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?
Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
I want to thank Bloomsbury for provided me with a copy of this book to read and give an honest review. Receiving this book for free has in no way altered my review or opinion.
I have been really into contemporary YA reads lately so this one was a perfect pick up for me. I have heard such great things about Lord's first book, Open Road Summer, so I jumped into this with both feet. I was not disappointed.
Paige Hancock is a great character. She's grieving the loss of a boyfriend she had for only two months, but to everyone else she's the girl whose boyfriend died. But all she wants to do is move on and just be her. So she decides to make a list of things that would help bring her back to normal. But no matter how much we try, normal is really what we make of it, right? Something Paige learns along the way. Of course, it wouldn't be high school if there weren't boys involved, even boys who become best friends. So enter Max Watson, who has returned to public school after years away to help his cousin, Ryan, deal with his break-up and be the friend he needs.
What Paige didn't expect was to grow so close with Max, all the while hoping he'd be her in to dating Ryan, her long time crush. Again, things don't always work out the way you want them to, do they? And Ryan crushes on someone else while remaining in the friend zone with Paige.
I think what I liked most about this story is the realism of it. The friends we all knew in high school, yeah, they are in this book. Each with their own personality and each developed to show us how they can be supportive in different ways. And of course there are the important lessons that need to be learned: let go, things might not happen as we want them to, not everyone is as they seem. All so true to life and great lessons for anyone to learn over and over again. And there is so much power given to all the girls in this book. The lessons they learn show that women are strong and can take care of themselves. Most of all, Lord shows that people should not be afraid to be who they are.
I also loved the focus on friendship in this book. All the friendships are so important. They help each character remain who they are while giving the support each one needs. And it's not just the girls who have these relationships, but the guys as well. It's really great to watch them grow and change and stick together.
My favorite character in the book was Max. I just love that he wasn't the typical YA, all muscles and good looks type of guy. As a matter of fact, he's pretty much a nerd and I just love this about him. And he's not afraid to be who he is, despite his past of being bullied.
I liked Lord's writing style and the pacing is really great. I really didn't want to put the book down at any point, even though I got tired and had to. And the subplots, which usually will pull me out of the story, really and truly fit the plot and moved the story along.
I will say that Paige kept calling Ryan by his first and last name for most of the book, which got on my nerves. We all knew who he was after the first few times we met him, so why continue to use his last name? And the way Paige cam about seeing her feelings for what they were kind of seemed abrupt. There wasn't really a build up for her, as much as for us. And of course I figured out this twist from the beginning. But despite these few things, the book still held a ton of enjoyment for me.
If you're looking for a sweet contemporary read about growing up, moving on and starting anew, then this is the one for you. But don't go in looking for tons of kissing and romance because that's not what this book is about. This book is about friendship and accepting who you are. I highly recommend it!
Open Road Summer is out now, and The Start of Me & You releases March 31st, 2015.
I don't check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!