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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: March 31, 2015
Pages: 384
Source: Won from Goodreads
Rating: 4.5 Stars

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?

In short: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord is a lovely read with relatable characters and relationships.
Let's back up a second: I actually read Emery Lord's debut, Open Road Summer, before delving into The Start of Me and You. I never reviewed Open Road Summer, but here's the short version: I really could not get past the protagonist's predilection for calling all girls "sluts." I'm normally all for flawed characters in books, but this one - albeit small - negative characteristic of the main character just turned me off of her completely for some reason, and I found I couldn't get past that.

So now here's the major difference in my feelings for Emery Lord's sophomore novel: I really liked Paige Hancock, the protagonist of The Start of Me and You. She was super relatable and even though she was still flawed - Emery Lord's characters tend to be nicely layered - she was still likeable. And it wasn't just Paige: I really appreciated the characterization of all members of Paige's friend group. Something else that Emery Lord seems to be able to do very well is to showcase really great friendships in addition to romance.

Those who know me know that romance is not my specialty and I tend to shy away from very romance-heavy novels. But for what it's worth: I thought the romance in The Start of Me and You was very well done. It was exactly the kind of romance I go for when I'm in the mood for a romance at all: a slow building relationship that sneaks up on you unexpectedly, but just FITS so perfectly that you wonder why you never saw it before.

Overall, I'm pleased I gave Emery Lord another shot despite not digging the protagonist from her debut novel. And honestly, it really was that one little thing that got stuck in my craw and I couldn't seem to get over; otherwise I'm sure I would have loved Open Road Summer as much as The Start of Me and You. Emery Lord really does have a fantastic talent at creating genuine and relatable characters, relationships, and stories.

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  1. Great Review :) Good to know you like this book better than the first one of the author.

    Aparajita @Le' Grande Codex

  2. Lovely review my friend^^ I know you know that we share similar thoughts when it comes to straight up romance but the way you described this one makes me think it'd work for me just as well as it did for you. I also like the sound of the friendships and well rounded characters. Good for you for giving this author another chance!

    1. Thanks, Micheline :) I think you'd like this one too, if you could convince yourself to read some contemporary!

  3. I haven't read anything by Emery Lord yet, but I am really curious about her upcoming title When We Collided. I hear good things!

    I'm glad you enjoyed this one and the MC was easier to like. It's good to know you liked it so much since you don't read a lot of romance either. I don't mind romance, but it does depend. Sometimes I don't like when it's the main focus...but other times it works really well.


    1. Ooh yes, I'm curious about When We Collided too! I think you would like this one, Lauren.

  4. Awesome review Aylee :) Yay for liking this book so much, despite being wary about it :) Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts about it. <3 It do look so so cute. Sadly, not really my genre, so I'm not reading it. But maybe one day, since you liked it so much :)

    1. Heh, yeah not really my genre either. But I'm glad I gave it a shot :)

  5. I also wasn't a huge fan of Open Road Summer (the details why are fuzzy), which is why I have stayed away from this one. However, after reading this review, I may just change my mind on the subject. I like the idea of a subtle, slow burn romance.

    Thanks for the review!

    1. Yay, I think you would probably like this one more too!

  6. First up, blog name goals. Potterheads ftw.

    And ooh, this looks like a cool book. I've never read anything by Emery Lord, but eh, there's still time. Also, what a cute cover, it's super adorable!

    Little Moon Elephant

  7. Yes! I didn't really like Open Road Summer but loved this one. It has a great balance of focusing on family, friendship, and romance.

    1. Hurray! Hopefully her third book will be more like this one.

  8. This book sounds so good and like something I'd enjoy as well. I can totally see how someone calling girls "sluts" all the time can get irritating and sexist, but it's good the books seem to be getting better. I'm adding this to my TBR. Awesome review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts