book, Book Review

The Start of Me and You, by Emery Lord

About the Book:The Start of Me and You Emery Lord
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Young Adult/Teen
Rating: 5 out of 5

Review: Last summer a debut author made a splash in the secular YA genre. Her name was Emery Lord. The book was Open Road Summer. I picked up a copy, but never had the opportunity to read it. When I was able to read her follow-up standalone, I was ecstatic. Naturally, I now get the gushing because Emery’s sophomore novel is really beautiful. It’s not only got a good plot, it also executes its story very well. Paige Hancock had to say good-bye to her first boyfriend last summer when he drowned. Since then, she’s slowly been trying to recover. A year and a new school year later, she’s still trying to figure things out. Because of this she makes a list. At the top of it is dating her crush, Ryan Chase. When Ryan’s cousin Max returns to their school and Paige is paired up for school projects, she sees this as her perfect opportunity to get close to Ryan. But does fate have something else planned for this 17-year-old?

The more I read this book, the more I grew to respect and love it. Even months after finishing it, I’m appreciating it more than when I first closed it following its final words. Emery Lord’s first-person narrative flows easily and Paige is really a very well-rounded and believable character. Given that Paige is suffering from emotional fallout, I don’t know what I expected of The Start of Me and You. But what never did cross my mind was the path Paige’s healing process would take. How she evolves and changes was nicely transitioned and I liked that Emery didn’t set out crafting Paige as a kind of self-sacrificing “drama queen.” Or in other words, as Paige heals, she realizes that moving on to new love isn’t impossible or disrespectful. Being only 15 when Aaron died means that while she did care for him, losing him doesn’t mean she could never love again. Some characters – teenagers or not, are so full of angst they become like a tragic half of Romeo and Juliet if they’ve lost a lover.  Paige – to my interpretation, does not meet this kind of mourning. For this, I’m glad.

Counter-balancing the emotions are the sweet relationships that develop starting from the first chapter. Ryan isn’t the normal popular guy and seems to genuinely care about Paige. Then there is Max. The friendship that blossoms between them is darling. Max’s “geek status” endears him immediately and I was such a fan that I don’t think there was ever a moment when I wanted to slap him for some stupid mistake. Paige too is a geek, albeit a loveable one. I liked her “Grammar Girl” quirks as well as the complications (a side story) that arise in her family. From the opening pages (it opens in a bookstore!) to the final (ahem, very sweetly romantic) page, this book is a YA addicts dream. The Start of Me and You had everything and more that I look for in this genre. It was sweet, introduced its reader to likable characters and best of all, dug deeper than just a romance. If you liked Open Road Summer, I suspect you’ll like this book. Run out and buy yourself a copy. In the meantime, those of you that have read Emery’s first book, feel free to tell me how awesome it is. I won’t mind.

Content: there are a few instances of profanity – this is sprinkled throughout the book and consists of the commonplace use. There are a few innuendoes (one of Paige’s friends returns from camp no longer a virgin, this is eluded to, but not in great detail); a party the kids attend involves a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” A young couple are put in the closest where they are supposed to “make out,” nothing happens.

Synopsis: 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.

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?- Goodreads

Coming Next from Emery Lord: The new book follows Jonah, who is struggling to move on after his father’s death, and Vivi, who comes to town hoping for a fresh start, and what happens when their summer love faces the troubles they’ve each been hiding. When We Collided, 2016 (via Goodreads)

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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