Hey all, Dani here.
So I’ve been wanting to talk about this book since I read it at the beginning of March, but I figured it would be better to wait until just a little bit closer to release day. So here we are, just about a month away from this book being out in the world, it is time to talk books.
Okay, so I guess technically before I jump into the review portion, I should say that I know there are some of us in the online book community, or technically any part of the book community, who are a little leery of anytime a YouTuber or someone with an online following writes a book. We end up lowering our expectations, because we imagine that it is just their online popularity that will carry the story. But I have been following Christine Riccio through this whole writing process. I have watched every writing progress video she has uploaded. The closer we got to publication and then release, the more excited I became for the story, because I could see and hear her excitement and passion for this project.
So pretty much as soon as I was approved for it on NetGalley, I thought I would read a chapter or two to get a feel for it and then set it aside until closer to May 7th. However, I very quickly was intrigued by the story and then just kept reading and reading, and the next thing I know, the book is over.
With all of that being said, let’s jump into the review. As always with the books I am granted access to via NetGalley, receiving the book early did not affect my rating or review.
From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.
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.
Rating: 5 stars
While I was reading this, I thought I was going to rate it as 4.5 stars, because as one of the characters said during the story, pretty much you can’t rate something 5 stars because then there’s no room for growth or improvement. I was going to be all clever with my rating choice, but the second half of this book just completely blew me away, so it has to get a full 5 stars from me.
I was so nostalgic while reading this book. Ten years before I read this book, I had gone on a spring break trip through a college course. So having this book follow a college aged young woman studying abroad, and going on weekend trips to places like Rome, Italy, and Paris, France…it was just an experience that I felt such a deep connection to.
Oh, and there are definitely bits of Christine’s quirky nature sprinkled throughout this story as well, which was really fun. Main character Shane even has an online handle that is quite similar to Christine’s.
I liked the descriptions, and the way Shane’s social anxieties were portrayed. I think it is something most everyone can relate to, so it just makes the characters and the story that much more realistic.
This seemed like just a simple and fun contemporary romance, sort of coming-of-age in college type story, but then some stuff happens around the halfway point, and I wasn’t expecting it, but it really propelled the story forward into some very interesting plots. I really don’t want to say more because it was such an interesting way to format this story, and I just want others to be able to fully experience this fantastic roller coaster ride.
Needless to say, I will absolutely be following Christine’s writing and editing process for her second novel, and I look forward to many more Riccio novels in the future. I am definitely a fan…of her writing, because I was already a fan of her BookTube.