by Christine Riccio
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane's made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time's a ticking, and she needs a change—there's nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She's going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!
Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.
I gave this book 4 stars. Going into this book I had high expectations. I’ve been a longtime fan of Christine’s Youtube channel and knowing her, I figured she would have some high standards when it came to her own book. While I did enjoy the book and I think it was a good start, I do think she can do better. Since it is her first book I’m banking on the fact that her books are going to get progressively better., so I think 4 stars is a good place to start
It’s so weird going into this review because I know the proper way to refer to an author is by last name unless they are someone you personally know. The thing is Christine is known by her first name on Youtube so I’m a bit conflicted here. I feel like I should refer to her as Riccio because I don’t actually know her personally, but that feels strange. So warning I’m probably going to commit some faux pas in this review, but in the spirit of this book taking place in 2011, I will just say YOLO. Anyway, onto the actual book.
The book itself was really fun, I loved watching the character growth that Shane went through. The story itself I really loved and I actually wasn’t expecting. The first part of this book was kind of slow for me. I felt as though I was sort of strolling slowly through the first half. I thought the entire story was going to be like that, but halfway through, a wrench is thrown into that plan and the title makes complete sense. It’s funny, I thought at the beginning of the story that I knew what the title was referencing, but once we hit the halfway point I realized that that was not what it was about at all.
Shane is a character who I found incredibly relatable. Her personality is a lot more bubbly than mine, but I felt like I could relate to a lot of her experiences myself. As someone who is currently in University, majoring in English, I relate to a lot of the personal conflict Shane experienced. I often find myself kind of embarrassed and as though I need to explain myself whenever someone asks me what my major is because I feel like it’s this “fact” that English majors don’t give you opportunities and that you should choose something more lucrative like medicine or law. Like Shane, I like what I’m doing. Shane feels like she is being pushed in one direction by everyone around her while she’s hopelessly pushing against the grain.
I liked the message the story had about creativity and not letting society kill your creativity. A lot of people end up forced into jobs they hate because otherwise they won’t be seen as “successful”. I think that’s bullshit. I liked how the book went about showing us that.
I preordered a copy of this book because I just wanted to have it on my shelf. It got shipped early so I actually currently have a finished copy and I just have to say that they did such a good job with the cover. If I saw that on a shelf in a store I would probably buy it. I also really love that on the cover under the dust jacket it has a little watermelon engraving. It’s really cute.
Overall, I think it’s a fun twist on a YA contemporary romance novel. It was cute and awkward with a little something out of the ordinary for those of you who aren’t sure about just straight up contemporary novels. It’s got a twist, it’s a fun twist. I would recommend giving this one a read.
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