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Again, but Better

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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 abroa 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.


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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 abroa 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.

30 review for Again, but Better

  1. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This review was plagiarized! So, here we are again. A booktuber writes a book and I receive an ARC of it. And, yeah, it was bad. Not a total trainwreck like Zenith, but still... Bad. I have seen A LOT of people saying that they will love this book regardless if it's good or not because they love Christine and that's fine, do what you want. But it also means that I will be as brutally honest as I could be to even it out. I believe that you should always judge a book based on the book and not the author but since this book is basically about the author (and I will a This review was plagiarized! So, here we are again. A booktuber writes a book and I receive an ARC of it. And, yeah, it was bad. Not a total trainwreck like Zenith, but still... Bad. I have seen A LOT of people saying that they will love this book regardless if it's good or not because they love Christine and that's fine, do what you want. But it also means that I will be as brutally honest as I could be to even it out. I believe that you should always judge a book based on the book and not the author but since this book is basically about the author (and I will admit to not liking her very much) that is basically impossible. These are my opinions. I am allowed to have opinions about stuff and things. If you love Christine so much that you will be offended by criticism aimed towards her then kindly fuck off right now. There is a lot of criticism to be found here. (Reading comprehension on this website is very bad so I apparently have to clarify that this statement is for people who get offended on Christine's behalf and tell me I'm a mean bitch or that I'm apparently cyber-bullying the author lmfao) You are allowed to disagree with me, you are allowed to dislike or even hate me! I literally don't give a shit! But if you're just gonna tell me I'm being mean or some shit like that, you can fuck right off because I do not care! OK? Don't bother leaving butthurt comments because I'll just delete them. Please and thank you, etc. OK, got that out of the way, let's go. SPOILERS AHOY! The first thing I have to say is that reading this book made me realize how much I know about Christine Riccio. Which is a weird thing to say, let me explain: I used to be a subscriber of hers. I watched her videos regularly as a teenager and eventually outgrew her (she is too loud and obnoxious for me, also she's become somewhat of a sellout and thus very untrustworthy, but that's besides the point). However, unbeknownst to me, I learned a lot about her during these years. How do I know this and why am I bringing this up? Because 'Shane Primaveri' is Christine Riccio. You see, it started slowly... Like when we first learn Shane's last name and its vaguely Italian I was like: And then she tells the Love Interest Man (whom we will get to) the story about her online username and I was like: FrenchWatermelon19 Yes. That is the main characters online username. Because... french toast is her favorite breakfast food and watermelon is her favorite fruit. So if you didn't know, Christine's online username Polandbananas20 (which she still uses...... for some reason) is based on her favorite brand of spring water (???) and her favorite fruit. At this point (it's like four chapters in) I was like OK... she's paying a little homage to her stupid username right? Right??? Yeah, no. The longer I kept reading, the more Christine and Shane started to meld together until I ended up just picturing Christine as the main character. 