by Emery Lord
Read: September 14 - 17, 2014
Published: March 31, 2015 by Bloomsbury
Source: Borrowed from Andi @ Andi's ABCS (THANK YOU!!), NetGalley ARC (TY, Bloomsbury)
Category: Contemporary YA, grief, romance
Find: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & 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 a year, 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?
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.
The Start of Me and You is another winner from Emery Lord. It is such a different story from Open Road Summer, and Paige is not at all Reagan, but I adored the story just as much. Here are five reasons why I loved this book.
I love this book for its look at high school life. Although this story does have a past tragic event as the catalyst for Paige's journey, one thing I appreciated so much about the picture of high school life in The Start of Me and You, was how normal it was. Or at least, how much Paige's life resembled my normal in high school, more so than most of the YA contemporaries I read. I was not a crazy partier and had a smaller close group of friends, more like Paige's. Usually I read YA contemporaries, and though I enjoy them, the drama and situations are not like my experience, but I related so much to this one. Also, I was expecting one of these guys to be a typical 'bad boy' and was thrilled to see that wasn't the case. It was refreshing.
I love this book for its friendships. Paige has three best girl friends. They are all different but they are each other's support system, and I think we'd all be lucky to have such great people around us in high school. Each of them has their own dramas, but I love that when one of them calls, the others are always there for her. Beyond friends, this book also has a strong family storyline. Paige's relationship with her younger sister is changing, and their family is also dealing with an interesting situation that is understandably stressful for Paige. But I love how aware her parents are and the way they work it out with her and her sister.
I love this book for its slow burn romance, or in other words, MAX. Emery Lord has created another swoonfest in Max. He is sweet and unabashedly nerdy, and totally perfect for Paige. Their journey to finding each other was slow burn and delicious to watch. I was very worried about this book when I read the description (for obvious reasons), but I am so happy that I gave it a chance. Paige does set her sights on someone else at first, and it takes her some time to realize that Max is a better fit for her. But there isn't any dating of other people or angst, and it's very much Paige's personal internal struggle and growth. Of course, I wanted her to figure out everything sooner, but I also loved watching Paige's growth in this story and how that relates to her romance.
I love this book for its nod to Jane Austen heroines. I love that this book highlights another Austen heroine besides the always favorite, and that Max appreciates Paige for who who she is. Paige isn't always an Elizabeth Bennet, but how many of us are? As an Austen fan, this is a thread that stood out to me in the plot.
I love this book for Paige. Especially, Paige's quest to live her life for herself, and not because she's worried about what might happen or how other people see her. I could understand her desire to get out from under the shadow of her boyfriend's death, but I also wished so hard for her to wake up and realize the friends and life she had right in front of her. As someone who values a small close group of friends, I was rooting so hard for her to get to that place as well. Paige's journey is one that I found to be so rewarding.
Love Triangle Factor: To be safe, I'll say Mild - though I originally said none. As indicated in the description, there is an internal Linear Love Progression but it is natural and not drama-filled. This means that Paige does change her affection as the story develops, but she does not date multiple people. Thankfully, the two guys are not pitted against each other into Teams, the story is always going in one direction.
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone