Monday, March 16, 2015

Early Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You
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


  1. Unfortunately I didn't end up falling for Lord's first book as much as everyone else, but from your review Lauren, this book has my name written all over it. I love my books which deal with beautiful friendships and slow burn romances, also if Lord's gorgeous writing is anything to go by, I know this book will quickly become a favourite! Gorgeous review! :)

  2. I agree completely with your assessment of this novel, Lauren. It's such a realistic look into high school, especially with its strong focus on both female friendships and familial unit, alongside the romance (which never overtakes the plot, thank God!). I really LOVED Paige and I fell so hard for her story and growth arc. I love this one more than Open Road Summer, even, so I can't wait to see what Lord has up her sleeve next! :)

  3. Ahh you have me itching to start this one, Lauren! I'm glad Emery portrayal of high school is normal, so often I see it exaggerated and dramatized. Ummm no, it's not like that at all! I love friendships in books. I like romance, but friendships warm my heart even more. Slow-burn romance is the absolute best. Authors have 300+ pages to develop it, no need to rush!! I want to fall in love along the way as they do. (gosh, hopeless romantic right here!). Phew, not much love triangle... Lovely review, Lauren <3

  4. To be honest, I didn't like Open Road Summer that much, but I keep hearing such wonderful things about this one I'm planning to read it. I like the friendships aspect, the slow burn romance, and the nod to Jane Austen heroines…yes! Great review, glad you loved it. ~Pam

  5. Lovely review, Lauren! I still haven't read this, I got it from NG so I know I need to read it SOON. I'm just kinda worried about the crush thing, but I'm hoping I won't get too frustrated! I really want to meet these characters. I'm so happy to hear that this book is closer to what your high school experience was like, because it was the same for me. Sometimes contemporary can be too drama-filled, so I'm glad that isn't the case here. :)

  6. I wasn't sure about this book originally because I'm not a fan of tragedy in my contemps but your review really makes me want to read it!! I love slow burn romances and good friendships, and my high school experience was similar to yours. Loved your review!

  7. I really enjoyed this book as well! I'm not always a contemporary fan, and I never read Lord's debut novel, but I found this one to my liking. The friendships aspect was definitely something that stuck out to me - I love the positive relationships that Lord installs in this book (rather than that fake, means-girls-esque "friendship" that I see some authors in YA lit trying to work. Um. No.). Overall, this was a really great book!

    Awesome review, Lauren! :)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

  8. Gorgeous review Lauren. <3 I am so happy that you loved this book :D I haven't read any books by this author, but I do think they both look pretty awesome. But.. what you say about the triangle thing.. Not for me :\ and I don't like reading school books, lol :D though you liking the school in this book do make me curious :) Maybe one day. <3 So happy you liked it sweetie. Thank you so much for sharing about it :)

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