1.Both of them are basic white girls with blondeish hair 2. They have the same type of 'social anxiety', the 'relatable' type (listen, I struggled with social anxiety for years, it was crippling at times, like you physically couldn't do stuff, it's not just 'LOL I'M AWKWARD XD' and while it can be overcome it's not just like flipping a switch or trying to 'make a change') 3. The way they talk is the exact same 4. They geek out excessively about the same stuff (harry potter, lost, taylor swift, the beatles, vampire academy, cassandra clare, john green etc.) 5. They're both writers and avid readers 6. They both have a thing where they name inanimate objects and only refer to the objects by their names (her computers name is Sawyer, Christine names all her computers and her cars as far as I know) 7. They both studied a year abroad in London 8. They both take a trip to Rome that they document, Shane via her blog and Christine via her YT channel 9. They're both very clumsy (though Shane's clumsiness is a bit ridiculous, like she can't sit in a chair without knocking it over first) (this list is still growing) Listen, okay. Before I read this I didn't even realize I knew these things about Christine, but apparently I do, and I don't like it. And I can't ignore that she basically just wrote a book about herself traveling around Europe and falling in love with a girlfriend-having basic white boy whose fucking name is Pilot Penn. I also do not like self-inserting, like, at all. I find it unbearably cringy and it's something I would expect of a middle schooler. But hey, that's just me. Also, as her first published work, it shows a huge lack of imagination. So, disregarding the self-insert stuff, you may wonder; is the story good at least? Not really. 'Tis bland. Also, unoriginal. It's basically Anna and the French Kiss in London with stupid and unexplained magical time travel thrown in. And there's a spirit guide type character. So, yeah, there's actual magic in this. And the writing? Juvenile. Filled to the fucking brim with references, like holy fuck. Very herp-derp 'relatable', which is pretty much how Christine talks and acts lmao. Just... not good. It's nothing new, I feel like I've read this book a hundred times because it's so unoriginal and boring. Nothing stands out. And most of the story takes place in like 2011 so there's a lot of 'LOL NEW GAME ANGRY BIRDS WANNA TRY??' and it was sooooooo cringy. Was actually going to give this a two star rating (because, like I said, it's not a complete wreck, it's just boring and unoriginal) but the last chapter/epilogue bullshit made me cringe so hard I think I entered another dimension. It's just Christine writing her own wish fulfillment fanfiction. And if you like that, that's fine. You are allowed to like things, just as I am allowed to not like things. Like wish fulfillment fanfiction. It's fine to do as long as you don't charge people for it. Even if by some miniscule chance that it's not meant to be a self-insert (which I highly fucking doubt) it still shows so much weakness in her ability as a writer that she can't separate her own voice from her character. Because reading this book is exactly like having Christine tell me a story about something that happened to her, when it really shouldn't. Having a literary voice or a particular writing style is a thing, but that's not what I mean. For example: In Vampire Academy, Rose is the main character. When I read those books I don't feel like Richelle Mead is telling me this story, I feel like Rose does. When I read Madeline Miller's books (my favorite author) I don't feel like she is telling me the stories, it's Patroclus or Circe. (I should also point out that I've been following both Richelle and Madeline for years and while I obviously don't know them personally, just like I don't know Christine personally, I know how they present themselves to the public, which is why I chose them to compare) My point is, if you're going to write in first person, you need to be able to separate yourself from your character, which Christine cannot do. Because she hasn't created a character here, it's just her. So, yeah. I do believe she got this book deal handed to her on a silver fucking platter. I just don't believe that anything this bland that does not include smut could be published on its own. I would go on a rant again about money-hungry publishers but I'm tired so you can head on to my Zenith review for that. Just, please. Please stop giving booktubers book deals. It's been proven by now that reading a lot of books and gushing about them online does not mean you can write one yourself. There are so many talented writers who get disregarded in favor of these 'internet sensations'. Imagine all the great stories that never see the light of day because shit like this gets pushed to the front. And please don't come at me with the "of course they're money-hungry, it's a business!" argument because that's so fucking stupid. Yeah, it's a business, the whole fucking world is a business. That doesn't mean there shouldn't be integrity and a priority for talent in the publishing industry! Bitch, bye.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emma Giordano

