Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
Publication date: May 7, 2019
*Thanks to Bree for providing me with London pictures*
Just to preface this review I have been following Christine’s Youtube channel since 2013 or 2014. I am a big fan of hers and am very proud of her for writing this novel. You should all check out her writing videos which she has been making for the past two years.
However, I was still skeptical going into this. I love how Christine tells stories and her humor, but was not sure how that would translate in words. The book started out a little rocky, her writing is very colloquial (which I love) and there were times when it seemed a little too autobiographical (or at least left you questioning if the events really happened). But I ended up loving this book and the characters SO much. The second half had me smiling and almost crying for the last bit.
This book is very hard to talk about without spoilers, so there are some minor tone/plot spoilers. But, nothing too serious, I hope.
This book reminded me of Just One Day by Gayle Forman which is one of my favorite books of all time. I see all these people comparing to Anna and the French Kiss which I guess is more applicable, but I still think it is more like Just One Day because it discusses parental expectations and college students. In Again, but Better we follow Shane who is determined to reinvent herself during her semester abroad.
WHAT I LOVED:
- All the nerdy/bookish references
- It can be a tad odd because if you “know” Christine you can see so many of her interests represented here
- Shane OWNS the references too, she is so passionate about so many things
- How Shane has a variety of interests. So many characters in YA only like one thing and it was refreshing to see a character who likes photography, reading, writing, playing games, & more
- We get to see the couple be a couple. They are honestly so cute, and I loved seeing them be cute and banter. SO MUCH CUTE BANTER. I was smiling at my kindle so much
- It deals with following your heart vs family expectations and it feels realistic
- The family dynamics were a lot of fun (the cousins not the parents)
- So much of Christine is in this book and you can tell
- The friendships, they aren’t a huge part of the plot, but there is growth in them, and I loved that
- In the end I really liked Christine’s writing style. It stands on its own and is enjoyable to read.
- We really get to see (parts of ) Europe. Even though Shane is studying abroad in London, they visit other countries which is fun!
- This is a tiny detail, but I loved how things were wrapped up with her cousin
WHAT I DID NOT LOVE
- The first half took me a bit to get used to the writing style and the pacing was a bit off. I think the second half had much better pacing
- I don’t think this book should be classified as Young Adult. Not because it is inappropriate in anyway, but the characters are in college and because (REDACTED BC OF SPOILERS). But since New Adult is not as big of a genre I see why this book is marketed as YA. I think Shane is 20 in the beginning of this book
- The love interest is in a different relationship when they meet. I mean it is not as bad/cheater- y as some other novels, but it isn’t my favorite thing to see
- I also think things get wrapped up a little *too* nicely at the end and it doesn’t make perfect sense if you think too hard.
Overall, I had so much fun reading this! I loved the characters and the European setting. I would have liked the beginning to feel less rushed and fewer of Christine’s own interests represented. But, first novels tend to be more autobiographical so I will let it slide. Plus, so many of the things she likes, I like. I do plan on rereading this once my copy arrives too.
*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for granting my wish and giving me an eARC in exchange for an honest review*
Goodreads Link: Again, but Better