Wednesday 8 April 2015

The Start of Me and You, Emery Lord

Pages: 376
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Release Date: 31st March 2015
Edition: US hardback, purchased

Other Titles by this Author: Open Road Summer

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…

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?

Open Road Summer bowled me over when I read it a few weeks ago so I practically ran to Barnes and Noble to grab The Start of Me and You on release day. It was perfect.

Paige’s grief over Aaron is all jumbled up. It’s been a year and she still freezes with guilt and shame every time she feels a shred of happiness. A few month relationship has resulted in a broken heart in the most unexpected way possible and she’s still struggling to move on from the grief of it. I love how complexly her emotions are portrayed, how realistically. Everything about her grief rang true, especially the resulting grief of moving on, and it made Paige’s discoveries even more poignant.

Friendship is the blood that runs through this novel just like in Open Road Summer. Following Aaron’s death it was Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh that held her together. They gave her space, a shoulder to cry on, provided a distraction or whatever it is that she needed, regardless of what it is. They’re exactly the type of friends everyone needs through the bad times, but also through the good. All four girls are very different in personalities, appearance and situation and that brings so many different dimensions to their friendship; it just works. The significance of the friendship to all four girls is so important to each of them as well as to the novel and I was so glad.

But the friendship doesn’t get in the way of Paige and Max. Cute, nerdy, adorable Max became Paige’s life raft; someone to hold her secrets and listen to her fall apart and put her back together again. I loved the banter, the teasing and the bond between them that built without Paige even realising. I love it when a romance develops from a friendship; it has another level of depth and intimacy that a straight-to-love one does sometimes.

Paige’s story is the type that she herself would write. She’s a budding screenwriter who has spent years analysing and decoding her favourite episodes of TV shows and working out what makes the bad ones bad. I really enjoyed seeing her process and how thoroughly she loved it. Her determination to get on the NYU summer course and take a step towards doing something for herself and her career. The fact that Paige managed to put so much effort into it while dealing with her incredibly strange parental situation, her grammy’s Alzheimer’s and trying to complete her get-back-on-track list made her all the more amazing.

With only two books Emery Lord has become a favourite author. Her novels are full of warmth, friendship, heart-ache and a love story that gives me goosebumps. Utter perfection.


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