Hey Guys! It is Max here and we will be conducting a book review for Christine Riccio’s debut novel christened Again, But Better today. If you did not know, Christine is a Booktuber who orates about books on youtube and she recently released Again, But Better which I was fortunate to acquire an ARC of it from MacMillan Publisher. Before we inaugurate this review, I shall furnish you with the information regarding this novel stapled below:
Genre: Young Adult; Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 377
Release Date: May 7th 2019
So, without further ado, let us enter the precinct of the review for this novel.
- All thoughts and opinions are on my own and,
- The review for this book is spoiler-proof. So, feel free to stay until the very end of this article!
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!
Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.
“Now, I’m thousands of miles over the Atlantic in a giant hollowed-out pen with wings, on my way to a study abroad program that’s irrelevant to my major.”
Let us commence with this review by promulgating on the writing for this novel. I felt that the writing was disjointed and incongruous to the rest of the sentences in some domains and well-polished in others. For example, there was a scene in the novel that initiated with a character’s long-time crush trying to break her heart by flirting and outright assaulting our protagonist- Shane. In this scene, we would be able to notice that [said character] was upset with both Shane and the crush but a few pages later, they reconciled their bonds again without any resolution and this brings us to a topic which I will be commenting on soon – the pacing. In addition, the author applied a plethora of references from Twilight to Lost (TV Show) in her writing which could conceivably make the readers jump out from the character’s world and parachute into the mundane world.
“If you could go back and do London all over again, knowing everything you know now, would you do it?”
The pacing of this novel was self-contradictory. The first 20+ pages were extremely relatable as the main character had a hard time making friends in the college she attended before and thus, she elected to study abroad to restart her college journey. In addition, she had a hard time voicing her opinions or just merely talking which were highly relatable until they were not. After those 20+ pages were glided over, she was, abruptly, able to make friends (with splutters in her speeches) and was also able to plan a vacation with them even though they just met. I had a sensation that these scenes were hastened in a serpentine demeanour to plunge into the romance section which we will be reflecting on later in the review. The scenes in the novel that were impassive were the ones that bridged the ravine between the starting and the climax (vice versa).
“This is our second walk in three days. Is this a second date? I think this boy likes me. I think he’s feeling what I’m feeling, and I can barely contain the urge to skip down the road.”
The romance was much more substantial in the second fragment of the story than the first. The first fragment of the story for the romance department was a little bovine because it was an insta-love that bloomed faster than an egg could ever boil. The inner monologues that the protagonist had were tolerably cringe-worthy and if you are looking for an example, take a look at the quote above of this paragraph. However, the second fragment of the story took a different route for the characters as their decisions do not confuse the readers and they were able to be more conscious of their surroundings and resolutions to tasks at hand. Thus, the second fragment was ten times better than the first act.
“Because of me. Because I let fear make decisions for me. Because I’ve chosen to let the world push me around instead of pushing my way through the world. Why am I even with [said character] if I don’t feel this weird magic around him? Because he asked me out? Because he was cute? Because he was convenient? Because he was there?”
I was surprised to learn that there were a plethora of plot twists in this novel which I was not expecting at all. The shock factors made me appreciate that the novel was not straight-forward without any shock values and it drove me to continue on with the novel and my curiosity for the plot emulsified as each of the plot twists revealed itself. However, there is a plot twist involving magic that had me thinking: ‘Wouldn’t this mess up the timeline? How does this magic even work?’ and the question is not answered in the novel so we will just place that in the plot holes category.
“Great, I’m Bella Swan-ing circa New Moon.”
Before we move into the next paragraph, I would like to elucidate on the names of the characters that were invented by the author. The main love interest for this novel is cleped, Pilot Penn. Literally. One of Shane’s friends’ name is Babe (which is not her real name but everyone calls her that somehow). I was not used to them in the first 100 pages but after those 100 pages, I found it quirky and funny. Not going to lie, those names are sizeable unique.
“My heart jumps two feet outside of my chest. Shit. Get back inside of me.”
If I have to speak on one segment of the novel which I particularly enjoyed, it would have to be the conclusion of the novel. I thought that the epilogue for this novel was well-rounded and the life of Shane came to a close with an epic ‘boom’ when the book concealed. Of course, I am not going to spoil the ending of the novel for you to ‘inadvertently’ pillage your fun from the novel. So, do pick this book up if you are interested in reading it.
In conclusion, I am furnishing this novel with a rating of C (65%). This was a novel that had its ups-and-downs but in the end, it gave a satisfying conclusion and thus, the rating.
This is the end of my spoiler-free review for Again, But Better By Christine Riccio! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!