sofia ☾'s Reviews > Again, but Better

Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
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did not like it
bookshelves: 2019-reads, contemporary, how-was-this-published, new-adult, romance, these-characters-can-choke

again, but better should have been rewritten again, but better. this was so bad, unreadable bad. i was screaming from how bad it was bad. the writing, the characters, the plot, everything was far from being good. it makes me wonder whether or not this book would've been published if christine wasn't "one of the most followed booktubers today”.

shane: shane needs change. her life as a pre-med student with good grades but no friends and far from being in any relationship isn't doing it for her anymore. and what better way to change her life than to pack her bags and move to london for a semester? the problem is that she isn't there to pursue her medical career, but instead do what she really loves - writing, even that goes against her parents' wishes. everything seems to be going well for shane after she arrives in london, but between all the friends she's made and the adventures she's had, there's a lot of self doubt and fear going on in her head. her parents won't support her passion for writing, the boy she likes confuses her to no end. but even after all that happened, if she had the chance to relive those moment, would she go back? uh, i don't even know where to start with shane's characters. the first words that come to mind are: delusional, desperate, naive, and hella annoying. i feel a tad bit bad for disliking shane's character so strongly, since i feel like i'm actually saying christine is an awful person (you'll get why in a second), but let's forget that for this review. the only thing shane cares about is one of the guys she meets as soon as she gets to london, pilot. hangs out somewhere with him? omg, we're on a date! he reads her stuff? omg he read my stuff, that has got to mean something right? no, shane, it does not.

"i stride down the sidewalk with pilot. this is our second walk in three days. is this a second date? i think this boy likes me. i think he’s feeling what i’m feeling, and i can barely contain the urge to skip down the road."

she was so desperate to have something with pilot, that the whole time i just wanted to knock some sense into her and scream YOU'VE KNOWN HIM FOR A DAY! and don't even get me started on the nickname she gave him. i think i got a headache after reading this part.

“what do people call you?” i ask, curious now. “pilot … or pi.” “pi? like in math? you’re not pi like in math, though. that feels kind of cold. you’re more of a pie-pie. pies are warm and wonderful and delicious—” i cut myself off. okay, there’s outgoing and then there’s this."

she spent the whole time wondering "has pilot broken up with girlfriend? did he do it? is he doing it now?" . just shut up. for one second. her whole life revolved around this guy she hardly knows (1) . when she found out that he had a girlfriend? iconic. i've never see anyone be so sister shook over the relationship of someone she has known for only a few days. she knew nothing about him at this point, and i'm sorry if you already had your guys' wedding planned, but that's life for you.

"what have we been doing, then? it’s only been three days, but i feel like we’ve been taking walks and flirting forever. it felt like we were kind of, sort of, dating. i built up all these hopes. now they’re all withering around in pieces on the floor of the pub."

pilot: if shane was annoying, then pilot can fucking choke. he was such a meh character. literally, his only personality trait is that he loves cheating on his girlfriend, amy. oh, and he's the only person in the world that knows about the beatles.

“i like the beatles…” “wait.” pilot comes to an abrupt stop mid-aisle. “what?” i say hesitantly. “the beatles?” he breathes. “no way. you like them? no. way. no. way—” i roll my eyes. “stop—” i interject. “no. way!” “stop!” my voice hits squeak levels yet unknown to mankind. “i love them! i thought i was the only one who knew about them.” he beams."

the fucking beatles. yes, thank you pilot. because clearly when they were around, and you weren't even born yet, you were the one holding their careers. but it gets worse, because pilot here, who has been kind of flirting with shane this whole time, has been hiding the fact that he has a girlfriend, because of course he is. and suddenly i was taken back a few years and was rereading anna and the french kiss again for the first time. shane got on my nerves, don't get me wrong, but pilot is the one with a girlfriend, and he was just out there disrespecting her the whole time. if he had feelings for shane, then he just needed to break up with his girlfriend, not because he was bored, but because he had feelings for someone else. and no one cares about this! everyone just completely ignored how hurtful and disrespectful the two of them were being towards amy, pilot's girlfriend (2).

unfortunately, not only didn't i like the main characters, the rest of the book was just as bad. i was hoping this would be a very cute and fluffy romance, but it was the exact opposite. it only took me about 10% of this book to understand that i wasn’t going to enjoy it as much as everyone else, but i still decided to push myself through it because 1) part of me still wanted to know what happened and 2) so many people were giving this 5-stars, i needed to know if it was going to get better. spoiler alert: it didn’t.

shane is christine. christine is shane. in my lifetime, i've probably watched two or three videos from christine, and that's probably an exaggeration. yet i still couldn't help but notice the similarities between shane, the main character of this book, and christine, the author of said book. from the way she talks and expresses herself to the username she uses on her blog, frenchwatermelons19. doesn’t that sound familiar? maybe because christine’s username is polandbananas20? it's impossible to ignore these similarities, and not only does it take you away from the actual story, it also feels like a total invasion of christine's privacy. also, is this some type of self-(fan)fic for christine? is that even a thing?

everything that isn't true about europe - a guide by the author of again, but better. i want everyone to know, as someone who’s from europe, that travelling all over the continent is not cheap! and so much fun! and so fast! people don’t do that here. if you’re from france, you don’t just spend the weekend in italy. it’s not a thing. i’m pretty sure christine also had an exchange semester while at college, and maybe she did have the same experience as shane, but just know that it’s not as easy as it’s made out to be. unless you're rich. then i guess it's just as easy.

