’s dreams was beyond despicable, to say nothing of Sam’s bandmates attempts to use her ‘disability’ to further their own goals. I understand that this book was released several years ago under a different title, and yet, I found numerous typos that should probably have been caught.

My Final Verdict:

Better Than This is a great story about crashing through ever wall that life throws in your way. It goes from heartbreaking to heart-warming numerous times over the course of the book, and I’m happy to say, it pained me to set it down before I reached the end.
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