by Emery Lord
Publication: Bloomsbury on March 31, 2015
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Death
It's never too late for a second chance . . .
It's been one year since it happened - when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in a swimming accident. After shutting out everyone except for her family and three best friends, Paige has decided it's finally time to rejoin the real world . . . and she has a plan:
1. Date a boy: Her old crush Ryan Chase is the perfect path to normalcy.
2. Attend parties: With her friends by her side, doable.
3. Join a club: Simple, it's high school after all.
4. Travel: Well, a girl can dream.
5. Swim: Terrifying. Yet possible?
The new Paige feels ready for anything, but when Ryan's sweet, nerdy cousin Max moves to town and recruits Paige for the QuizBowl team (of all things!), her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Starting over isn't easy, but Paige knows the scariest things are usually the most difficult. Can she face her fears and finally open herself up to life and love again?
It surprises me to say this, but The Start of Me and You wasn't quite my cup of tea. I usually do not have such a discrepancy between other book bloggers' ratings and my own, but I suppose you can't love every book you pick up.
Let me start off by saying I love YA Contemporaries and Realistic Fiction, I do. But in all honesty, this one just seemed . . . bland. It was boring. From the very first page, this book just somehow wasn't for me. Usually I want to get cracking on reading the moment I pick up a new book, but I read the first page of this one, and let's just say it took me a while to get past even that. For weeks I would pick up the book, try to read a chapter, grow increasingly tiresome of the text, and then set it down for another couple of days. I only felt compelled to finish reading due to the imposing library due date.
The Start of Me and You did not stand out to me from other works in the genre. While reading, I felt as if Lord was just writing off a template of another author. The text, the plot, the everything? All stuff I've seen before. And I do think Emery Lord possesses all of the puzzle pieces and has the skills to crank out a five-peach book, but she doesn't quite yet know how to piece everything together. It's my understanding that she wrote this book before Open Road Summer, so having read her debut novel, I can say I've already seen improvement.
On the other hand, there were other aspects of the story that were . . . strange. Example: Paige's parents previously divorced and are now dating each other. Okay, now that's something I've never seen before. Another example? The "bucket list-type" thing Paige created with only five items on the list. I always felt this to be a little abnormal, as if Emery Lord only went half in to the story. Okay, and number four on the list, (Travel: Well a girl can dream), was not at all touched upon. Did Paige cross it out halfway through the story or something? Was it just added to create five list items in total? I feel like I'm missing something here. (I probably am.) So forgive me if I'm forgetting, but I think this just goes to show how unmemorable this book was.
Call me heartless, but I never felt connected to any of the characters. I hate bashing, but our main character, Paige? I'm sorry, I didn't like her. She just . . . annoyed me. There's nothing specific that went down to make me dislike her, but over the course of the story, my "like levels" continually went down. I'll give Paige credit, though. She had to deal with a whole lot of heavy stuff over the course of the story, and I do think she came out of the novel as a new person.
And then there was her posse of friends. I'm sorry, there were two or three of them, but as I continued reading on into the story, they all morphed into one. There was Tessa . . . Kaleigh . . . and Morgan (that took effort to recall). For the life of me, I could not distinguish one from the other. They're in the story as Paige's friends and supporters, but I honestly felt they were all such unnecessary, useless characters. I disliked how the girls' friendship was portrayed. At one point in the story, they just all had an "ice cream eating pity party" as they hugged each other and talked about their problems. Do people actually have those?! How . . . cute.
I know it probably sounds like I absolutely hated everything about this book, but I didn't. The book improved as the plot neared the end, and I for one loved how the book left off. Plus, "nerd love" is always pretty darn adorable.
So although I did not particularly enjoy this read, I'm still happy I gave it a try.