the writing! the writing was so bland. add the excessive use of exclamation marks to the fact that it sounded like christine was inside my head narrating the story of her life, it just wasn’t a good experience. although it made for a very fast read, it was annoying how the whole story was told in a “i did this! and then this! i can’t believe this bitch did that!” kind of format.

the character's names. i know this is such a shallow thing to point out, but when you are constantly seeing these characters' names, it starts getting on your nerves. babe, atticus, and, how do i even say this without cringing, pilot pen? my only question is: why? honestly just name all of your characters john smith, because these other names ain't it, sis.

diagnosis: sir, we have a bad case of insta-love here. the romance starts from the moment shane and, it always pains me to say his name, pilot meet. as in, you flip the page and shane is already saying how much she likes pilot. pilot this. pilot that. the smallest things would happen, and she would just go insane. i'm-already-planning-our-wedding kind of insane.

gray area cheating throughout the whole book. as you can probably tell from what i've said, pilot started cheating on amy the moment his small brain decided that he had feelings for shane. although they never acted upon their attraction, emotional cheating is a thing! if you have feelings for someone else while you are in a relationship, you are cheating on your partner!

the constant pop culture references. we get it that you like harry potter, cassandra clare and whatever else the characters kept mentioning, we really do. maybe now you can, just like, not do that? on every page? from beginning to end?

boring. i did not care that they were in italy! and paris! nothing was happening for the longest time besides them travelling to places.

the plot who? no one explained what the fuck happened. i don't want to get much into it since it might be a spoiler, so just keep in my mind that nothing will be explained and if you want to know more, just head to the spoilery section (3).


(1). even after spending six years with absolutely no communication, shane was still thirsty for pilot. and i mean, i'm-almost-engaged-and-still-haven't-forgotten-that-one-guy-i-met-six-years-ago. and, of course, when they get the opportunity to go back in time, she loses her mind since it's shane's time to shine, back off pilot's girlfriend. which yes, pilot is still dating the girl he was dating while in london, amy, at this point. but who cares about her? shane is gon' get that pilot dick.

(2). can we talk about babe for a second? why was she essentially encouraging pilot to cheat on his girlfriend the whole time? from inviting both him and shane to paris, to making them sleep in the same room. she was always like "oh, you like pilot? omg i'm gonna leave you two together, ihih." what? also can we talk about how her and shane have supposedly been best friends for six years, and shane is only now finding out that babe's name is barbara? tragic.

(3). the main plot of this book is that six years after their semester in london, shane and pilot get to go back to that time and they can either reset everything and go back to their lives or just restart from there, again, but better. no one, and with no one i mean the author, didn't bother explaining why or how or who or what the fuck happened. uh, magic! look at them going back in time! who's this lady? who cares! what does she mean with "being ready?" that's for losers! a mess.


this was bad. those are my final thoughts.

arc provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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Reading Progress

January 2, 2019 – Shelved
February 25, 2019 – Started Reading
February 25, 2019 –
6.0% " “i love them! i thought i was the only one who knew about them.”

yes, pilot! no one knows about the beatles but you! beatles who? never heard of them! only pilot knows who they are!"
May 6, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-9 of 9 (9 new)

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The Damsel in the Library Yep, I agree. Also, should someone like Shane be in the stressful environment of a doctor?

message 2: by Beks | (new)

Beks | The Little Fiction Fox "Should have been written again, but better." 😂 I wish publishers would stop publishing rubbish fiction just because the author is a popular booktuber. It's getting old 😩

InBooksILive I agree with every single thing you said! I couldnt even finish the book! I just couldn't do it any longer.

sofia ☾ Beks wrote: ""Should have been written again, but better." 😂 I wish publishers would stop publishing rubbish fiction just because the author is a popular booktuber. It's getting old 😩"

exactly!!! i appreciate everything christine has done for the online bookish community, but this book clearly needed some more work

sofia ☾ InBooksILive wrote: "I agree with every single thing you said! I couldnt even finish the book! I just couldn't do it any longer."

it really is bad! i only finished it because i wanted to see if it would better (which it didn't)

message 6: by kristina (new)

kristina Such a great review! I got annoyed just reading the bit about the Beatles.

sofia ☾ kristina wrote: "Such a great review! I got annoyed just reading the bit about the Beatles."

thank you! me too, pilot wasn't even around when the beatles were the biggest band in the world, why would he be the only person to know about their existence? oh well

message 8: by Zoe (new) - rated it 1 star

Zoe Trezise This was an awesome review!! The only tiny little thing I disagree about is the travelling thing. Just got back from a year studying abroad in London (also, since I think you’ll be interested, she got a shit tonne wrong about the way England works) and that’s basically what we all did - Australians, Americans you name it. In the case of me, I saved up for YEARS and then blew all my money and travelled as cheap as possible. Did I take the £15 bus to Dublin even though it was 13 hours? Yes, because it was cheap as fuck 😂

Lea ♞ That_Bookdragon I've read so many negative reviews about this book that I don't even want to see it on my shelves anymore and yours made me want to give up it for good. It seems like such a mess of a book :(

Amazing job with your review, it was very insightful and detailled!

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