    I knew I was going to love Again But Better well before I read it. The idea of a girl travelling to London to study abroad at her second chance at college to study what she wants, make new friends, and achieve her goals is all I could have wanted to read about as a teenager. I firmly believe that had I read this book at 17, it would be considered one of my favorite books of all time. For this reason, it gave me a unique sense of nostalgia, despite this being a totally new story to me, which had a big I knew I was going to love Again But Better well before I read it. The idea of a girl travelling to London to study abroad at her second chance at college to study what she wants, make new friends, and achieve her goals is all I could have wanted to read about as a teenager. I firmly believe that had I read this book at 17, it would be considered one of my favorite books of all time. For this reason, it gave me a unique sense of nostalgia, despite this being a totally new story to me, which had a big influence on why I loved this story so much. CW: anxiety, cheating I really liked Shane as a main character. There resemblance to a certain good friend of mine (who *may* have also authored this book) is uncanny, so it would be hard for me not to like her as a protagonist. Shane begins fairly naive, dramatic, and almost goofy, but as the stores spans a long period of time, the character growth is notable and really surprised me in the end. I do wish we had seen more from the side characters as the story strongly focuses on Shane and the love interest Pilot, but they were pleasant additions to the book. I struggled the most with Pilot. Sometimes he was a downright cutie and other times I was so frustrated with him, I thought he was bordering on irredeemable. In the end, I couldn't resist his charm. I had some strong issues with the course of Shane & Pilot's friendship, but it was not detrimental to my view of the story. I just feel a few situations could have been handled with more honesty and courtesy. I felt the writing of the novel was fair for a debut. It was not spectacular but I feel the pacing and certain storytelling elements were used effectively. My main gripe is that the cadence of Shane's narration just wasn't my cup of tea. I don't consider myself to be the biggest stickler for writing style and can frequently gloss over some issues if the story is fulfilling enough elsewhere, and while that stands true for Again, but Better, my bias being Christine's friend does come into play here. While I may not have been the biggest fan of the sentence structure at times, I'm fully aware that it's Christine's sense of humor and because I think Christine is hilarious, I was able to appreciate it for that reason. There were multiple moments where I said to myself "Ehh I'm not going to chuckle at this" and a few pages later, I could not stop laughing when it was brought up again. I spent a lot of time giggling and smiling while reading, just because I knew it was EXACTLY how Christine would say it. I definitely believe that the writing of this book is not for everyone - it also includes many pop-culture references at the time which a lot of readers dislike, but it was fine to me and even had some shining moments. A certain fantastical element does come into play halfway through the book, which I thought was cute and fun, though I would be interested to know more of the foundations of it. I did prefer the first half of this book because it was more in line with what I personally wanted from the novel, but there was so much I appreciated in the second half. The character development plus the themes and messages were incredibly uplifting and solidified much of why I liked this book. I do wish the ending was more fleshed out, but again, it's not the biggest deal to me as a reader. Overall, I had such a great time reading Again, but Better. It fulfilled pretty much all of my expectations and even surprised me in some aspects. This is definitely a book that is made for certain people and not others, but it made my England-obsessed, book-nerd heart fill with joy and I'm not the least bit shocked I enjoyed it so much. I received a copy of this book from Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lala BooksandLala

