A STORY ABOUT FIRST LOVE, GROWING UP, AND IMPOSSIBLE CHOICES... Growing up means making hard choices, but Ariana didn't expect it to be this hard. She's determined to graduate high school and go to the University of Georgia. That's if she can even get in and figure out a way to pay for college. It would mean everything to her family if she got into UGA. They're counting on her. But then Lucas steps into her life, waltzing into her senior year and disrupting her careful plans. He's the guy of her dreams, the kind of boyfriend that could restore her faith in high school love, but he can't go with her to UGA. His family needs him at home. Torn between duty and romance, do the two of them even stand a chance, especially with Lucas's ex-girlfriend prowling to get him back? Practical, responsible, Ariana knows she has to choose, because you can't have it all. So, why does either choice make her feel like she's losing everything? _Dive into this young adult romance now! _
The relationships were told in a sweet way, even if the love between Ariana and Lucas felt a bit rushed. It was interesting to see how Lucas' ex-girlfriend, Wendy, factored into Ariana's new relationship with him, but the way she acted around her was quite different than how she was with everyone else. It tends to be true, though, that there are people who can bring out the best in you and those who can bring out the worst. Wendy seemed to be one who brought out the worst, but Ariana seemed smart enough to have been able to stand up to her in a stronger, more positive way.
The best and most strongly written relationship in the book was that between Ariana's best friend, Mayra, and Ariana's brother, Jimmy. It was nice to watch that grow, and to see how much Ariana supported it. It evolved slowly, between two people who were friends first. The truth behind this made it that much better of a plot point within the storyline.
The novel was interesting enough to keep reading, but there was quite a bit of telling and not showing within the story, which made it hard to continue at times. Many of the same words were used to explain ideas that were somewhat obvious to readers. This could have been enhanced through further description and more dialogue. As the story progressed, this began to happen more, but mostly within the last quarter of the novel. There was also the fact that Ariana's relationship with her ex-boyfriend, Carlos, was hinted at many times in terms of how hard it was for her and how she was thankfully able to get out of it, mostly unscathed. Yet, readers were not let in on what exactly happened with him. There is a prequel to this novel that tells their story for those who want to learn more about it, but incorporating some of who he was and what happened between them into 'Without You' would have been helpful in making the novel seem able to be read as a standalone, rather than an accompaniment to the prequel.
In 'Without You,' Yesenia Vargas has shown that there are some friendships meant to stand the test of time, and those that may peter out, but people can always find strength, love, and truth in each other, if they know where to look for it.