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The Start of Me and You

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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?

376 pages, Hardcover

First published March 31, 2015

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About the author

Emery Lord

12 books3,314 followers
I'm Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything's going down in flames, and the moments that change everything.

I don't check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,893 reviews
Profile Image for jessica.
2,533 reviews32.3k followers
January 13, 2020
first things first - have you ever seen a cuter cover!?? i am obsessed with the pastel minimalism vibes this is giving me.

and the story inside is just as cute, just as adorable. when i first read this and wrote a quick review, i said ‘there are some things that i would have preferred to happen, but they didnt detract from my overall enjoyment of this book.’ i have literally NO IDEA what i was referring to, because everything about this is perfect the second time around.

i love how this explores various themes, such as crushes, losing loved ones and grief, friendship, and family bonds. but more importantly, discovering who you are as a person and living your life according to that. i think this is such an important message and conveyed in a deeply relatable way.

i really love all the realistic, but fluffy, feels of this story!

4 stars
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,126 reviews2,165 followers
January 15, 2015
I don't know if this has ever happened to you, but sometimes I'll glance over at the cover of a novel or read the descriptive copy and I'll just know, viscerally, that I'm about to fall in love with literature all over again. It's not that there aren't more beautiful covers or better written descriptive copies out there; it's just a gut-reaction that hasn't led me astray. I felt it, first, in the fourth-grade while browsing through a Scholastic catalog for the upcoming book fair and stumbled upon The Cry of the Icemark, a fantasy novel which was read and re-read throughout the formative years of my young adolescence. I felt it again when I gazed at The Scorpio Races, trying to find a Stiefvater novel which would make me love her as her fans did. I experienced that pure love-at-first-sight longing with Fire, a novel I'd never seen or heard of but which remains my all-time favorite to this day. Even on Amazon, as I click on titles to pre-order, I knew, inexplicably, that Isla and the Happily Ever After would become my most beloved Stephanie Perkins novel yet. Most importantly, though, despite not having falling head-over-heels in love with Open Road Summer the way I know countless other readers did, I could not resist The Start of Me and You. It makes no sense, these random novels from different genres and authors, most of which I'd never typically pick up, yet gravitate towards only to fall madly, deeply, in love. The Start of Me and You is one of those unbelievable love stories for me; it fits into all the curves and prickly corners of my heart and thank you, thank you, thank you Emery Lord for writing it.

Lord's sophomore novel takes place roughly a year after Paige's boyfriend of mere months, Aaron, jumps of a cliff during a Boy Scout meet and accidentally drowns. Unlike a typical grief novel, however, Paige's pain following Aaron's death has far more to do with her own coming to terms about death and its sudden, fleeting quality than it does about him. Of course Paige mourns for Aaron, but mostly she grieves for the fact that his life was cut short; that he died so young and full of life. For nearly a year, Paige has suffered PTSD, fearful of drowning and unable to stop dreaming of it. Moreover, Aaron's death has affected her entire community, making her mother far more overprotective than before and thrusting Paige into the spotlight as a recipient of countless condolences. Commencing her junior year, however, the last thing Paige wants is to be the same, mopey person she's been for the past year. Lord's grief novel isn't about the immediate pain afterwards but rather about the lingering effects of mourning; the way it creeps into your thoughts without debilitating you, the way you try to move on and finally begin to succeed, the way you realize there are so many other types of grief in life beyond what you've already experienced. In order to truly become a new person, though, Paige carefully outlines a set of goals for herself to accomplish, one-by-one. Whether it be something as simple as attend a high school party or join a club, or something more difficult like date someone again (preferably her crush from sixth grade, Ryan Chase), travel, or finally get back into the pool, she's determined to make this year better than the last.

What I loved about The Start of Me and You, from the onset of the novel itself, is that it's set up as an introspective novel. Paige's voice jumps out from the beginning itself--raw, natural, and real--and as she changes, the self-assurance and happiness she finds leaks into her narrative and into our hearts. From just the beginning chapters, I knew Paige was the type of heroine I'd become friends with in a heartbeat; loyal to a fault, flawed but kind hearted, and a nerd to boot. Moreover, this story is, first and foremost, about her. For romance lovers, I hate to say it, but the majority of this novel is not a love story. It's a Paige story.

Paige's three best friends--Tessa, Kayleigh, and Morgan--play such a pivotal role in her life and I want to applaud Lord for writing authentic female friendships. Each of Paige's friends have their own strengths and weaknesses, their own struggles to resolve alongside Paige's, and they each bring a unique perspective to her life. Moreover, just as Paige changes over the course of the novel, her friends do too, each dealing with their own issues but coming out stronger and more beautiful than before. I admire the strength of their bond, their frank conversations, and even their disappointed musings as they discover that yet another cute teenage guy is a misogynist. What's more, Lord doesn't hesitate to dedicate chapters solely to these girls. In fact, I'd have loved this book even without the romance element; the rock-hard friendship between these girls was all I really needed.

Yet another aspect Lord nails is the familial relationships. Paige's divorced parents aren't her greatest allies; she doesn't get along with her overprotective mother and having to follow rules her friends don't have to abide by is difficult. What makes Paige's life at home all the more strange, though, is the fact that her divorced parents have been dating one another--for four months! Paige doesn't want to see her parents unhappy--after all, they got a divorce for a reason--and she can't see their new arrangement working out at all. In fact, it seems as if she and her younger sister are going to be caught in the middle of it all. But Cam, Paige's thirteen-year-old sister, is ecstatic about their parents reunion and Paige feels more alone than ever. The only person she can talk to is her Grandmother, suffering from Alzheimer's. Paige's relationship with her Grandmother--the strength she finds within her Grandmother's stories and the comfort she feels from her presence--are some of the most touching aspects of the novel. It's painful to see that her Grandmother often doesn't remember discussing Paige's life with her and watching her patiently re-tell the same fears, hopes, and dreams she had unburdened only a day prior isn't easy. But Paige's Grandmother doesn't enforce rules, like her parents, and isn't blinded by hormones, like her sibling. It becomes evident that Paige's Grandmother is, above all else, an inspiration to her; someone who encourages her through blind faith in her abilities. I love that Paige has someone like that in her life and that she is not only moved, but strengthened, by her Grandmother's past experiences and courage. For me, the fact that Paige is so heavily influenced by such an incredible female role model is such an important part of this novel.

