Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens on March 31, 2015
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Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.
It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?
How to Begin Again
1. Parties/social events
2. New Group
The Start of Me and You follows Paige Hancock’s life after Aaron, her boyfriend of two months, drowned in a freak accident. Since then, she’s been known for that and that alone—the girl whose boyfriend drowned. Never mind that they had only been dating for a couple of months. And Paige wants a change—she wants her junior year to be better. So Paige, being the type A personality that she is, makes a list and so The Start of Me and You follows along Paige’s journey to complete her list. The Start of Me and You was a good read but unfortunately, it wasn’t anything extraordinary for me. I enjoyed Lord’s writing style—she would throw in quirky things like the names people were known as. Specifically, things like “the boy whose sister had cancer” and “the girl whose boyfriend drowned.” I thought that these nicknames gave to book a lighter feel even though it dealt with sad things.
The thing that was off-putting about this novel for me was Paige’s character. She was constantly feeling guilt over enjoying her life because Aaron died, to the point where it got annoying. I get grieving characters, but this felt a bit over the top especially because, as Paige loved to point out, she had only dating the guy for like two months. I thought her grieving was a bit overdramatized. Paige came off as a bit shallow to me as well due to the actions she took and the things she did in this novel. A bit selfish too. And overdramatic and willing to blame people for things they didn’t do because she was angry at herself. Sometimes I wanted to throw the book across the room because she made me so angry. There were other things about Paige’s character that I didn’t like but I’ll talk about those later.
Ryan and Max were the main male characters in this novel. Ryan was “the boy whose sister had cancer.” Ryan was an okay character. A bit single-minded if you ask me. He wasn’t too deep of a character, not unlike our friend Paige. I couldn’t really form too much of an opinion about him because I didn’t really see much of his personality other than knowing he was a jock and had just been broken up with. Max I liked better. Unlike both Paige and Ryan, he seemed like a more genuine character. He was upbeat even in the face of family problems and problems with being bullied. Max was like the shining light of the story. I wish the other characters had taken a page out his book.
“I had seen myself reflected back in his glasses a hundred times—my own face smiling, interested, at ease in his presence. How had I not seen him? Maybe my feelings for Max had been there the whole time, obscured by the rubble of the Ryan Chase crush that I’d somehow outgrown. I’d been focused on rebuilding with the debris of my former life when instead I should have been clearing myself a path out. And that path led straight to Max.”
The romance in this novel is what I suppose you would call a “love triangle” but literally. Paige like Ryan, Max liked her, and Ryan liked someone else, it seemed. It wasn’t a great set up, which brings me to the thing I disliked most about Paige’s character: She had a slight obsession with Ryan, which was really off-putting. He’s obviously not interested (in her; interested in Tessa on the other hand), their conversations are awkward and silted and either she refuses to acknowledge it or is oblivious. The exaggeration of it was extremely annoying by about halfway through the novel. And here’s the kicker: It was like a flip was switched and suddenly she liked Max. Like seriously? I can’t stand that kind of romance. I was shocked, confused, and a bit angry that their “romance” developed the way it did on Paige’s part.
“With our arms around each other, I almost believed that strength could travel between us like the heat of our bodies. Nothing, not even sadness, could be greater than the sum of us.”
The thing that I did like, in addition to Max’s character, was the emphasis on Paige’s friendship with her three best friends: Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh. It was really nice to see such a strong female friendship in a book that has a romance aspect, as it often gets left behind. Not the case in this novel—their friendship was strong as ever, and it was often a nice reprieve from Paige’s obsession with Ryan and romance.
I won’t deny that The Start of Me and You was undoubtedly a cute read; however, at the same time, there were some aspects that I really disliked. Although not my favorite, it wasn’t a bad read and I will definitely still be giving Emery Lord’s other novels a try because they come highly recommended.