    Unfortunately this one just wasn't for me, which is fine. Things I liked The character's voice was distinctly different in the 2 respective timelines. While I originally found Shane far too naive, enthusiastic, and overdramatic for my liking as a twenty year old, the portions at age 26 made that choice more clear, as to establish maturity and character growth. Great pacing! The trips to different countries and the balance of time spent at home, at work, at school, and out with friends/>Things Unfortunately this one just wasn't for me, which is fine. Things I liked The character's voice was distinctly different in the 2 respective timelines. While I originally found Shane far too naive, enthusiastic, and overdramatic for my liking as a twenty year old, the portions at age 26 made that choice more clear, as to establish maturity and character growth. Great pacing! The trips to different countries and the balance of time spent at home, at work, at school, and out with friends kept things interesting and dynamic. Things I disliked I was stoked originally to hear there was a small magical element to this, but the execution turned out to not result in quite what I was hoping for. I know this is a romance, but by the time that magical element happened, I was banking on this "second chance" to really impact Shane's focus in life; from her relationship to more onto herself. The incessant 2011 references. I've never read a book so insistent on reminding you what year it is, especially as it had no real importance, besides the fact that there are 2 different years this book takes place in. The constant book, technology, song, and movie references put in place to establish that it IS, still, indeed 2011; was exhaustive. From referencing "T-Swizzle" and "this new program called Spotify" to "I'm reading City of Glass! The fourth book in the series is coming out soon!" and "Death Hallows Part Two hasn't been released yet!" The pop culture references were abundant, and more distracting than adding anything of value. Most of the romantic scenes were, for lack of a better word, cringey. Shane came off very strangely obsessive with this boy she'd just met; the internal monologue over him was practically manic. It gave off a very different tone than the romance I was expecting. I have some especially weird feelings about the latter half of this book, and Pilot's character evolution with Shane's attempt to control it...but I don't quite know how to express what I disliked about it fully- I'll have to think more on this. There were some seriously weirdly structured sentences and jokes in this book. A lot of them made absolutely no sense to me. Note: This could definitely be a result of my copy being an early edition, and not the final version. But more than likely I just don't get the brand of humour. There were many, many "I chuckled" "I snorted" "I laughed" lines after nothing substantially humorous had just occurred? Example: In the middle of an otherwise normal conversation, a character says the normal phrase "I volunteered." to which Shane's internal monologue states "I chuckle, thinking of The Hunger Games." Quite perplexing. I would have liked some more unpacking with certain topics I thought needed more context- such as that shocking dinner altercation, where verbal abuse is normalized, and the subject of cheating, which I feel was too glossed over. There was nothing inherently wrong with this that would make me caution anyone not to give it a chance, the book just wasn't my cup of tea. Overall a fine first novel really; I think it's common for author's to especially draw on their own experiences in their first book- it's just unfortunate that we know this author so much more than the average author- because the self insertion was aggressively noticeable. Future books I'm assuming will lack this quality, and I'd be more than happy to give myself another opportunity to enjoy Christine's work.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chaima ✨ شيماء

