The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord - Smart and Heartwarming Sophomore Novel

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

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About the Book:
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
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Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Young Adult/Teen
Rating: 5 out of 5 

Paige Hancock had to say good-bye to her first boyfriend last summer when he drowned. Since then, she’s slowly been trying to recover. A year and a new school year later, she’s still trying to figure things out. Because of this she makes a list. At the top of it is dating her crush, Ryan Chase. When Ryan’s cousin Max returns to their school and Paige is paired up for school projects, she sees this as her perfect opportunity to get close to Ryan. But does fate have something else planned for this 17-year-old? 

Last summer a debut author made a splash in the secular YA genre. Her name was Emery Lord. The book was Open Road Summer. I picked up a copy, but never had the opportunity to read it. When I was able to read her follow-up standalone, I was ecstatic. Naturally, I now get the gushing because Emery’s sophomore novel is really beautiful. It’s not only got a good plot, it also executes its story very well.

The more I read this book, the more I grew to respect and love it. Even months after finishing it, I’m appreciating it more than when I first closed it following its final words. Emery Lord’s first-person narrative flows easily and Paige is really a very well-rounded and believable character. Given that Paige is suffering from emotional fallout, I don’t know what I expected of The Start of Me and You. But what never did cross my mind was the path Paige’s healing process would take. 

How she evolves and changes is nicely transitioned, and I like that Emery didn’t set out crafting Paige as a kind of self-sacrificing “drama queen.” Or in other words, as Paige heals, she realizes that moving on to new love isn’t impossible or disrespectful. Being only 15 when Aaron died means that while she did care for him, losing him doesn’t mean she could never love again. Some characters – teenagers or not, are so full of angst they become like a tragic half of Romeo and Juliet if they’ve lost a lover.  Paige – to my interpretation, does not meet this kind of mourning. For this, I’m glad.  
“You're always preparing yourself for the thing that is most likely to happen, instead of hoping for the thing that you most want to happen.” - Emery Lord
Counter-balancing the emotions are the sweet relationships that develop starting from the first chapter. Ryan isn’t the stereotypical, normal popular guy. Rather he seems to genuinely care for and about Paige. Then there is Max. The friendship that blossoms between he and Paige is darling. Max’s “geek status” endears him immediately and I was such a fan that I don’t think there was ever a moment when I wanted to slap him for some stupid mistake. Paige too is a geek, albeit a lovable one. I liked her “Grammar Girl” quirks as well as the complications (a side story) that arise in her family. 

From the opening pages (it opens in a bookstore!) to the final (ahem, romantic) page, this book is a YA addicts dream. The Start of Me and You has everything, and more, that I look for in this genre. It was sweet, introduced its reader to likable characters and best of all, dug deeper than just a romance. If you liked Open Road Summer, I suspect you’ll like this book. Run out and buy yourself a copy. In the meantime, those of you that have read Emery’s first book, feel free to tell me how awesome it is. I won’t mind.

Content: there are a few instances of profanity – this is sprinkled throughout the book and consists of the commonplace use. There are a few innuendoes (one of Paige’s friends returns from camp no longer a virgin, this is eluded to, but not in great detail); a party the kids attend involves a game of “Seven Minutes in Heaven.” A young couple are put in the closest where they are supposed to “make out,” nothing happens.

Synopsis: 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?
- Goodreads

Coming Next from Emery Lord: The new book follows Jonah, who is struggling to move on after his father's death, and Vivi, who comes to town hoping for a fresh start, and what happens when their summer love faces the troubles they've each been hiding. When We Collided, 2016 (via Goodreads)

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC copy of this book for reviewing purposes.


  1. I just love semi clean YA. Some YA can be just as shocking as adult lit. Emery Lord is a great author and I hope she continues to write many many books! So glad you enjoyed it.


    1. As do I, Shannon! It's a shame that YA does stretch its limits so much. Emery's books are relevant to the YA scene, while still being classy, which I love. :)

  2. Awwww this sounds so sweet :) I need to put Emery Lord on my TBR list. I don't know that I've ever heard of her prior to now! Thanks for the introduction, Rissi. :)

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    1. It IS sweet, Hannah! I'm so happy to have discovered Emery's novel and to have had the chance to review this book. Definitely a novel I'll buy a finished copy of. Hope you enjoy the book if you have opportunity to read it. :)

  3. I don't even know why, but I couldn't resist requesting this book. It arrived a couple of days ago, and I've had a super hard time not starting it(before finishing the one I'm in now). I'm so happy you liked it, and that it's mostly clean! It's definitely next on my list. :)

    1. I SO hope you enjoy it as well, Tammy! I know what a disappointment it can be if a book doesn't live up to expectations. Cannot wait to read your thoughts! :D

  4. As if I wasn't already excited about this book, I find out you loved it! Cannot wait to read it! :D

    1. Yay! I sure hope you like it, Kara... it's 100% one of my favorite YA novels! :)

  5. This was so good!! I didn't love it quite as much as Open Road Summer (obviously, why you should read it!), but Paige and especially Max are just wonderful. Her books are just too wonderful. :)

    1. Hooray! An endorsement for Open Road Summer. I definitely DO want to read her first novel and am already anticipating learning more about book 3! This one was so sweet - and like you said, Rachel, it was the characters that made this book so engaging. :)

  6. Great review, Rissi, as usual! This sounds like such a sweet, fun read. I'm really excited to get my hands on it- thanks for sharing! :)

    1. Hope you enjoy, Bekah! I'll be curious to know what you think when you read it. It is just that, sweet and fun. :)

  7. I still need to read this, if you can believe it! I'm so behind. I'm so glad you loved it though. I have the ARC and will get to it soon.

    1. Hope you enjoy the book, Tressa! It was such a darling read. :)

      I'll watch for your eventual review.


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