I received this book for free from ARC Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Bloomsbury on March 31st 2015
Genres: Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult
Source: ARC Tour
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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?
What a wonderful breath of fresh air The Start of Me and You is. Last year I was desperately yearning for a debut novel titled Open Road Summer, crazy over it’s beautiful cover and amazing premise. Of course when you want something so badly – set your expectations so high – there could be some disappointment if those aren’t met. But Open Road Summer was everything I hoped for, and more! Emery Lord immediately became a favorite author with just one book. No pressure on the second, right? When I read the premise for The Start of Me and You, all those feelings of excitement and anticipation filled me once again. And of course, Emery Lord delivered with another beautiful story filled with friendship, family, and love!
Paige Hancock is determined to begin her junior year of high school with a fresh start. Paige’s boyfriend died in a terrible drowning accident just a year prior and it has left a huge mark on her ever since. The past year was filled with grief and feeling as though people were defining her by it with That Look, the one filled with sadness and pity. Wanting to break free from her past, she sets new goals for herself – be more social, get involved, date again and overcome her fear of water. And she has her eyes set on a certain boy she’s had a crush on for years, Ryan Chase.
Paige was easy for me to like. She’s smart and likes to read. She’s a little bit introverted, like me. But she was also brave and willing to step outside of her comfort zone with determination to find that new confidence she needed, and I admired that about her. She had a wonderful family. Her family’s presence was strong and played a very important part of Paige’s story, as it should, from dealing with the changes of her parent’s relationship, to a grandmother who was her inspiration. She also had an amazing group of friends by her side. Emery Lord is spectacular at telling stories about friendship and each and every one we experience was meaningful. In her quest to fulfill her new goals Paige meets Max, Ryan’s cousin, as she signs herself up to join Quiz Bowl (an academic trivia game played between schools). Max is a little more ‘nerdy’ than Paige is used to, extremely academic, but they become more than friends, true confidants. They get each others’ jokes and respect each others’ interests. Max is excellent at getting Paige out of her comfort zone, exactly what she needs. And boy, out of nowhere he had some MOVES! Moves you just can’t help but swoon over! Somewhere along the line Paige realizes Max is exactly right for her, who she wants. And I love how the story never took the road of turning Ryan into the bad guy for her to see it. Ryan was a great person and friend until the end.
The whole idea seemed silly and shallow now. I’d liked Ryan the way I liked fashion magazine editorials – girls in full skirts, with doe legs and tall heels – the ones that make you think: How beautiful. I wish that could be my life. Ryan Chase was my eighth-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bite of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made in onto every playlist. Peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me.
Paige’s past relationship occurred when she was young and was brief. And though she cared for him tremendously, she was not in love with him at the time of his death. So this isn’t a story about a lost love and overcoming that broken-hearted grief to find someone new. It’s about how losing someone close to you at a young age impacts your life. How scary death is when confronted with it. She didn’t just lose a friend, she lost who she was as well. I found the approach to this topic very refreshing and realistic for the age of the characters. A pleasant surprise!
I cannot get over just how beautiful, sweet, emotional and adorable this story was! I closed the book filled with a fuzzy, warm feeling inside and a smile on my face! I wanted to be there with the characters. I wanted front row seats to Quiz Bowl. I wanted to meet her awesome teacher who basically made me love her in so many ways by the end. I wanted to have a game night with her family. I wanted hang with this group of friends and join in on the fun and laughter. The Start of Me and You was the first book I read in 2015 and has set the standards for the year incredibly high! Emery Lord has an amazing gift of creating characters you can’t help but fall in love with. I’m looking forward to her next novel so I can once again immerse myself in her extraordinary words.
If you’re lucky, relationships – with family or friends or boyfriends – are limitless. There’s no maximum on how much you can love each other. The problem is, there’s also no limit to how much you can hurt each other.
**The quotes are taken from an ARC and may differ from the final copy.