    “Shane has been doing college all wrong” You fool....You absolute buffoon....That's the only way you do college.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Natasha Polis

    THE MOST HEARTWARMING ROMANCE SET AGAINST WHIMSY COMEDY What a debut! If you love to laugh out loud and feel a kinship to the main character, Christine does wonders with the funy awkward first love. She just gets it!! I had such a wonderful time reading this heartwarming story about second chances. It encompasses the warmth of a 90s Meg Ryan movie with the setting of Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. This is the kind of book that will keep you company on your summer vacation or be THE MOST HEARTWARMING ROMANCE SET AGAINST WHIMSY COMEDY What a debut! If you love to laugh out loud and feel a kinship to the main character, Christine does wonders with the funy awkward first love. She just gets it!! I had such a wonderful time reading this heartwarming story about second chances. It encompasses the warmth of a 90s Meg Ryan movie with the setting of Sliding Doors with Gwyneth Paltrow. This is the kind of book that will keep you company on your summer vacation or be your best friend on a rainy day.

  6. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jamieson ✨

    OKAY UPDATE; THIS COVER IS FUCKING AMAZING Christine isn't my favourite Booktuber, but she basically single handedly started Booktube and that's pretty fucking awesome. And she's been working on this for years - even though we all KNOW because of her following she could of got it published ages ago. I totally respect the work & dedication that has obviously gone into this. Plus I think the title is so catchy and fun

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alex ✰ Comets and Comments ✰

    “Can we start over?” Writers are often told to write what you know. Even now, when I think of Shane Primaveri; I see Christine Riccio, I hear Christine Riccio, I feel like I fucking know Christine Riccio. So yes, she did write what she knew, because she wrote herself. _______________ *cries in YA* I was really hesitant to read this book, but I made an effort to read it independent of its booktube writer. I tried focusing on the story and stayed away from any reviews. It really did not let me, I felt uncomfort_______________ “Can we start over?” Writers are often told to write what you know. Even now, when I think of Shane Primaveri; I see Christine Riccio, I hear Christine Riccio, I feel like I fucking know Christine Riccio. So yes, she did write what she knew, because she wrote herself. _______________ *cries in YA* I was really hesitant to read this book, but I made an effort to read it independent of its booktube writer. I tried focusing on the story and stayed away from any reviews. It really did not let me, I felt uncomfortable, like a fly on Christine's wall. Firstly, I want to say that I have no problem with Booktubers getting book deals. I think that it's brilliant that readers, reviewers and writers of Wattpad, Booktube, Goodreads and even Fanfiction are getting some seriously needed exposure. A writer can be successful regardless of how they started. We really are in a time where publishers want to take and make "smart deals," so giving a person that has a high following a book deal is more monetarily productive than giving an indie author a shot. Which understandably, can go really swell or fucking-jump-ship awful. This was the latter for me. I felt like this book had a check list that needed to be fulfilled but each point was taken to the extreme and failed miserably. The check list, was the "ultimate" guide to creating a "popular" YA novel. *ahem* Hello, my name is Alex and welcome to my TED talk; Step 1) Unique Writing From page 1, I shit you not, page one - this book had an odd writing style. It was like it was trying to reach for poetic prose but instead fell into something riddling. For example, we are being told she is in a plane here: "Now, I’m thousands of miles over the Atlantic in a giant hollowed-out pen with wings" Then there were times where I think humor was added, but again maybe I'm just a soulless sock that doesn't understand comedy. So all in all, this started pretty rough for me. Step 2) Remember to like, be like, relatable Of course, EVERYONE loves knowing that their issues aren't only their own and somewhere somehow, someone else is also fighting the same issues. Enter Shane... "Not literally. But, you know that feeling like light being circulated through your veins when you see someone cute, and all the sudden you explode all over with the thrill of said cute person noticing and acknowledging your existence as a human with whom they could potentially fall into a relationship with?" "I smile back at him and then look away so as not to appear to be a weird statue that stares at him." "We’re walking down the sidewalk in London together. Pilot and I. Me and Pilot. A cute boy who’s being nice to me. Who I held a conversation with. My heart is having a dance party. It’s also wondering, is this like, a date? No, it’s not a date, but it’s like … a something." The romance was very two dimensional, and maybe because the characters felt under-developed to me. A lot of the time, they came off as cartoonish and unrealistic. I mean come on, if you are going to name the love interest Pilot Penn, he's got to have something going for him? Poor guy got a name from a stationary set. The romance was all over the shop and insta-love, and as a romance reader, I've read my fair share of messy love stories. Pilot was a character I really didn't enjoy and being 50% of the romance in this story, it was really hard for me to cheer on Shane and him. The underlying cheating throughout the book added angst but it also makes me wonder why a romance is going on between them in the first place? Step 3) Let's add an unrealistic depiction of a mental disorder In all seriousness, this was the asset of the book that I really didn't gel with. Shane has social anxiety and at first, I was happy that this was represented in the book. But then, I saw her "social anxiety" and I wanted to literally curl into a ball. Whoever has anxiety or any mental disorder for that fact, knows that it is not just an excuse for awkward and odd social behavior. It is your mind coming up with 10,000 paranoid alterations of reality and it leaves you feeling completely helpless. I hated the portrayal of anxiety through Shane and if there is one thing I cannot handle is the way people use actual mental diagnoses to sensationalize and romanticize "regular" behavior. Like when I hear people say shit like "i like having my pens in order, i'm soooo OCD" or "wow, i hate this traffic, I'm actually gonna commit" or "shit, it's monday tomorrow... i'm depressed" uhmmm NO. Also the fact that Shane is magically going to cure her anxiety and social nervousness by going to another country and falling in love and making friends and etc etc etc. is false advertising. You cannot measure mental health progress on a linear scale and say this is the start and this is the end. It's such a distorted representation of how truly unforgiving mental health can be. Step 4) Diversity! YAY! Any progressive reader knows that diversity in any book is a fucking gift from heaven. I would love to have a shelf solely for diverse reads, our own voices and minority representation. Even better, I would love for those characters to be the main characters *cough cough* but moving on. But I hate when authors force diversity, like they are doing something just to check it off. That's not the point of what you are trying to achieve. So yes, I will give a point to Christine for trying to add diversity to her storyline but then just because I wish the execution was better, I'm going to take back half that point. Which brings me to the character dialogue. Everyone shared the same voice. Everything ended with a '!' Step 5) Writing what you know Shane is the main character. Shane is Christine. I'm not even going to get into this one too much because I'm pretty sure I've said enough already. Everything about Shane Primaveri was Christine Riccio. Their habits, their dialogue, their hobbies... If you want to know Christine on a really personal level, then this might be for you. Unfortunately, it wasn't for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

