Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
Again, but Better is a YA contemporary novel that was honestly, just OK.
This story follows Shane who has been doing college all wrong. She is a pre-med student with incredible grades but zero friends. Although her parents are happy, she isn’t and is ready for a change.
Shane signs up for a semester abroad and travels over to the UK, and this time she is going to do college right! She is going to make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure! However coming out of her shell and living out of the bubble she has created for herself is easier said than done.
Trigger Warnings: Cheating
Going into Again, but Better I was excited but extremely nervous. I love to support BookTubers works, and Christine is the BookTuber, I started out watching her channel when I found BookTube and I adore her personality. However, there is some kind of taboo when it comes to reading BookTubers novels. So let me state right here for the record: I read this from a non-biased perspective, and I will always give my honest review regardless of who the author is. That being said, this novel was complete middle of the road for me.
The story is written in first person point of view, which starting out isn’t my favourite writing style, this might be something you prefer but it wasn’t my cup of tea, that is just my personal preference. I did find the writing style easy to read, however the dialogue in my opinion was cheesy and was written very young. To put this in perspective, I was 20 in 2011 (which was when this book was set) and not one time did I ever say ‘for realsies’. At some points in the first 50 pages I had a few eye-rolls which is never a good sign. I felt like the whole first half of the novel didn’t connect with me as a reader.
However, moving forward from half way I was much more interested in the story. The plot, I felt flowed well, and it was such a fast paced read. I enjoyed the underlying message of self love and going against family expectations, that was weaved throughout the story. The main twist within this novel, which I am not going to spoil, honestly had me gripped and wanting to know more immediately. I thought it was subtle and unexpected and a fantastic addition to the story. Christine really did a good job of surprising readers with this!
What I did not appreciate though was the unchallenged cheating in this novel. I don’t want to spoil but there was blurred lines with cheating and ultimately a cheating moment and I hated it. Not only did I hate it because cheating is shit, don’t do it. I hated it because it wasn’t challenged. CHALLENGE. THAT. SHIT. Rant over.
Moving onto characters, this is where it gets hard to separate Christine as an author apart from this book. Let me just note that I did find myself able to pick easily the similarities between Christine and Shane. Watching her videos for over 3 years, it’s quite easy to spot. I do admit that most authors leave a bit of themselves in every book. However, it was so obvious in this book, even down to the blog name that it just seemed like it was too much.
What I did like about the characters though was the growth that we saw in Shane during this book. As we were able to see the character in two different timelines and you could really pinpoint the character development and I really enjoyed that. I also enjoy the characters and the diversity within the group were followed.
Overall, this story was OK. If you can look passed blurred lines in regards to cheating, and away from some of the corny dialogue you may like this one.
Rating: 2.5/5 stars
Purchase Again, but Better by Christine Riccio from Book Depository and receive FREE SHIPPING: https://www.bookdepository.com/Again-…