I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Also by this author: Open Road Summer, Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on March 31st 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
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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?
Immediately after finishing the last page, the last sentence, last word of Emery Lord’s sophomore book The Start of Me And You I had to grab my phone and text and tweet everyone about how this book had made me feel content and full to the brim with positivity. The second book by Emery Lord absolutely exceeded my expectations. Honestly I think that it is much better than Open Road Summer which is really saying something because I loved Open Road Summer. If you are looking for a contemporary young adult book that is so much more than surface and romance pick up a copy of Lord’s The Start Of Me And You. I promise it will satisfy all of your expectations.
Paige’s boyfriend of two months, Aaron, died a year ago in a freak drowning accident in the river. Since his death, people have given Paige what she coins The Look and pity. Paige is ready to move on from Aaron and for people to stop giving her The Look. And so, with the advent of her junior year, she generates this list in her favorite planner of various tasks she wants to accomplish in order to reclaim her life. Chief among these tasks is dating longtime crush Ryan Chase. What ensues is a year of chasing dreams, strengthening new and old friendships, trying new things, and making some pretty big adjustments. The Start Of Me And You is more than a romance, but a celebration of life.
Paige is the quintessential introvert. She prefers hiding away at large parties with a book. She’s shy. She often needs moments to herself. Beyond introversion though, Paige is a character who is indeed traumatized by what happened to Aaron even though she only dated him for two months. You see, she struggles with nightmares and she is afraid of deep water – to the point of not taking baths, just showers. She has this habit of expecting the worst and of selling herself and her dreams short. Emery Lord does this amazing job with her characterization of Paige – in that she makes Paige this character with vulnerabilities, who learns to grow and to truly believe in and trust herself. She allows for Paige to be a kind person without portraying it as a weakness. I’ve not cared as deeply for a character as I have for Paige in a long time. She’s exactly the sort of character you root for and empathize with.
Based on the title and the cover of The Start of Me And You, you might take a gander and guess that there is some sort of romance element to Emery Lord’s book. You would be right. The romance component is perfectly executed. When I started the book, I thought that Ryan Chase would be the romantic lead in the book. However, it’s truly the idea of Ryan that Paige has a crush on and not actual Ryan. Yet, as the book goes on, Paige develops a solid friendship with Ryan as he joins her friend group, along with his cousin Max. Max is this transfer student from Coventry and in their AP English class. He calls Paige Janie in reference to Jane Bennett from Pride And Prejudice and is captain of the Quiz Bowl team. Max and Paige have this awesome friendship that has this slow burn and complete chemistry within.
I think the greatest thing about this book is how well rounded it is. There’s not this overwhelming focus on romance. For once, I felt like there was this realistic portrayal of friendship. Paige has this group of girlfriends – Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh. Instead of competing with each other and being catty, they buoy each other up. The girls are all in with their friendship. They are supportive and kind to each other. There’s no debts in their friendship. I think that this element really pushed the book into five start territory for me. I could not help but feel all the things whenever the girls did something kind for each other.
Even if the characterization, romance, and friendships were not on point, I still think that The Start Of Me And You could stand on its own merits in regards to the writing. I found myself wanting to underline and take pictures of multiple lines of this book, just so that I would have them forever. Emery Lord has this true gift of reaching into a situation and putting a voice to things that we have all felt before. There’s lines in here that are so real and so true. And I think that’s one of my favorite things about books, when they can reflect something about yourself, that you deeply identify with, right back at you.