(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Also by this author: When We Collided, The Names They Gave Us
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on March 31st 2015
Genres: Death & Dying, Emotions & Feelings, General, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it's never too late for second chances.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 . . . and she has a plan. 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?
I will say it…Emery Lord knows how to write great friendships. The Start of Me and You had me loving not only the developing relationship/friendship between Max and Paige but I loved how close the group of girls was in this book.
Paige lives in a small(ish) town in Indiana and is officially known as “the girl whose boyfriend drowned”. But it has been a year since Aaron died and Paige is determined to move forward. As she starts her junior year in high school, Paige makes a list of things in her planner that she is determined to accomplish. All are tied to her moving back to a normal teenage life and getting beyond what happened in the past. What she didn’t count on was the nerdy cousin of her long-time crush, Ryan to catch her attention.
I liked Paige. She is definitely smart and I loved that she was so close with her group of girls. The things that made her unique (her love of grammar, her relationship with her grandmother, and so much more!) were the things I liked most about her. The other part I loved was her relationship with her friends. Tessa is Paige’s best friend and Morgan and Kayleigh are best friends but as a group, they all love and support each other. As with any group of friends, there are disagreements and points in life where other things (like boys or music or something else) grab their attention but regardless, they all stick together and do what they can to be there for each other when needed.
As the new school year starts, Paige finds some new additions to her group of friends in the form of Ryan Chase and his cousin Max Watson. Her original plan of dating – specifically Ryan Chase – is eventually completely changed and she realizes that although she has feelings for Max, she isn’t ready to just announce them. I loved seeing them as really good friends and the “friends to more” stories are some of my favorites so the development of the whole story had me flipping the pages to see what was next for them both.
I also thought Max was a great character. He isn’t the popular guy in school but that is what I liked about him. He likes the show Firefly and he loves airplanes and science and reading…He also listens to everything that Paige says and knows what she likes and what things are going on in her life. It is very clear he cares about her and if there was anything I wanted more of in this book, it was the swoon.
I also enjoyed that this book was about more than just the relationship between Paige and Max. Paige shows some growth through this entire book both in how she copes with the challenges in her life to the way she interacts with her parents. I thought it was an interesting twist that Lord threw in that she wasn’t dealing with a “typical” parental issue and it added a different feel to the story…in a good way.
As Paige is slowly working through her plan, something happens between Paige and Max that threatens the friendship they have developed. She has to figure out what to do and how to get things back – at least to the way they were and when she digs a bit more into what happened – she finds out there was a little more to the story than she originally thought. I would like to add here that I KNOW this is vague but I don’t want to tell you what it is…mostly because I don’t want to ruin any part of the story for anyone.
So take my word for it. If you enjoy contemporary romance, stories where characters are learning about who they are, and great friendships, definitely check this one out. I have to agree with Max’s statement, my type might be “nerd” and I am completely okay with that.
Thank you to Bloomsbury for the review copy!