Publisher/Year: Bloomsbury USA Childrens- March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary YA
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: Open Road Summer (which I also SUPER loved)
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!
Want an “at a glance” look at what I thought? Check out my Review On A Post-It or my “Final Thought”
Paige’s boyfriend died suddenly a year ago and she’s been living her life with the title of The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned hanging over her. She’s shut mostly everyone else out besides her best friends and has let the event dictate her life. She finally feels ready to move forward so she doesn’t lose even more time and creates a list of things to do to make this coming school year a good one — things like get her crush to want to date her, join a club, swim & more.
FIVE REASONS YOU SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK WHEN IT COMES OUT TOMORROW:
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.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? YES
The Start Of Me & You absolutely delighted me — from the strong female friendships to the sweet & nerdy romance, it slapped a constant grin on my face. Emery Lord is so skilled in writing realistic fiction — the romances, the friendships, the hardships, high school life, familial relationships — in a way that it includes it all but never feels overwhelming nor underdeveloped. Emery Lord’s sophomore novel is a must read and solidifies why I’ve been so bold to say she was a favorite author after her first book, Open Road Summer.
CAN WE JUST TALK ABOUT THE FRIEND GROUP?!? Also, please give me recs for good, strong friendship books in YA!
*If you haven’t read it, does it feel like something you’d be into?