Tuesday 21 April 2020

Review: Again but Better by Christine Riccio

From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.
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.

Review: This is definitely a book of two halves and I think that Christine took a bit of a risk making it that way, but overall I absolutely loved this book. I like the fact that it does change about halfway through and becomes a very different book from the first half. It took a moment for me to adjunct but then I was very much on board with what was happening and leaped into this plot feet first, I was in it for the long haul. This book definitely read a lot like Christine talks in her videos and so that is definitively an acquired taste for some but for me it felt familiar and I enjoyed the pacy and informal writing style. 

I'm not normally a fan of books with magical or fantasy elements to them but this book just has the right balance on magic and reality that I could really get my head around the magic in this book and it walked the fine line between between too magical and just enough. It actually reminded me of the movie 13 Going on 30 so if you're a fan of that movie, you'll love this book. 

One of the things that really connected me with this book is the fact that main character Shane goes to London. She is an American in the UK, and indeed Europe of the first time and explores some of the differences between the UK and the US. I can obliviously very easily relate to this as I did it the other way round. I am a Brit living in the US and some of the differences were definitely unexpected at first! I loved her first experience in the super market as I still have trouble locating some things if they're not things I use every day, where ARE the raisins located?

Shane is a great character to spend your time with. She doesn't have it all figured out but she's figured out how to make this semester abroad thing happen and she definitely has a lot of spirit and a lot of courage. I really like that we get to see her in those college years rather than at school. They are such formative years and so this book definitely has that coming of age element about it. 

Finally, I love the fact that this book has an authors note at the beginning. I have recently discovered that I really like when an author includes that in their book and tells me a little bit behind their writing process or the reason for them writing a book. It just makes me feel so much more connected to the plot and the characters and I love that this was included in this book. I do recommend this one. It was a surprising read but one that I connected with and really enjoyed. 

To order your copy now, just click the link: UK or US

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