Nevertheless, the aspect of this novel that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout those last few chapters is, of course, the romance. Paige has her sights set on Ryan Chase, recently single, but winds up befriending his cousin Max, who recently moved into their school district. Becoming friends with Max means being a part of Ryan's life too and as Paige's crush persists, she finds herself calling Max one of her best friends. Max and Ryan quickly integrate with her already close-knit group of girlfriends and Paige goes beyond to befriend her Quiz Bowl team, among which Max is the captain. The jump from strangers to best friends is slow-going between Max and Paige and, often times, Paige's crush on Ryan is infuriating. While Ryan is an incredible person, anyone can see that Max is the one who is perfect for her. But their love story is an entirely well-worth slow-burn. Paige shifts her attentions from Ryan to Max well before the end of the novel and though their journey isn't as straight-forward as you'd think, it's all the more rewarding despite that. More than a romance, though, Paige's friendships with Ryan and Max, particularly, allow her to let other people in and open her heart. Max understands her in ways even her best friends don't and their tight bond makes you wish for a male best friend of your own. Moreover, their love story is made all the more special by the fact that Max and Paige are the "plain" counterparts to their best friends, Ryan and Tessa, who are bold and beautiful. Paige never even considers Max crush-worthy because he doesn't have the classic good looks or charm Ryan possesses, so the fact that these two fall in love for all the right reasons and none of the artificial ones makes my heart melt.

The Start of Me and You has so much to offer to the YA community. From inspirational teachers to through-thick-or-thin friendships, from figuring-their-life-out parents to encouraging family members, from new beginnings and blossoming friendships, from feminist discussions to an authentic display of grief, from students determined to pursue their own interests to Jane Austen references...there's something in this book for everyone. It can be nerdy and light, funny and warm; it can be fearful and shaky, tentative and shy; it can be grief-stricken and sensitive, brave and bold. It's unlike anything you've read before and yet, it's all you could possibly want from this genre. Again and again and again and again.
Profile Image for Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner).
382 reviews1,714 followers
April 3, 2015
4.5 stars


1. Emery Lord is writing some of the best realistic contemporary YA out there: Tis true! If your jam is contemporary YA, Emery Lord is where it is at. Jump on that bandwagon early because I know Emery Lord’s popularity is just going to grow more and more. I loved her debut Open Road Summer and this sophomore novel solidifies Emery Lord as one of my favorites already.

2. The girl power in this book makes my heart soar: I already wrote a post that was inspired by the friendship in this book but Imma take some more time to talk about it because it is AMAZING. The friendship between the 4 girls is one of my FAVORITES I’ve come across. Seriously, I just want to be like, “HEY GIRLS…is there room for one more in your group?” I loved how they were all so supportive of each other and their dynamic with one another was different but still important. A lot of times I find in YA that it’s always about the main character and her bff and the other girls in the group are kind of these caricatures who actually don’t seem THAT important to me. Not the case in The Start of Me & You. Each girl was so distinct and their presence in the group was felt and was important. I loved all their shared history and how they stick with each other through all the growing pains of life. If you love positive & strong female friendships, The Start of Me & You excels here! (I also loved how their group expanded to also include some males and there weren’t any dramatics with that).

3. The romance in this book will cause your heart to melt into a sticky sweet puddle of swoons: NO LIKE THE CUTEST EVER. SO SWEET IT HURTS. I promise. It was so realistic and so well done!!! I love when a romance seems unlikely but develops after they spend actual TIME together and get to know each other. I have to admit that I’m fond of the romances where the love interest starts over a friendship of sorts and is totally unexpected. It’s so like what happened between my husband and I. I actually liked a guy he was friends with, like totally had my eye set on him, but we kept spending more time together as I was trying to get close to the other dude….and well, the rest is history. I LOVE THAT STUFF and it totally appealed to me with Paige and Max. From how they bonded over small interests to how they confided REAL stuff, it just completely captivated me and I was shipping them hard. If you like cute, awkward romances….this one is aces!!

4. NERDINESS ABOUNDS: I love books about nerds and smart people! It’s sexy, yo! Nerds showing off their nerdiness. Nerds enjoying Quiz Bowl. NERDY BANTER AND FLIRTING (um getting flirty with Pride & Prejudice chatter!! MY FAVE PART!). It was just so refreshing and their passions were so real.

5. It’s a touching and realistic story about a girl who wants to start anew and not be bound by her past: I really related to Paige’s story A LOT. She became known as The Girl Whose Boyfriend Died and that identity just became her — to others around her and even to herself. When a label like that clings to you (I was The Girl Whose Mom Died) it’s easy just to keep living your life under that assumed identity. I loved Paige’s determination to break free from that finally. I loved the list she constructed that she hoped would help her and I loved how she opened herself up even though it was hard. Luckily the girl had AMAZING support — friends AND family. And I loved that her grieving wasn’t just about the old boyfriend. Sure, she mourned him obviously, but she really they had been only dating for four months and his death impacted her life beyond that which is a hard thing to reconcile. But I think it was also a lot experiencing death for the first time at such a young age. That’s never something easy to reconcile when you encounter someone your age that dies so young. I think Emery Lord explores this in a balanced way — it never becomes too overwhelming or sad — it’s a lot more about her second chance in light of what happened.
Profile Image for Christy.
3,808 reviews32.3k followers
March 7, 2020
5 stars

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Paige is a junior in high school and ever since her boyfriend died the year before, she feels like that’s her identity. The girl with the dead boyfriend. She wants this year to be different. She’s ready to put herself out there and try new things. She wants to join a club, date a guy she’s crushed on for forever, and just live her life to the fullest. This journey doesn’t go as planned for her, but that only makes it that much better.

I love a good coming of age story, and of course, I’m always here for the romance, but one of my favorite things about this story was the strong friendships. Paige had such a bond with her group of friends and they were always there for one another. I truly feel those are the most important relationships at that age. Growing up, you need those ride or die friends in your life.
In friendship we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.

Paige was great and I loved watching her change and grow, but my most favorite character in this book was our hero, Max. Sigh. Max. He’s so smart, sweet, and the kindest soul. You can’t not love this guy. I think he is one of biggest reasons I loved this book so hard.

This was my first book by Emery Lord, and let me tell you- it won’t be my last! I already have the sequel on hold at my library and I’m dying to read it as well as her backlist titles. This book was perfect for me and a true gem! YA lovers, this one is a must read!
“I think I've loved you since that first day.”
Profile Image for ✦❋Arianna✦❋.
790 reviews2,503 followers
June 17, 2015
3.5-4 Stars!!

