Synopsis from Macmillan Publishers:
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 a 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.
About: Again, but Better is a young adult fiction written by Christine Riccio. It was recently published on 5/7/2019 by Wednesday Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press – Macmillan Publishers, hardcover, 377 pages. The genres are young adult, contemporary, romance, and fiction. This book is the author’s debut and it is intended for readers ages 12 to 18. According to the publisher’s website, Wednesday Books is “a crossover, coming-of-age imprint for the insatiable reader.” Please see below for more information about the author and publisher.
My Experience: I started reading Again, but Better on 5/6/2019 and finished it on 5/8/2019. This is a book that I shouldn’t pick up based on the cover because the cover is cute. Right away I enjoyed the humor, especially when Shane slapped Pilot on their walk to the grocery store. I like that this book focused on an introverted girl who has a hard time making friends let alone dating. Being an only child, she does what her parents wants including doing the pre-med major in college even though what she loves most is to write. This story is modern in a way that many young readers can relate to. Shane has a blog that she posts about her travels and experiences while doing study abroad. She makes lists and writes on her notebooks. She likes to read, listens to music, and watches TV and makes many references to them in her conversations. I like how she talks herself into being brave so that she can talk to new people. Shane is really unlucky to have her first kiss unmemorable to having a boyfriend proposing to her while looking at the computer screen 6 years later. I’m not aware that the author is a booktuber until I add her info below.
This book is told in the first person point of view following Shane as she sits on an airplane to London on a study abroad to reboot her life. She’s 20 and have never been kissed in addition to being friendless because she keeps herself to herself. She’s determine to change all that in the new city with her new list of things to change. This book is divided into two parts: 2011 and 2017, where she’s 20 years old and later at 26 years old. Part 2 is a retake of part 1 through some kind of time travel.
Again, but Better is a bit misleading for a story about a friendless and boyfriend-less girl because she seems to make friends easily with her new flatmates. For a person who never traveled, I’m surprised that she travels overnight with people she just met. I realize Shane wants to change but it seems she changes as soon as she landed at her dormitory in the new city. Magic seems to happen in London because in USA Shane has no boyfriend in her 20 years of life, but after a week in London, she has 2 guys wanting her even when one of them already has a girlfriend. I dislike that Shane has to go to extreme measures to lie to her parents just to make a change on her social status, since for the past 20 years she was a goody-two-shoes. I don’t believe her parents can be so difficult as to stop her from taking a semester break from school for being that obedient only if she takes the time to ask them nicely. I also dislike that she wants to steal another girl’s boyfriend so badly that when she couldn’t do it in her 20s she went to do it again at 26 years old. Unfortunately I am unable to read on following a few chapters into part 2. This contemporary read has taken a turn to magical realism where the characters are being time traveled back to 6 years ago to redo their past.
Pro: some humor, modern book references, cover, diversity
Con: Changes happened as soon as she arrived in the new country, unreal for an introverted who couldn’t make friends and never left the country.
I rate it 3 stars!
About the Author:
Christine Riccio‘s PolandbananasBOOKS YouTube channel has over 390,000 book-loving subscribers. She makes comedic book reviews, vlogs, sketches, and writing videos chronicling the creation of her own novel. She’s also one of the three YouTubers behind BOOKSPLOSION- YouTube’s longest running book club. These past four years Christine’s been collaborating with publishing companies and authors; and traveling across the United States to speak on book-related panels to further spread the reading love. Again, but Better is her first novel. (Photo and info obtained from Macmillan Publishers’ website).
More Information about Wednesday Books
***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest.