I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing USA on March 31st 2015
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Friendship, Girls & Women, Love & Romance, 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?
Every once in a while you get lucky as a reader and come across a book that, from the moment you start reading, you know it’s going to be special. I had one of those moments when I started reading Emery Lord’s second novel The Start of Me and You, which as it turns out, I loved even more than her debut, Open Road Summer. Which is saying a lot because I really loved that book!
I don’t think I have ever connected so deeply with a character as I have with Paige. At the beginning of the book she is vulnerable and broken, a young woman still dealing with the sudden loss of her boyfriend. We quickly learn that it’s much more than that, and Paige is dealing so much in her life that leaves her with feelings of uncertainty and fear. Everything she knew has changed or is changing, and she’s had to drastically adjust her expectations. Paige is such a relatable character, we’ve all dealt with feelings of grief, indecision and fear. Personally, I saw a lot of my younger self in Paige and I was so familiar with how she viewed her world and how she felt about herself. Emery Lord is a master at creating characters the reader cares about and can see themselves in.
Lord also created a beautiful and sacred friendship between four young women who stuck by each other through thick and thin. Tessa, Morgan, Kayleigh and Paige were so fully developed as individual characters, each girl was unique and separate from each other, but they all come together to form a unbreakable bond. It’s such a refreshing change to read a book where healthy female friendships are such a large part of the story, and for me, it really made the story. These young women were Paige’s support system, always there for her to help her grieve. They didn’t try to make things better, but walked through the pain with her. Lord must have an amazing circle of female friends, because as I read this book, I got such a strong sense that she was writing from experience. It was a beautiful thing.
OK…now I get to tell you all about Max! Oh man, I really adored Max. He comes back into town, just when Paige needs him. He is somewhat of a stranger in the beginning, but that changes pretty quickly when she constantly finds herself drawn to him. Paige and Max connected on so many levels, she gets his literary references and appreciates his nerdy tendencies, and he pushes her out of her comfort zone by encouraging her to try new things and take chances. Max is there for Paige in a very real way, and in a short time he came to know more about her than most anyone else, even her best friends. She feels safe with him because she has nothing to lose. His character was such a perfect balance to Paige and he allowed me to get to know her on an even deeper level through their interactions. What happens between Paige and Max in the end is not clean and tidy, there are tears and misunderstandings along the way. If you want to know how the story ends for Paige, well, you’ll have to read the book. I will say this, I cried like a baby at the ending…like sobbing tears.
The Start of Me and You is a book that sneaks into all the little spaces in your heart and fills them with warm fuzzies. It’s a beautifully written story of friendship, love and finding your place in life.