“The Start of Me and You” was a sweet YA novel about life, family dynamics, friendship, finding yourself and about moving on. This was not necessarily a love story. In my opinion it was more a story about friendship and a coming of age novel.

Paige’s boyfriend Aaron died an year ago in a tragic accident. She still thinks about him trying to come to terms about his death and she still mourns for his life. But she also mourns for herself – her first boy who really notice her drowned in a tragic accident and she will never know the whole of him. In her small town she’s known as ‘The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned’ and she still gets ‘The Look”, look that doesn’t let her forget and move forward.

“The idea of us still hung in the air, but we’d never be more than a few golden memories and a bundle of what-ifs. How do you find closure in that—especially when strangers treat you like a widow to a devoted husband?”

Since Aaron died, Paige suffers from PTSD, having nightmares, dreaming she drowns exactly like him. For a couple of months she saw a therapist, trying to forget, move on and to be again a teenager, trying to find out who she is. But it’s not easy. Paige is about to start her junior year and she knows she needs a plan – a plan to move on, to be like she was before her Aaron's death; she needs a list. One of the things on her list is to date Ryan Chase, her old crash, but her plans are ‘ruined’ when she meets Ryan’s adorable cousin, Max, a green eyed nerdy who will win her heart.

With some help from her family, friends and a special boy, Paige will discover she’s stronger than she thought, that it's ok to let go, she will discover the power of friendship and first love and ultimately she will find the courage to try new experiences.

The story is written really well and it was an entertaining read from start to finish. I must admit it was very different from what I expected, not in a good or bad way, but...just different. Anyway..one of the aspects that I really enjoyed is the friendship between Paige and the other three girls – Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh.

“In friendship, we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos. (...) Because with true friends, no one is keeping score. But it still feels good to repay them - even in the tiniest increments.”

The author did such a great job portraying the bond between these girls. And their bond was truly heartwarming. I really felt how much they care for each other and how important is for them (esp. for Paige) to have each other in their lives. Paige’s best friends, all three of them, were so great. They are caring, thoughtful, considerate, honest with each other and most of all supportive. I loved the fact all of them are differently portrayed. All of them have insecurities, fears, flaws, exactly like Paige and all of them felt really genuine. Even If they are different from each other, their bond is strong, they trust each other with everything. Like Paige, they were very relatable.

Paige was a great developed heroine. She’s an introvert, she’s caring, smart, she’s a good friend, sister and daughter and she loves to read. She was very easy to like and to admire. I loved her determination and the love she has for her grandmother who is inspiration, but most of all I loved her loyalty. Loyalty is a quality I really admire in a heroine, esp. in this case where the heroine is just 16 years old. Even if I didn’t relate too much with her, her struggles felt very real to me.

“Ryan Chase was my eight-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bit of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist. Peanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me.”

Max was such a cute nerdy. He was a wonderful guy – sweet, considerate, protective and simply perfect for Paige. I loved how he tries to help Paige. Their romance is sweet and adorable and how I liked it most of the time – slow build. Mrs. Lord built it in a very realistic way. Nothing felt forced or rushed and everything progressed exactly like it supposed to. I loved the way they are as friends and they banter was fantastically done. There’s no overwhelming, stupid drama or misunderstandings between them, fact that I really liked and their interactions always felt real and honest. I also liked Paige’s relationship with her family – her sister and her parents, which as well it was portrayed in a very realistic way.

The story wasn’t perfect, at least not for me. I have to be honest here, it was pretty predictable, but refreshing in some way. I would have liked Paige and Max’s romance to feel more...like a romance I think.?! Their friendship was really cute and the friendship to ‘lovers’ aspect well done, but I wanted more of these two TOGETHER. And that’s why the ending felt a little rushed to me. An epilogue would have been perfect IMO for this novel. Anyway..the story was great and if you want to read an entertaining YA novel with a slow build relationship, engaging main and side characters and great writing, I really recommend this one.

"Knowing what happens is different from knowing how it happens. And the getting there is the best part."
Profile Image for Jillian .
431 reviews1,778 followers
May 2, 2016
OMG THIS WAS SO CUTE. One of the cutest young adult contemporaries I've read in SO long. I just...

I keep hugging the book because it was just precious and sweet and uplifting and UGH all the good things in life.

But okay here are five specific reasons why I absolutely LOVED this:

Focus on female friendships. I love that Emery Lord placed such an emphasis on the importance of friendship and specifically how lady friendships are probably the most important sort of relationship a young girl will establish and experience growing up. I love how Emery portrayed it realistically and how it's not all sunshine, sleepovers, rainbows, and happy endings. The friends had issues with each other but communicated with each other and their friendships ended up stronger than ever! UGH SO GOOD. THE FRIENSHIP FEELS.

Girls and guys can be JUST FRIENDS. Emery perfectly developed and showed how a real and lasting friendship can form between a guy and a girl. It was just so genuine and reminds me of the friendships I had/have with men that have stayed purely platonic and meant a great deal to me.

A genuine and sweet romance that wasn't over done or over bearing. I ship Max and Paige so hard. HOLY CRAP. Like reading about how they've developed and fell in love. Ugh I don't like to compare at all but it gave me the same when I read Anna and the French Kiss. I got butterflies in my stomach because of these two. JUST SO INCREDIBLY SWEET. AND OK, I love the fact that Max was nerdy and sweet. I mean I love me a bad boy. But Emery has a such a talent for writing and creating "nice guy" love interests who aren't one dimensional and flat.

Focus on family. I love that family was such a huge focus. The parents played a vital role. Paige's sister and their relationship was important. AND I LOVED Paige's relationship with her grandmother. So incredibly sweet and refreshing to see a young adult who values familial relationships because ya know that does happen in real life.

Paige, the main character, is fantastic! I loved Paige's character development. I found her a bit self-centered but i think that's part of her flaws and i love how it was handled. I love the way that Emery Lord portrayed the Paige's anxiety. I completely related to her on that level. It made me feel not so alone. I totally feel's Paige's type A personality becaue I do like my lists like her. Basically, alot of times while I was reading Paige's internal dialogue I was going "this is me. this me omg".

