Without You – Entered in 2018 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Brittany Taylor

Without You by Brittany Taylor is an emotional debut novel about one young woman’s struggle to navigate the confusing emotions so often associated with love and heartbreak. The book follows Emiline Ward, a young woman who is struggling to define herself after losing her first love. She has stopped living her life. She merely exists, drifting between her apartment and her job as a server, until one day when Em is introduced to Cameron, a hunky new arrival to their small Texas town.


Without You is an easy, quick read that takes readers through a fully-developed small town populated with young adults just getting started in life. This novel, with its first-person narrative structure, relies heavily on exposition to keep the reader informed about how Em is feeling. Instead of showing the reader conversations, Em will sometimes think about those conversations as they are happening, relaying valuable information through exposition instead of dialogue. Allowing the reader to experience more of what Em is experiencing, as she experiences it, would only heighten the connection between the reader and the protagonist. It would also help to iron out some of the uneven pacing throughout the novel because the reader would get to see Em growing as a person and becoming more self-aware, rather than simply being told that she has undergone these changes.


In Without You, Brittany Taylor has created a world populated with believable, well-constructed characters. A lot of attention has been paid to giving each character sufficient backstory and personality, making it easy to believe that these characters exist. The reader can’t help but be drawn into Em’s loss-ridden life through the clear descriptions of the characters and their relatable personalities. Taylor does an excellent job conveying the mix of emotions that comes with losing your first love, and the excitement and uncertainty that comes with finding someone new. Despite the pacing issues mentioned above, Without You by Brittany Taylor is a quick, light read that would be perfect for anyone who would enjoy an emotional and sexy look at what it is like to navigate relationships as a young woman.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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