‘The Start of Me and You’: Smart and Heartwarming Sophomore Novel

March 25, 2015 Rissi JC 21 Comments

THE STORY | 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?

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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 START OF ME AND YOU by Emery Lord | Book Review 

REVIEW | 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.

the start of me and you

“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

‘The Start of Me and You’: Smart and Heartwarming Sophomore Novel #FWarchives #YALit Click To Tweet

How she evolves and changes is transitions nicely, and I like that Emery doesn’t set out to craft 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.

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As a counter balance to the emotions, there is 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’m such a fan. In fact, I don’t think there is ever a moment when I want 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 like 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.

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Publisher Provided ARC
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere: Amazon | Bookshop.org ǀ Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary, Young Adult/Teen
Rating: 5 out of 5 

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

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary ARC copy of The Start of Me and You for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Gidget Girls Reading March 25, 2015 at 3:05 PM

    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.


    • Rissi March 26, 2015 at 12:24 AM

      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. :)

  • Hannah Barta March 25, 2015 at 5:02 PM

    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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    • Rissi March 26, 2015 at 12:25 AM

      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. :)

  • Bluerose March 25, 2015 at 8:06 PM

    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. :)

    • Rissi March 26, 2015 at 12:27 AM

      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

  • Kara March 25, 2015 at 11:29 PM

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

    • Rissi March 26, 2015 at 12:31 AM

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

  • Rachel Hoyt March 26, 2015 at 8:11 PM

    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. :)

    • Rissi March 28, 2015 at 12:15 AM

      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. :)

  • Bekah M. April 2, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    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! :)

    • Rissi April 3, 2015 at 7:54 PM

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

  • Tressa S April 9, 2015 at 3:07 AM

    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.

    • Rissi April 10, 2015 at 5:14 PM

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

      I'll watch for your eventual review.

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