Basically read this especially if you want some quality young adult contemporary, but also if you want something completely uplifting and hopeful and UGH FEELS INDUCING TOO.
Profile Image for Maureen.
507 reviews4,201 followers
November 29, 2019
4.5/5 stars

MAN DID I LOVE SO MUCH ABOUT THIS. And the bonus chapter I didn't even know existed took everything up a notch. I love everything so much.
This had all my favorite things about a contemporary- a main character who has to work through some crap outside of the romance, friends to lovers (!!!!), a strong friend group, and delayed gratification in the romance department. So much to love.
The plot was pretty fantastic as well and was unique (in my mind) for a contemporary. I also really loved getting some callbacks to open road summer even if I did have a lot of problems with that book. I just really loved this a lot and if it stays with me longer than a few hours I could move it up to a 5.
Profile Image for Tiff.
572 reviews538 followers
October 7, 2015
Review originally posted on Mostly YA Lit:

Hi guys, for my first post for The Start of Em and You Week, I decided to talk about how Paige and her story made me have a kind of revelation - one that's made me more accepting and fearless about my own life. Read on for my thoughts about The Start of Me and You, Emery's latest novel, and for an AMAZING handpainted book tote giveaway!

In the past year, I’ve continually noticed this quote in the footer of Emery Lord’s website, and it took me awhile before I realized that it’s the perfect quote to sum up the lessons I learned from Paige while reading The Start of Me and You.

The Start of Me and You is about Paige, a girl who recently lost her boyfriend of two months to a drowning accident. Because of that, she has sort of closed in on herself a bit. People give her a lot of sympathetic looks and she’s tired of being “The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned.” With the start of the school year, she decides to try to take her life back, starting with a list of things she wants to do this year. The list includes dating track star Ryan Chase, joining a new club, and facing up to her now fear of swimming. Paige’s journey takes her onto the Quiz Bowl team, where she (re) meets Ryan’s cousin Max. Together with her friends, she begins to make small changes in her life in order the move forward.

It’s this: the small changes part, that really got to me. At the beginning of the school year, Paige is just trying to get the simplest list of things done. She’s someone who has gone through a terrible ordeal, and has realized how important her friends and family are.

She’s not really feeling the guilt of being alive at this point. It’s been months since her ex-boyfriend died. She’s gone through that. Now she’s just trying to survive. And there’s so much beauty in the effort to do that. For Paige, her one wild & precious life is simply trying to live.


I love the rom-com. I’m a huge fan of The Cutting Edge, and 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s The Man, and a whole host of other romantic comedies, especially in movie form. And to me, there’s one thing that separates a good rom-com from a great one: the little, perfect moments of realism and uniqueness where you see the characters talking about the craziest rumours about them and whether they’re true, or the surprisingly thoughtful gift that the main characters give each other, or the fact that they’re trying to flirt over a wheel of cheese. These little moments give the characters a little more depth, a little more weirdness, and a lot more humanity.

The Start of Me and You is, to me, romantic dramedy in book form. That’s what it read as to me. It reads like a rom-com written for TV or movie - and no wonder, as the main character, Paige, is an aspiring screenwriter who is obsessed with television.

Recently, Amy Sherman-Palladino, the creator of Gilmore Girls, did a panel where she talked about how on that show (and others), she has learned to make the little moments big and the big moments little. I feel like that’s how The Start of Me and You is written, and how Paige lives her life.

Those little moments when Paige is in the car with Max, banter, or when she’s hanging out with her best friends at a football game and they rib her about a boy buying her a hot dog, or when Paige’s best friend Tessa decides to put a special song on the radio in the car for Paige...these are the moments that make this book a little magical. And Paige doesn’t take them for granted: the book is chock-full of little realizations from Paige that her friends are really her family and that these little moments are really big.

“Before I could tell them I was fine, Morgan’s arms engulfed me and Kayleigh was right beside us, pulling Tessa in, too. I could pick out their scents--the soft vanilla of Morgan’s perfume and the floral of Kayleigh’s hair and the spearmint gum that Tess chewed any time we were outside of school. With our arms around each other, I almost believed that strength could travel between us like the heat of our bodies. Nothing, not even sadness, could be greater than the sum of us.”

I woke up in the middle of the night last week with a big realization - one that maybe Paige had gotten to before the book even started.

When I was in high school, I had a bucket list like Paige’s list. It included things like, “play percussion with a world-famous orchestra” or “work for the UN” or “start a charity to end world hunger”. It did not include things like “join a new team” because I was a person who was already doing that kind of stuff. To me, that wasn’t a lofty enough goal. I wanted grand, immense, world-saving things for the future.

Let me just say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. If you have goals of becoming a president or running Oxfam, do it. But the thing I realized is that there is also nothing wrong with having smaller, more attainable goals like Paige does. In fact, to Paige, these things are huge and big. And going with her on this journey, I’m realizing how big those little things can be.

I’m 32 now and let me just give you the short answer: No, I haven’t done everything on my bucket list from high school. I’m not a world-famous percussionist. I did work for the UN for awhile, but I definitely haven’t ended world hunger. My life is pretty much what a lot of upper middle class lives are: I have a steady 9-to-5 job, a nice husband, a couple of cats. We bought a house. We have friends and family and life is pretty good.

And occasionally - maybe more often than I’d like to admit - I feel a bit like my life maybe went the wrong way. Maybe I wish I was living a more romantic life, where I’m constantly travelling the world to help save people. Maybe I feel like I should have been a famous singer whose music everyone downloads and talks about.

I realized, though, that no one in my favourite rom-coms have that kind of life. My favourites are ones where people like me find a little magic in the everyday, whether it's through love or friendship or family - through living their lives. Paige and her rom-com reminded me that my life bucket list doesn't need to be so grand - that there is grandness in the little moments, and grandness in just surviving.

Sometimes grandness just means setting realistic goals and achieving them. Sometimes it means allowing sadness and the mundane to be part of your life so that you can really appreciate those perfect, unexpected moments with your cats and family and friends. Sometimes it means just living everyday with the knowledge that you're improving and making things a little better for yourself and the people around you.

So, tell me, what are the goals you are setting for yourself? What little moments are you making big in your life? 


Love The Start of Me and You like I do? Share your love by entering to win a handpainted The Start of Me and You book tote made by Becca of Pivot Book Totes! Guys, if you haven't seen Becca's other work, she is ridonkulously talented - I own a Fangirl tote by her, and I adore it. For this tote,  she will even customize whatever quote you want on the back. Enter the giveaway below - open to US/CAN mailing addresses only (sorry, international followers, I promise you'll get a giveaway tomorrow)!


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Profile Image for emma.
1,822 reviews48.1k followers
July 14, 2017
Emery Lord and I were off to a rocky start. Well, not start exactly. I thought we had thoroughly DTR’d. And that that definition was “you write bad books, I give them one star forever.” But then she had to go and decide to write something I didn’t hate.


Don’t get me wrong. This book wasn’t perfect. Maybe it wasn’t even all that great. But it’s started to get warm out, and when it’s warm out I read up a STORM - mostly contemporaries. This hit the spot.

But I'm still not ~emotionally prepared~ to change my thinking about Emery Lord. The thing with this book is that, though it had the lil dumb things that are characteristic of a contemporary, it wasn’t nail bitingly, world endingly, life changingly problematic and horrible. One Emery Lord book contained the world's most cringeworthy depiction of mental illness; another was teeming with girl-hate. This book was...fun. You see how that doesn’t make up for anything, really?

But we’ll start with the good stuff. Even if the word "start" is a tad misleading at this point.

First off, this book made me miss my friends. (My hometown friends. Because it’s not summertime yet. And we’re in college so I haven’t seen them since winter break. Why am I trying so hard to convince you guys I have friends?) Anyway. I miss my friends because I really like the squad from this book. They really seem like they have fun together and love each other and whatnot. It makes me miss my squad. But now I’m feeling things and you guys know I’m profoundly anti-feeling so I’m going to move on.

The ~male love interest~ in this, Max, is very cute. More contemporaries should have nerdy guys! That fictional concept of a kind jock dating the not-so-popular girl is nice and all, but we all know nerdy guys are where it’s at for book boyfriends.

Max - and boring old Paige, our main character - are also in this fun thing called QuizBowl! They compete in trivia competition type things. I don’t really know. I don’t even know if it’s real or not. I just know I like trivia (QuizUp! Jeopardy! TriviaCrack! Review games before tests! Sign me up for all of the above) and this was a fun part of the book and I wish there was more more more.

There were also lots of fun literary and TV show references, which I’m always into. Love pop culture, baby. Paige goes to a program at NYU, which was my dream school and my number 1 choice all the way up until I got in and remembered I don’t have $70k a year to just throw around. She also wants to be a screenwriter, which was my dream job for a time! What I’m trying to say here is that a lot of my interests are covered in this book.

This book also has a little bit of diversity. Not a good or great amount, but more than I've come to expect from contemporaries.

I mean, I read the first fifty pages of this book long before the rest (I’ve had an awful habit of doing that lately - I’m going to be so confused when I finally deign to pick up Falling Kingdoms). So I don’t remember the physical descriptions of the characters, but I think at least one was mixed. And I’ll avoid spoilers, but if you read the whooooole book (including bonus scenes) you get some LGBT action.

Kind of the bare minimum. But when most YA doesn’t even seem to be hitting the lowest of lows, it’s hard not to hand out trophies for the little things.

And when it comes down to it, this book had the it factor I’m always looking for with contemporaries. Do you guys know what I’m talking about? That fun, addictive feeling the worthwhile contemporaries have. I feel like I’m constantly looking for that and like, never finding it. So I enjoyed it while this book lasted.

Which, speaking of…boy did this book last. No contemporary needs to be four hundred pages long. None. Hit that 300 page sweet spot and move the hell on. And the beginning of this book wasn’t even GOOD. Remember earlier when I said I read the first fifty pages of this a long time ago? Yeah. Not a good sign.

Now, this book ended up being a fun ride anyway. But the beginning wasn’t. Like, at all. Maybe that has something to do with how our protagonist is a massive, steaming pile of boring. I was expecting her cool group of friends to ditch her, like, the whole time. She brings nothing to the table. She just absorbs their jokes and whines a lot. Which is fair, because her boyfriend died. But that’s no excuse for not being FUNNY.

Going off of that, there’s some weird stuff about death and mourning going on in this book. Like, Paige was only dating Mr. Dead Boyfriend for...a month I think? (Again, it’s been awhile since I was actually introduced to this story.) That’s the excuse we’re given for why she’s mostly fine and absolutely REARING to go to town on a popular jock. But even though she recognizes her sadness as not being equivalent to the best friend of Colonel McDeadFace...she never really tells the best friend that. She just accepts his help and whatnot. It’s a lil weird.

AND HAHAHAHA OH MY GOD HOW DID I FORGET THIS. Max has this very strange speaking quirk that is introduced in the weirdest way. When he sees Paige, he often says - wait for it - “Hey, girl.” HAHAHAHA. Why?! It made me laugh every time. Like, this nerdy character, stealing the following catchphrase from the following individual:

And when he says it, Paige says something so bizarre and fangirly. Something to the effect of, It’s not what I’d expect Captain Dork to say. It reminds me of something my Platonic Girlfriends™ would say, except I’m a mushy pile of hormones when he says it! It’s so forced and uncomfortable.

And speaking of forced and uncomfortable! Emery Lord tries to do that clichéd contemporary author thing here, where you make it overwhelming clear that your books take place in the same world by namedropping other characters. Which is all well and good, except for that I hate her other books with every atom/fiber/dust mite/particle of my being and every time Lilah Montgomery was mentioned I cringed so hard I feared becoming legally blind.

But other than that.

Bottom line: Yeah, read this. Why not? It’s fun, kind of. Definitely not perfect or one of my new favorites, exactly - and we’re still blood enemies, Emery - but it’s the summery read I was looking for.
Profile Image for Andie .
261 reviews373 followers
February 16, 2017
Oh what a beautiful book this was! I finished reading this not even 5 minutes ago and I have the biggest grin on my face. This was my first Emery Lord book and I'm a big fan already. *Runs out to buy all her current work* Add this to your TBR list if you haven't read it yet!

For over a year, sixteen-year old Paige Hancock, has been known as "the girl whose boyfriend died". She's spent the last year shutting herself off from everything but she's now ready for a new beginning and to start living her life. To help herself along, she's created a list:

1. Parties/social events
2. New group
3. Date (Ryan Chase)
4. Travel
5. Swim

I love lists! I mean seriously LOVE them! I find myself writing the silliest lists just for the sake of writing a list. Paige's list is a little more exciting than mine though. It leads her on this amazing journey with friends old and new - opening herself up to new opportunities, conquering fears, and ultimately to love.

This book is packed full of unforgettable characters. There's a very strong emphasis on friendship, which sadly is not seen enough in YA. This group of gals are solid and always there for each other. They have that special bond where nothing needs to be said, they just know what each other needs and never fail to deliver. These are friendships that all young girls should strive for and look up to. They are truly amazing and I commend Emery for a near perfect portrayal.

