Again, But Better by Christine Riccio
My rating: five stars
Genre: YA, Romance
Edition: Barnes and Noble Hardback
Goodreads summary: 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.
Let me preface this review with the fact that I have been watching Christine Riccio’s YouTube videos for years and adore her so much. I will definitely try my hardest to be unbiased and give an honest opinion of what I think of this story as if I had no clue who she was.
Likes: I resonate with Again, but Better so much, I relate to the main character and what she is going through on a personal level. I am at a time in my life where I am questioning certain decisions that I made and am wondering what could have been if I made different choices. So the fact that Shane also felt this way through the story really made my look into my own life and made me feel like I am not alone. Most YA stories deal with teenagers (which to be honest I still relate to because I feel younger than I am at heart) but Shane being in college is more relatable to me. I have seen several negative reviews about the writing style but I honestly like it. Christine writes how I imagine an actual person talks and thinks – at least how I talk and think. I do love more “mature” writing but for YA romances I like when I can put myself in the main characters shoes, which is made easier when the way the main character thinks is how I think. Lastly, the plot twist! I don’t want to spoil anything but I’ll just say it was very unexpected.
Dislikes: the main love interest’s decisions just really frustrates me. I don’t mind his personality but the way he seems to lead Shane on and how he puts things off or doesn’t seem to want to finish things just irks me. It just really bothers me when characters settle for being unhappy when there is a better option for everyone, they are just too afraid of change to take it. I understand that these decisions are life-changing and difficult, but there was seriously almost no reason for him to keep doing the things he was doing.
Overall, even though the main love interest was frustrating, I can kind of understand why he would be nervous about change and I don’t want to deduct a star just because I don’t share the same opinions as a character. I connected more to this book than I have ever connected to a book before. I had such a good time reading it, it was uplifting and put me in a wonderful mood. Therefore, I gave it five stars.