Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Can you plan happiness? It’s been a year since Paige’s first boyfriend died in a swimming accident and it’s time she rejoined the real world. So she makes a plan:
1. Date a boy (long-standing crush Ryan Chase seems like the perfect choice)
2. Attend parties (with best friends by your side: doable)
3. Join a club (simple enough, right?)
4. Travel (might as well dream big)
5. Swim (terrifying. Impossible)
But when she meets Ryan’s sweet but so nerdy cousin, Max, he opens up her world and Paige’s plans start to change. Is it too late for a second chance at life?
“I told myself this: I may still be stumbling through these steps, but at least I’m stumbling forward.” – Emery Lord, The Start of Me and You
The Start of Me and You is such a cute and fluffy contemporary which, I won’t lie, follows along the lines of all those typical overused YA contemporary tropes. But some books can get away with it, and for me this is one of them. I enjoyed it so much that I kind of just ignored all the cliché moments and just fell into the story.
The first thing that made me think ‘I’m going to enjoy this’ happened right at the start. It opens in a bookstore! Now if you’re anything like me and adore books and anything book related, this is bound to turn your head. There’s just something about reading about characters who love books that I just love. I love reading what they think of books, how they relate to them, and even how books impact their day-to-day decisions. The latter is actually quite prominent in this book, particularly when discussing grief. It made the story seem so much more relatable because I could understand the way certain characters used reading to influence the way they approached certain aspects of life (if that makes any sense?) It also allowed me to discover a ton of new quotes about books which has made me very happy, just like this one:
“I had always found comfort between rows and rows of books: some familiar, some foreign, stacks of old friends and piles of new friends to be found.”
I really liked the cast of characters we were dealing with in this book. I just loved Max. He is your typical cute, nerdy, ‘I didn’t mean to fall in love with you’ contemporary crush. He reminds me a little of Clark from The Unexpected Everything, which is another contemporary book I absolutely love (you can find my review of it here). I think I just have a thing for the nerdy love interests in contemporaries!
I quite liked the main character Paige too, though I did get quite annoyed with her. She’s obsessed with her longstanding crush Ryan Chase and because he and Max are close, she sees Max as a way into Ryan’s heart. I hated the way she compared the two boys when she was hanging out with Max, and she almost looks down on Max because he loves Sci-Fi and airplanes while Ryan doesn’t. The main bulk of the book was filled with judgemental thoughts like that, and it was one of the few things that really bugged me because it was so mean (and my love for Max may have something to do with that).
Another thing that bugged me was we didn’t get to explore the connections between Paige and her best friends all that much. We saw a few big moments between them, more so between Paige and Tessa than the other two. I liked what I saw of her friends, though I wish the book was a little longer just so we could delve deeper into their friendship with one another, especially since friendship is highlighted as such a big part of Paige’s reintegration into the real world.
But all in all I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh and left me with this warm fuzzy feeling that sometimes you just need from a contemporary. It even broke me out of my book slump that’s been ongoing ever since I finished A Court of Wings and Ruin and Lord of Shadows one after another. I am very grateful for that book slump finally coming to an end. It was no fun…
I’d give The Start of Me and You a 4/5 stars.
Have you ever read this book before or any of Emery Lord’s other books? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments and I’ll see you all in my next post!