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The Start of Me and You

Review

The Start of Me and You

Emery Lord is my new favorite author. Why? Because she understands the girl experience so well --- I think even better than I think I did when I was 16. Her books are like crawling onto the couch with your best friends, pints of your favorite ice cream in your laps while you laugh through tears over your favorite movie. Seriously. Her words are packed with so much gravitas that you can’t help but be amazed that you’re actually enjoying yourself while reading about weighty topics. OPEN ROAD SUMMER, her first novel, dealt with abuse and loss, among other things. THE START OF ME AND YOU deals with first love, first loss, divorce and a host of other tough subjects.

When Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend dies suddenly, she’s forced to rethink all of the things she thought she believed in. So she makes a list of things to accomplish in a year --- How To Begin Again --- to help her rediscover herself and distance herself from being the Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned.

Paige, a consummate planner, believes that after she does these things, including joining a new club, dating again and swimming, she can feel whole again. However, it’s really the journey that’s important, and I loved joining her on it.

 

[Emery Lord’s] books are like crawling onto the couch with your best friends, pints of your favorite ice cream in your laps while you laugh through tears over your favorite movie.

Paige is like an old friend. She’s an apologetic nerd with a love for trivia and television. When she’s not hanging out with her three besties, she’s at her favorite booth in the local bookstore/coffee shop. She’s extremely observant and mature but also youthful and unfettered despite all she’s gone through. Paige’s friends are as much a part of the narrative as Paige. One quote which stayed with me summed up the girls perfectly: “Together, we made four walls, holding each other up even as the world around us shifted.” The friendship between Paige, Morgan, Tessa and Kayleigh makes up the heart of this novel. And I’m so happy for it.

I love that Emery makes us work for this novel. Nothing is as straightforward or as easy as it seems. There are layers throughout the pages, and it was so fulfilling to peel each one back and discover more about the characters and story. Paige was inspiring as she tried to climb out of the pit that grief had thrown her in. Hers is a narrative I think a lot of young people can learn from. While making a list and trying to stick to it may not be the thing that helps you heal, Paige’s story showed me that there is always a way to rise above something, whether you do it yourself or have friends and family help you. It also showed me to never discourage someone from what they love. Paige hid a lot of her “nerdy” tendencies because she feared how she would appear to others. But when she finally accepted what she loved and who she was, she found a group of people willing to accept her. That was gratifying to read and acknowledge. Bonus points for Emery Lord’s use of pop culture references, including a shout-out to the characters in OPEN ROAD SUMMER.

This novel was perfect, and I think you should read it and give it to your best friends. It’s one of those uplifting stories that you’ll revisit again and again and be ever so grateful that you picked it up in the first place. I guarantee it.

Reviewed by Brianna Robinson on March 31, 2015

The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord