Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 384 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
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 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?
Before I begin this review, I feel the need to ask for you to excuse any flailing and confusing wording because I have been putting off this review forever due to the fact that I feel like I can't adequately describe what this book means to me.
This book needed to be written. For so many reasons. It showcases how one can overcome loss, how anyone can find love, and how there is nothing more important in the world than friends. But, more importantly, it also shows why geeky boys rule the world.
Emery Lord is my go-to author for realistic YA, so to have had the opportunity to work on this novel during my internship at Bloomsbury has blown my mind completely because I don't know what I did to deserve the opportunity to handle such an amazing book. Whatever it was, I'm thankful that this book is in my life, and that Emery Lord is an author who is just going to continue to soar because of her ability to write relatable and important characters. Paige is one of my favorite main characters ever. She's suffered and all she wants to do is start anew, even if it's hard. She's known as The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died and that title just became what she is to the world. As someone who grew up as The Girl Whose Parents Almost Died When She Was In Kindergarten and The Girl With Two Disabled Parents, I understand how a title forced upon you and can not only alter your world, but also the way you perceive yourself. Paige's fight for happiness, in my eyes, was necessary and amazing. I rooted for her every step of the way.
But, in all actuality, I didn't even have to root for her because she has such an amazing support system in her friends and family. Guys, this is how friends and family should be written. I hate the dysfunctional family trend in YA that takes away from realistic views of the world. Also the stabby friends that lie to your face and secretly hate you. I had one of those in real life that I just got rid of, I don't need to read about them in my books, so it's truly refreshing to see such an amazing friend group and family. A support system is essential to survival. Whether it be good or bad, they are always there, they will always be there, and they won't let you ever be alone. I can go on and on about why Paige's friends are the bomb dot com, but I think part of the beauty of this story is discovering them for yourselves, so instead I direct you to one of my favorite author guest posts ever where Emery talks about why she writes flawed female characters and, by default, why they make the best friends anyone can ask for. People who recognize flaws and love you for them are good people, and those are the people that Paige is surrounded by. Naturally, you can assume that the girl power in this book is off the charts in the best possible way because of this, and I loved every minute of it.
But let's head into lighter topics and talk about NERDY BOYS THAT MAKE YOUR HEART BEAT BEAT BEAT BEAT. This novel speaks to my soul. The nerdiness (which we all embrace proudly) and the pop culture references were just perfect. If there was ever a book out there written for me specifically, this would be it. THERE IS NERDY BANTER! THERE IS NOTHING BETTER IN THE WORLD THAN SOME WELL DONE NERDY BANTER. There is also a Quiz Bowl team. My school didn't have a Quiz Bowl team, but I feel like I totally would have been a Quiz Bowl kid if we did. And of course, there's a ton of references to some of the best literature around. What more could we ask for?
And, lastly, there is the romance. This romance was so sweet it did crazy things to my heart. Max is literally one of my favorite love interests ever. So much so that when I got to the last page I found myself frowning. Though I was satisfied with the ending of this book, I was not satisfied that their story had to have a legitimate end. I wanted more of him and Paige, more of their banter, more of their relationship that oozes cuteness and perfection. I just wanted more of the best romance of 2015, really.
This book made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me smile. It made my heart soar and my cheeks hurt. It made me happy, and it made me slightly nostalgic, and it even made me feel like I am not alone because a literary character gets me. It simply made me feel in ways that are indescribable, and there's nothing more I could ever want from an author and their book. This story was simply beautiful. So beautiful that it turned me into a blubbering mess, which is totally not beautiful.
Emery Lord is must-buy for me, and she will forever remain on that list. I look forward to all her future works with a huge smile on my face and an excitement reserved for only my favorite authors out there. Every book she writes means that I will inevitably meet one of my new literary best friends, and I can't wait to see who will be next.
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.
Personal Disclaimer: My internship at Bloomsbury publishing has in no way affected my opinions expressed in my reviews. I received this book not as an intern, but as a blogger/reviewer, thus I will review it as I would any other novel. Waiting to post such reviews until the completion of my internship would not be good because most thoughts would be irrelevant by the time of completion of said internship.