Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Summary (via Goodreads):
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.
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'm sad to say that Emery Lord's books are perhaps just not for me.
I had heard great things about The Start of Me and You and was hoping I'd enjoy this one as much as others seem to have (or that I'd at least like it more than I did Open Road Summer) – but unfortunately I just thought it was really boring. The storyline was predictable and stale. It felt like every stereotypical teen flick – or the plot of every Sarah Dessen novel, minus pregnancy and jail time – rolled into one.
The characters never really came alive for me, either. I could visualize them all but I didn't connect with any of them or find them compelling enough to really feel invested in their lives. Even now I'm still forgetting the main character's name. (Is it Lucy? Sara? Megan? No. I just checked – it's Paige.)
All that being said, there are two things I really did like about The Start of Me and You. The first is Emery Lord's portrayal of a really strong, loyal group of friends – Tessa, Morgan, and Kayleigh, and eventually Ryan and Max. I didn't have friends like Paige's when I was in high school so I was happy to see (and fascinated by) that solidarity and support. And SLIGHTLY SPOILERY? BUT I was really glad she didn't throw in any unnecessary best friend drama with Tessa – no girl hate, no love triangle (not in the obvious, expected way, at least) – she kept this one thing pure and untainted, thank the (Emery) Lord.
The other thing I loved is the PostSecret scene toward the end of the book. Aside from the fact that I don't love name-dropping of contemporary works (it pulls me out of the story and back into real life – and she does this a lot throughout the book, calling out John Green, Gilmore Girls, Firefly, among others), I loved the way it made everything come together. It made the story feel a little tighter, less slapdash. And it was just a sweet, romantic moment. Special, in a way that the rest of the story wasn't.
The Start of Me and You is a light, easy read. I love contemporary novels but I don't usually go for light, easy reads so this is probably why it didn't gel with me – however, there are some passages and moments and lines in the book that are lovely to read and think about, so for that reason alone I'd say it's worth checking out.
For me, this book feels like the equivalent of eating ice cream on the boardwalk in the summer, or drinking pumpkin spice lattes and wearing chunky knit scarves in the fall: a little bit expected, but enjoyable enough.