While the main emphasis was on friendship, there was a little romance involved and oh my goodness it was adorable! No insta-love here, just two people who gradually become friends and build on that foundation. It was sweet, real, and innocent. Is it predictable? Yes it is. But that's not what's important, this is:

"knowing what happens isn't the same as knowing how it happens. Getting there is the best part."

When I got to the big moment it just made it all the more special. I may have even shed some tears.

There's not really anything I can say to do this story justice. THE START OF ME AND YOU has been added to my list of favorite YA Contemporaries and I recommend it to anyone else who enjoys dipping their toes in the genre. The writing is beautiful, the plot perfectly executed, Emery Lord nails it from every angle. Highly recommend!

*Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy for review.*

Profile Image for TeaAndBooks.
81 reviews94 followers
March 2, 2018
Beautiful, simply beautiful. <£
Where can I find a Max?
Profile Image for Meags.
2,108 reviews370 followers
December 30, 2020
4.5 Stars

I am having a hell of a year when it comes to my success rate with the YA/NA books I’ve read so far.

Although this story covered some sombre themes at times — particularly those themes that dealt with grief and closure in the aftermath of losing a loved one — this was largely a charming and feel-good tale, with plenty of heart and humour to balance out some of the more serious moments the young characters were experiencing in their everyday lives.

Where this story most excelled though was in its phenomenal cast of truly likeable and relatable characters. I practically loved everyone involved, from Paige, the heroine of the piece, to her adorably geeky love interest, to her friends, new and old, and even her sometimes trying immediate family members. Hell, even her teacher, Ms Pepper, played a fantastically funny and inspiring role — one that helped break this teacher’s recent bad run with poorly framed educators in YA fiction. HALLELUJAH!

One thing I have to mention is how I spontaneously burst into tears at the end, in the moment when Paige realised her love interest loved her back. It was such a perfect moment and this old sap couldn’t contain the tears of joy that came unexpectedly pouring out of my face. I honestly have so much love for the sweetness of this geeky little romance. I’m all heart-eyes and candy kisses for Paige and... well, you’ll have to read to find out, but, boy, did I adore him!

At the end of the day, I simply had a blast reading this one. And although I’m a bit late to this Emery Lord party, having never read her stories before, I’m here now and I’m all in. I can’t wait to absolutely demolish her available backlog!
Profile Image for emi.
445 reviews1,078 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
July 17, 2017
DNF @ 25%

I'm not one to DNF books, especially only around a 100 pages into something, but this book was actually making me miserable. I'm not wasting time on it.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews368 followers
February 26, 2015
It is funny how you can go into a story not expecting anything and end up loving a character so much that they just made the whole book for you.

This is what Max did to this story. He took an ordinary story and breathed life into it. This story wouldn't have been the same without him in it. In fact, I don't even know if I would have liked this story as much as I did if it wasn't for him. I did like the other characters, in fact I adored Ryan and Tessa, Grammy (especially Grammy!), and Paige but Max, he stole the show.

I never have been able to resist the cute, funny nerdy type and in books it is just the same and Max definitely fits this description but he was so much more than that. I don't even know how to describe him other than he was amazing. To Paige, to Ryan, to the girls, and to complete strangers.
Smart, honest, kind, and truly a heart of gold. He is the type of friend and boyfriend you hope your daughter will bring home and love and be worthy of.

This was an excellent coming of age story that wasn't just about growing up and moving on but about grief, friendship, and choices as well. The choice to move on. The choice to be better. The choice to truly live and the choice to love and be happy.
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
March 2, 2015
This was absolute perfection.

There's something special in the way Emery writes the friendship between girls and this book is no exception to the rule. Paige and her friends are awesome. They're all so different, but mesh so well. It's refreshing to read such strong relationships without bitchiness or cattiness.

And Max? Man, I don't even know where to start with this boy. He's smart, he reads, and he debates Pride + Prejudice with Paige. He's goofy and so damn adorable I want to keep him in my pocket.

The plot is filled with feels and it's impossible not to get drawn into Paige's situation and live it with her. I loved every single word on every single page. And Emery has quickly become one of my favorites. I will read everything she puts out forever.

**Huge thanks to Bloomsbury for sending me the arc**
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,709 reviews703 followers
February 7, 2017
I think I underestimated the swoony-ness of Max because I don't remember him being so damn adorable. And I love that the paperback had an exchange of emails from their summer.

I could read Emery's words forever.
Profile Image for Mandy K.
464 reviews31 followers
July 6, 2019
Full Review

I don't read contemporary that often. I'm more of a fantasy kind of girl, I love being swept up in a new world, surrounded by the impossible. But sometimes, I get a craving. Like hot chocolate, or ice cream, sometimes I crave the comfort of a heartwarming contemporary novel. Today, I woke up with that craving, and this book seemed like just the fix. I sat down, and turned to the first page. 5 hours later I was reading the last line and grinning like a damned fool. If you don't count the bathroom breaks (both mine and my pups), I read this is one sitting. I read it while I walked to the kitchen, while searched through the fridge, while I fried up some eggs. I couldn't put it down, it was so engaging and sweet, I just couldn't pull my eyes away. Yes, it's filled with cliches, yes it was predictable, but damn if I didn't find myself teary eye at the sad moments, fluttering at the sweet moments, and smiling at the joyous moments. Like Max says: "knowing what happens isn't the same as knowing how it happens. Getting there is the best part".

Speaking of, I absolutely adored Max, he was nerdy, sweet, passionate, perceptive, and open. From the moment we saw him standing alone in the office reading, my heart melted. I liked Paige best when she was with him, it was the only time she wasn't guilty, or said, or weak, or trying to hide behind a mask. She was the most her around him and that's how it should be. And I really loved Paige's friends, Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh. They were also so different, and yet they fit together so seamlessly. They were amazing friends, but I felt of the three, we knew Kayleigh the least. Morgan was a feminist, a gossip and a hopeless romantic, Tessa had this whole boho feel about her, loved yoga, music, and food, and she was sort of the ring leader and mother hen. But all that really stuck out about Kayleigh is that she had an out of town boyfriend. And I think she was described as bold when we first met her. I also really enjoyed Ryan Chase, Paige's dad, and Paige's grandma.

With a sweet story, sweet characters, and a sweet ending, this book was a chocolate chip cookie dough milkshake, sweet and satisfying.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,025 reviews1,045 followers
April 30, 2019

I’m sure my words won’t give this book enough credit because my thoughts were still incoherent after reading this book but trust me when I say this is such a good read because it helped me get through my postpartum phase and that’s saying a lot.

