Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord (Open Road Summer)
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 dynamicsThe 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?
I was very unhappy with Emery Lord’s debut, Open Road Summer, partially because there was so much hype and that made it even more of a disappointment for me. I wasn’t going to read her second book, but then I started hearing so much good stuff (again) that I decided to give her books another chance. This time, I’m really glad that I did that because I loved this book.
From the very beginning, I was enamored with this book. I’m not quite sure what it was – I know it was the protagonist, who I really connected with, but there isn’t a real thing that I can touch on that made it so much better than similar books dealing with grieving teenagers. My point, though, is that this book pulled me in from the very beginning.
This book is mainly about Paige learning to move on after her boyfriend’s death the previous year, but there’s a lot to that journey, and many people help her along the way. The plot is focused on Paige growing and becoming happy again, but that plot manifested itself in many different ways, and it never felt like there wasn’t enough substance.
My favorite thing about this book was the characters. Paige was an amazing protagonist, but she was surrounded by many equally awesome characters, like her best friends. That was my favorite thing about the characters – the friendship. The friendship was perfect and I just wanted a whole book full of their friendship and all the ways they support and love each other. I would have liked getting more from her family, especially her little sister, but there was enough of a focus on the friends to make me happy.
Unfortunately, there really wasn’t any diversity. One of Paige’s best friends is biracial, but that’s really all I can remember off the top of my head. Even when there’s not much of a focus on diversity, it’s nice for it to at least be in the background, so that was one of the few disappointing parts of this otherwise wonderful.
The Adult Situation
Paige’s family life was interesting. Her parents are divorced, and she seems fairly comfortable with that, but something happens to change that dynamic completely (don’t worry, no spoilers), and it definitely throws Paige off. I would have liked to learn more about Paige’s mother, but otherwise I think it was an interesting dynamic. There was also Paige’s grandmother, a character who I loved, but it would have been nice to see her dynamic with her daughter, Paige’s mother.
The romance was quite adorable. She’s had the same crush on the same guy for years, but it’s pretty obvious from the beginning (and the summary) that the real romance is going to involve his cousin, Max. Max is an adorable nerd, and that leads to some adorable romances, but it’s their slowly-blooming friendship that is beautiful as well.
At times, it seemed like there was a little too much drama at the end just to spice things up, but overall this book was great from beginning to end. And of course, by the very end, everything wraps up well – there are some loose strands, because that’s life, but nothing major that’s left loose.
Well, I’m definitely going to have to give Lord more chances in the future if all her books are like her second one rather than the first. My main issue with that was all the girl hate and the fact that there was only one positive female relationship, but this book did a much better job with that, so hopefully that’s no longer a problem with her writing.