by Emery Lord
To be published on March 31, 2015
Source: ARC from publisher for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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?My take: I put off reading this book for a couple of reasons. I was afraid it would be really sad. Also, I really liked Open Road Summer and was afraid I wouldn't like this quite as much.
The Start of Me and You is not a sad book. Which for me was a good thing. Yes, Paige's boyfriend died in an accident, but the two of them hadn't been together more than a couple of months before the accident happened. That created an interesting situation in which Paige has been thrust into an almost widow-like role. Paige has been the Girl Whose Boyfriend Died for two years and, as the book opens, she's ready to resume a "normal" life.
The Start of Me and You has a sweeter, quieter feel than Open Road Summer. The characters in Open Road Summer felt larger than life to me and these characters seem more like regular people. There's a point near the beginning of the story where Max and Paige argue about Pride and Prejudice. He makes a case for the loyal, even-tempered Janes and Bingleys of the world over the hard-headed, outspoken Elizabeths and Darcys. I loved this. Max and Paige are definitely more Jane and Bingley. They're both a little introverted, hanging out in bookstores and competing on the Quiz Bowl team. (Paige is also a grammar freak who's obsessed with the correct use of pronouns, which makes the title kind of an inside joke.)
Like Open Road Summer, this book has great female friendships. I liked that Paige had a big group of friends, though Tessa was the only one I felt I got to know well. Still, I loved the sense that Paige had this supportive group of young women who always had her back. It made a nice change from the roving gangs of mean girls in many YA books.
I liked that romance took a bit of a back seat in this book. Yes, there was a romance, but this is really the story of Paige's journey back into the world -- facing her fears, saying goodbye to Aaron, figuring out who she is and who she wants to be.
While Open Road Summer was the classic summer read, I'd say The Start of Me and You is a great spring book -- filled with new beginnings. I'll be giving away an ARC this week on Freebie Friday, so be sure to stop by!