I love how it tackled so many meaningful themes about grief, solid friendships, trying something new. I love that the narrative is nerdy and relatable with abundant literature references. I love the natural development of the relationships in the story. Honestly, I just love everything about it. Soon, I’ll reread this and hopefully come up with a better review.

Just some of the wonderful excerpts from the book:

“Handing someone else the only set of keys to your happiness- it seemed like too much to part with, even for love.”

“In friendship, we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”

“With true friends, no one is keeping score. But it still feels good to repay them- even in the tiniest increments.”

Profile Image for Nanna.
249 reviews132 followers
February 14, 2016
Ahhh! What a cute read! So perfect for this Valentine's Day weekend too!

Although it was predictable I really enjoyed this one. The whole deal with Ryan was a bit annoying bc by the middle, I could totally see Max being the other end of the triangle. (Although there wasn't a triangle) I did love how she went out of her comfort zone though <3

Ryan was adorable and I can see myself crushing on him.
BUT I LOVED what a total nerd Max was! I don't know about you but nerds are underrated in YA literature. In HS, my crushes were always on the nerdy guy, so YAY NERDS! *throws confetti* so Max overshadowed Ryan for me hahah

Also, Paige's friends are literally goals. I love them! And I liked that some were closer than others but that didn't mean that they were divided. (Idk if that made any sense haha)

Paige was a great MC too and she reminded me of some of my favorite YA ladies! Her relationship with her grandmother tore at my heart every single time ;________;

Reaaaad this one! If you like Since You've Been Gone by MM and Isla and The Happily Ever After, this one should be your next read!
Profile Image for kate.
1,146 reviews924 followers
May 16, 2018
It’s safe to say this book was utterly adorable. I instantly warmed each and every character and both the friendships and romance filmed my heart with all the warm fuzzies from start to finish. It was funny, honest and caring and the sensitivity, respect and lack of explosive drama within the romance was refreshingly lovely to read. Overall, with its wonderful friendships, the cutest. freaking. romance, brilliantly explored family dynamics, Gilmore Girls references (always a win) and a fantastic narrative around grief, The Start Of Me and You was the perfect, adorable, multilayered summer read.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,895 reviews634 followers
September 7, 2020
I always weary about picking up YA romance. Cause sometimes the story does not work for me. I read Miss Lord's book in the past. And my honest opinion about this book is: too long.

The pace, the flow of the story is way too slow. I do like the idea of the story. Ryan is the jock and Max is the nerd. If I have to choose, I choose Max. He is my book soulmate.

Overall I like this book OK. I wish it can be shorter.

3 stars
Profile Image for lolo'.
257 reviews39 followers
June 2, 2016
5 stars 5 whole stars.


I love the characters.

I love the friendships.

I love the development of relationships.

I love Max.

I love Paige.

I love the writing.

I love the geekiness.

I love the references to anything pop culture.

I love Max.

I love the quiz bowl.

I love the english teacher.

I love the nicknames.

I love Max


274 reviews332 followers
August 3, 2015
I read this book cover to cover THREE TIMES. IN A ROW.

I think that alone says a lot about how much I loved The Start of Me and You. It's possibly my favorite book of 2015. And Emery Lord is DEFINITELY an author I'm watching out for. (As should you.)

Now where can I find a Max Watson??
Profile Image for Korrina  (OwlCrate).
193 reviews4,558 followers
August 23, 2016
I loved everything about this book! Loved loved loved. What a treasure. I haven't felt this way about a contemporary book in awhile. If you haven't read it yet, do yourself a favour and pick it up. SO GOOD.
589 reviews1,031 followers
September 29, 2015
The Start of Me and You was one of the few books that I read and actually finished during the months of August and September aka my huge life slump month. I guess I really really liked this book, so much that I read this in one sitting, in fact. Emery Lord's newest novel is a beautifully written story that is bound to leave anyone who reads it with a huge smile on their face. It's got a powerful friendship theme going on, which was probably the strongest element of this book, and of course, a hella cute romance element as well. The romance in this one was really well developed and drawn out... so basically MAJOR SLOW BURN. Only one of my favourite romance tropes of all time. I obviously cried towards the end of this book, because anything remotely emotional will just get me going, heh.

Highly recommend this one. Sweet and gorgeous novel in and out.
Profile Image for Kassiah.
802 reviews85 followers
January 2, 2016
This review also appears on Swoony Boys Podcast.


Let me start off by saying that I loved this book with the fire of a thousand suns. I get all jumbly inside when trying to articulate all of the things that I loved about it because there were just so. many. feels. If something bad has ever happened to you and you just wish that wasn't the defining thing of your life, this book is for you. If you've ever felt the security in knowing that, no matter what, your BFFs have got your back, this book is for you. If you've ever lost someone that you love, this book is for you. If you've ever had a crush on an unattainable guy and practically died when he finally noticed you, this book is for you. If you've ever thought you wanted someone a lot a lot a lot and then realized that he wasn't who you wanted after all because you met his nerdy cousin who could turn out to be your soulmate/other half, then, yeah...this book is for you.

Basically, I'm saying this book is for you.

A year ago, Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in a freak accident. Now, determined to turn over a new leaf, she decides to make her junior year the year of beginning again, starting with being more social, joining new things at school, dating (hopefully her longtime crush Ryan Chase), traveling, and conquering her greatest fear: swimming. She doesn't expect for Ryan Chase to notice her, much less become friends with her. And she definitely doesn't expect to fall for his cousin, Max Weston.

The year goes by in a flash with Paige crossing some things off of her list and realizing that maybe she's not meant to have some of the things she wished for. She experiences epic triumphs and suffers heartbreaking losses that had me sobbing in the corner. As life around her constantly changes and rearranges, one thing remains constant: the love she feels for her four best friends.
Before I could tell them I was fine, Morgan's arms engulfed me and Kayleigh was right beside us, pulling Tessa in, too. I could pick out their scents--the soft vanilla of Morgan's perfume and the floral of Kayleigh's hair and the spearmint gum that Tess chewed any time we were outside of school. With our arms around each other, I almost believed that strength could travel between us like the heat of our bodies. Nothing, not even sadness, could be greater than the sum of us.

Her relationship with Max shifts from Quiz Bowl partners to something more.
Ryan Chase was my eight-grade collage, aspirational and wide-eyed. But Max was the first bit of grilled cheese on a snowy day, the easy fit of my favorite jeans, that one old song that made it onto every playlist. Pleanut-butter Girl Scout cookies instead of an ornate cake. Not glamorous or idealized or complicated. Just me.


So, what I liked. Can I say everything? I mean, everything. The words, the boys, the friends, the flails. This is a cannot-stop-reading book for sure. But here are some of my favorite things.

I'll start with Paige. She was vulnerable and so realistic, but strong and totally kick-ass. She makes mistakes and puts her foot in her mouth and is just authentic. She feels the things that we feel. And she read (and re-read) Looking for Alaska, which you know is (also) one of my favorite books ever.

If you read this book for only one reason, read it because this is what true friendship is about. Her three best friends have a great relationship, holding each other up and encouraging each other. They're just awesome.
"Our little nerd," Kayleigh said, pretending to dab at her eye. "All grown up and competing against other nerds."

Not choosing friends, but Tessa was my favorite. She's smart and sassy and supportive, and seriously the best friend you could ever have.
"I am your best friend," she told me, avoiding my gaze. She was still on her bed, picking at her nails. "Which is why I won't let you make hair-related decisions when you're this upset."

Max. Ah, sweet, sensitive, Firefly-loving Max. He's one of my favorite boys (new top 10 list?!?), and I just loved everything about him. He can cook. He loves his mom and respects women. He's the most loyal guy ever, but he's not a doormat. And he'd rather read than party. He makes perfect paper airplanes. He's protective and crazysmart and just...gah. I love that he's optimistic and helps Paige see things from a different perspective. And he's so damn cute.
"You have a type now?"

I shrugged. "Possibly."

"Yeah." He thought for a moment. "Your type is nerd."

"Maybe your type is nerd."

"Oh, it absolutely is."

I just want to squeeze him.

I also loved Ryan Chase. He was sweet and funny and a great guy. I loved how much of a bumbling idiot Paige became around him.
"Hot dogs are so good," I said, after what felt like minutes. What. Did. I. Just. Say?

There were parts of this book that I had to read out loud to my friend. There's an argument between Paige and Max where he compares her to Jane Bennet, rather than Elizabeth. She's insulted, and he meant it as a compliment. It's my favorite thing ever, and I read it a thousand times. Max calls her Jane after that, and I seriously could not stop grinning everytime he said it. #lovethisboy

Was there anything that I didn't like? Not really. I just wanted more. I want to see Senior year and prom and college and when Max proposes with a paper airplane and everyone helping them househunt and babies and just...more. I want more. And I want a button like JaimeArkin got *poutsforever*

If you've read all of this flailing and don't understand the depth of my love for this book and these characters, for the way Emery Lord strings together words and sentences into full-out flails and swoons, for the authenticity of real kinship, butterfly-flutters of first love, and utter heartbreak, then I got nothing.

Buy this book today. ♥
Profile Image for emily.
192 reviews501 followers
July 23, 2015
I'm overly emotional about everything right now and I just need a second before I spend an hour writing a review of this

but I frickin' loved this
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
645 reviews1,298 followers
May 9, 2016
"You have a big life ahead of you, sweet girl. And beginning again gets easier with each step."

Monsters by Katie Sky
Brave by Sara Bareilles
Dare You To Move by Switchfoot

I was so ready to not like this book, because on the first 30% of the book, the main character really got to my nerves. Paige was not an easy character to love, in my opinion. But the good thing about her was, she got better. But it wasn't only her that gets better, but the story overall becomes great.

So what is this book about?

The story follows our girl, Paige, who has lost someone pretty special to her at a young age. She wasn't ready to accept and move on from that loss.

The first boy to really notice me drowned in a freak accident, and I would never know the whole of him.

It's been over a year, but Paige still has not gotten over the loss. She was in the same state as she was, after she found out. But she wanted that to change.

There, I thought. A plan. At the top, I wrote:

How to Begin Again

And that was what she did.

Right… so basically that's the main plot of the story. I ended up liking this book, but I would have to say that I did have quite a number of issues with it.

Let me start with the positives first though.

- Max. I am in love with Max! How can I not love this nerdy, airplane-loving dude, who is smart is heck, who loves books, and girl scout cookies? How can you not love Max?

But seriously, he was such an amazing love interest. He wasn't your typical panty-dropping guy. He was the cute one, the one others seem to always ignore. I just want to have my own Max, someone who would be there for you and understand your fears and helps you overcome them. I… am so in love with Max.

- The friendship aspect of this book was great! I really loved how Paige's friends were not just there for the sake of being there. They have purpose, and you fall in love with them too. Why? Because you get to know them. You get to see them interact with Paige, get a little bit of their backstory as well.

Tessa, Paige's best friend, was really someone I really liked and related to very well. I think it's because her personality was very much like mine.

- The writing was very easy to get into. The author didn't try to do something complicated with her writing. It really felt like it was a 16 year old telling the story.

- I really liked the relationship between Paige and Max. I did not expect that I would end up really liking it, because at first, Paige was really into this other guy, who was also amazing. The reason why I liked Max and Paige more was because it started with a great friendship.

- Paige's relationship with her family, I really liked. There was a bit of family drama, but really, who doesn't have a little bit of family drama? I liked how the family wasn't missing in the story. The story showed how present they were and they weren't just there for the sake of adding them in. They had purpose.

If you know me, you'll probably know how much I hate insta-love, and thank goodness, this didn't suffer from that.

Now this book wasn't perfect. I ended up enjoying this book, there were a lot of things that annoyed me.

Let me start with Paige.

- I liked Paige towards the end of the book, but in the beginning, she was so terrible I was sure I was going to DNF the book. She made said and thought so many things that was so irrational, and it just really annoyed me. I was glad I stuck with it though, because I really enjoyed her towards the end. She really matured as a character. She ended in a place that was way different from where she originally started. I've always loved characters that does a significant amount of growth and Paige did just that.

- There was a love square! A freaking love-square! It frustrated me at first, but after a while, you know who would end up with who and I really liked that.

- I liked the friendship that developed between the characters, but what I didn't like was how at first, she thought they were the only important thing in the entire plant. Paige has an amazing family, and she should appreciate that. It just didn't seem that way at first which was why I was a little bit upset with her, but after a while, she was able to patch things up with her mother, and was also able to understand what was going on with her parents and accept it wholeheartedly.


I really ended up enjoying this book, even though initially, I had so much problems with Paige. Luckily, she didn't stay the way she is throughout the book.

This book dealt with family, friends, and first loves. It was really heartwarming and genuine.

,b>Would I recommend this book? Absolutely. I can't wait for everyone to meet Max, who is the most adorable human being in the entire universe! I want my own Max!
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