Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Review: Things We Know by Heart by April Lindner
Release date: March 31st, 2015
Length: 384 pages
Source: ARC from the publisher
Rating: ALL THE ADORBS
Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends and new love that proves it's never too late for second chances.
It's been a year since it happened--when Paige Hancock's first boyfriend died in an accident. After completely shutting out the world, Paige is finally ready for a 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?
THIS BOOK. Oh, I enjoyed reading this book so much. It's equal parts adorable and heartbreaking, and best of all, it's sublimely nerdtastic. it's about nerds falling in love through pop culture and geekery, and HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THAT? This is my first Emery Lord book, but I guarantee you it won't be my last. The way she writes romance and girl friendships is utter perfection.
When it all closes in, there are only two types of people: best friends and everyone else.
TSoMaY is about Paige, a type-A grammar nerd and consummate TV watcher struggling to move on from the sudden death of her first boyfriend.
PAIGE. God, I love this girl, and not just because she is so much like me. Actually, she's a lot like me but also ENTIRELY different. She's very type A and organized and list-oriented, which is not like me at all, but she's also very much in her head, good at denial, and a nerd--all things I could very much personally relate to. Also, her middle name is Elizabeth, named after Elizabeth Bennet. Which--Gillian factoid--is just the same as me! Yay Paige. Bonus cool points. Her nickname is Grammar Girl, which I've never been explicitly called, but I suspet many people have secretly though of me that way, usually with a couple expletives folded in there (I tend, like Paige, to correct people's speech automatically. I'M SUPER POPULAR.)
But enough about meeeee, let's talk about Emery Lord's beeeyoootemous characters! I want to squish them in my arms and never let go.
Max and Paige seriously start to bond over literature and pop culture and trivia. Trivia. TRIVIA. MY LIFE'S BLOOD. This book is a love letter to friendship, to healing, and to all manner of geekery, and if any of those things speak to your soul, then you HAVE to read this. I was squealing like a little piglet the whole way through. The ship ship SHIPPERINESS of this book, you guys. I DIE. I die just thinking about it. There are seriously not enough adorable, sweet nerdboys in the fictional world. There really aren't. I ship it so hard I'm getting a little fluttery just thinking about a certain scene right now.
Paige is going through Serious Things. Her boyfriend died a year ago, and it completely threw her world out of whack. But now she's determined to put herself back out there, and that begins with jumpstarting her dating life. She will date Ryan Chase, a super nice, cool, hot boy, and she will join clubs and be social again. Of course, none of these things go precisely to plan, but it's so enoyable to watch Paige try to hard to be herself again and end up becoming New Paige, braver and healed and not made of glass any more. Lord just got every facet of Paige's personality completely right, especially her nerdistry. I mean, she binge-watches Friends on her laptop for comfort! She is one of us.
He twisted in his seat, turning toward me. "Do you ever go back and reread books that you really love."
"Yes." This was probably so much of an understatement that it was actually a lie.
In the past year, I had streamed nearly every movie and TV series available online. Sometimes, when the credits rolled, I felt almost sick with dread that I had to return to real life.
And then there's Tessa, Paige's dynamic, brilliantly-written, supportive best friend, who reminds me of one of my best friends, and the rest of Paige's best friend group, who are all diverse and interesting and lovely and omg can they be MY best friends please?? But Max. Let's talk about Max freaking Watson for a few seconds.
Max Watson had a few secrets of his own. Most of them were silly, admitted through laughter: he cried more than once reading The Hunger Games, he dressed up as Harry Potter for every single elementary school Halloween, and even the smallest amount of coconut would make him break out in hives.
My dream boy. Right there. He's like Seth Cohen meets... I don't know. Max Watson. HE IS HIS OWN PERFECTION.
Then there's her family stuff, like her grandma's Alzheimer's (BEST CHARACTER IN THE BOOK and the person who knows and loves Paige best) and the fact that her divorced parents are dating...each other. (Awkward.) Paige's life is rich, complicated, and compelling. Every character has a story and a depth and an arc. This book gets desperately sad, but it's still so hopeful and heartwarming. It's gorgeous.
My quibbles are slight and few, namely that I ALWAYS GET THIS TITLE WRONG. I know why it's written in that order: this is the story of Paige, the "me", and the "you" in the equation is only significant/possible after she begins herself. But I automatically say The Start of You and Me because that's grammatically correct and I'm one of those Paige-like monsters who goes around compulsively correcting the grammar of people unfortunate enough to speak in my presence--which ties into another of my quibbles.
Paige is a total grammar nerd and does that whole correcting thing as well...except the title is grammatically incorrect, and there are a couple instances where she makes grammar mistakes herself. Again, teensy tiny quibbles, but I'm a pedantic bore, and I notice stupid things like that. (There's a point where she says "I laid low for the rest of the weekend" when it should be "I lay low", which may be caught in the final copy since I was reading and ARC.) Also the fact that Paige was a pop culture nerd--specifically a TV nerd--and had never heard of Firefly. Never heard of Firefly! Yanking your TV nerd credentials, Paige.
But again, those are silly and pedantic and you can completely ignore those paragraphs above (unless it inspired you to go watch Firefly, which you should totally do).
tl;dr, you need this book in your life. It made me cry on an airplane, a truly torturous 6 am airplane ride, might i add, in which I was squished between two people who were both perfect strangers and perfectly incapable of keeping their elbows in their own private square and the coffee tasted like nail polish remover, but I didn't even care, because I was chilling with Paige and Max.
I'm living my life now. Period.
Eeeeeep, I have emotions again. (Annnnd I just went and reread the last few pages. What perfection.)