    ARC received via #arcsfortrade on Twitter! “If you could go back and do London all over again, knowing everything you know now, would you do it?” Friends, I wanted to love this so badly. So damn badly. Christine is not only the actual Queen of BookTube, she was one of the first channels I ever watched. She just seems so kind, and genuine, and I always feel like she radiates positive energy, and she was such a massive part of why I wanted to read Shadowhunters in the first place. But this review isn’t going to be about that, noTwitter! ARC received via #arcsfortrade on Twitter! “If you could go back and do London all over again, knowing everything you know now, would you do it?” Friends, I wanted to love this so badly. So damn badly. Christine is not only the actual Queen of BookTube, she was one of the first channels I ever watched. She just seems so kind, and genuine, and I always feel like she radiates positive energy, and she was such a massive part of why I wanted to read Shadowhunters in the first place. But this review isn’t going to be about that, nor is it going to be a drag or me spilling the tea; this review is just going to be about why this debut was only okay for me. Even though I very much hope it works for you come May 2019! Also, please keep in mind that I have a very early ARC copy of this book. Many things could be changed upon publication! This story centers around a girl named Shane, who has had her life completely predictated by her parents’ wants and aspirations for her. Her parents want her to study medicine and to one day become a doctor, while all Shane wants to do is read and write. Yet, she somehow manages to be able to study abroad to the UK, where she will also be able to intern as a writer for a travel magazine and, most importantly, escape her parents’ expectations. The book is also told in two parts; the first part being set in 2011 where Shane is 20, and the next part set in 2017 where Shane is 26. But the book starts out in 2011 and we soon follow Shane during her oversea travels, and we soon meet all of her flat mates, most of which who have ridiculous names; Babe, Atticus, Sahra, and Pilot Penn. Yeah, you read that last one right. But Shane is making sure that she is going to make the most of these three months of freedom, while trying to make friendships and connections that will last her entire life. This books just reads so personal. Like, I would even go as far as to say that I would feel comfortable as classifying this as semiautobiographical. But instead of me being interested in the story, it really took me out of it because it felt so much like Christine and, in turn, felt so damn invasive. Like, you will not be able to read this book and not picture the main character, Shane, as Christine. From studying abroad, to being open about not making many friends in college, to *gasp* Shane’s blog name being French Watermelon, to the constant Lost references, to the endless Cassandra Clare and Shadowhunter references, to Harry Potter galore, while the character of Shane also just has a personality and the same mannerisms as Christine. This just feels so semiautobiographical. I promise, you won’t be able to not see it. And maybe that will completely make the reading experience for you, and I truly hope it does, but it really pulled me out of the story constantly. Also, Christine constantly is trying to make you remember that the story is set in 2011 for a majority of the time. Which is fine at first, but it becomes so heavy handed and forced that it really made for an unenjoyable reading experience. Angry Birds, to Jamie Foxx’s ”Blame It”, to every popular book of that time period! It was just too much, and it really did a disservice to the story, in my opinion. But my biggest problem with this book was the grey-area cheating and even eventual cheating (a kiss). This was truly the reason that I could never love this book or ever feel anything for the characters. Plus, the character that is getting cheated on is always villainized to look like a bad girl, when she has every right to feel threatened. Also, just because this is something that is personal to me, I really didn’t like how Shane’s parents were never said to be abusive when they most certainly were. Like, the verbal abuse alone her father showed in the text, on top of the constant emotional abuse throughout the entire story, it just made me so upset and I really was disappointed when the parents were never viewed as being shitty parents. Especially at the end when they are being portrayed as good parents, just because their child was able to succeed without them. It feels and reads so very bad. Seriously, if your parents only want to love and support you when you are successful then they aren’t that great of parents. I really loved how this entire story and book shines a light on the constant theme of social anxiety. I’m not saying that Shane makes the wisest of choices throughout these six years but seeing her live with social anxiety was something that really meant a lot to me and something that I really appreciated. My favorite thing about this book is how it truly is a love letter about how you have to live your life for yourself. I know that Shane learns this the hard way, but I think that this is a concept that more kids need to not only hear but to let the message absorb into their hearts. I know that I learned it way later in life, and I wish so desperately that I could go back and learn that my life is only ever mine and that I deserve happiness so much sooner. And I really hope that because Christine has such a huge audience, that so many teens and young adults will be back to learn this earlier and truly live and lead the lives that they want for themselves. And this book is a really fast paced read, that will really leave you turning the pages because you’ll be super curious where everything is going. Even though I really didn’t like the romance in this book, I was really invested with all the different paths and connections that Shane was making constantly. And I truly believe that I could have sat down, with a big cup of tea, and read this book from cover to cover in one sitting. Another thing I liked, that I don’t want to talk too much about because of spoilers, but there is for sure a magical element of this book that I was not expecting at all. And even though I think things could have been handled better (grey area cheating), I really enjoyed how this fantastical element was implemented into the story, and it was a surprise that made me happy. There is also a very diverse cast. Even though the main characters, Shane and Pilot are white, I feel like most of Shane’s coworkers at the magazine were people of color, and Babe is black and plus sized, Sahra is said to be tan, and Atticus is Asian, gay, and a Gryffindor (which feels like a personal attack in the best way, because… it’s me)! There is also another queer minor character who comes out because Shane takes a second to talk to them, which is meant to be heartwarming but I was side eyeing a bit. Overall, let’s be real, people are going to one star and five star this just based on who Christine is upon release, which is never okay, but these are truly my feelings, even though I think Christine is a six star human! Even though I didn’t love a lot of elements of this debut novel, I still really appreciated some of the themes and thought it was a fun and quick read! Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quote above was taken from an ARC and is subject to change upon publication. Content and trigger warnings for constant grey area cheating, cheating (a kiss), assault (an unwanted kiss), and the use of ableist language like cr*zy. Buddy read with Madalyn from Novel Ink! ❤️

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)

    I loved the writing style, but I really just could not get past all the cheating and girl on girl hate. I'm bummed as heck :c I won an ARC of this book through a giveaway hosted by the publisher.

  10. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    oh dear. this story made me cringe so much, i now need to make an appointment with a chiropractor to work out the new tenseness in my shoulders. to keep it brief, this book definitely tries way too hard. im not a fan of the writing - it has a low quality fan fiction vibe to it. im not a fan of the characters - shane is one of the most insufferably immature characters ive ever read. im not a fan of the overly used pop culture references - theres practically one on every page. i actuall oh dear. this story made me cringe so much, i now need to make an appointment with a chiropractor to work out the new tenseness in my shoulders. to keep it brief, this book definitely tries way too hard. im not a fan of the writing - it has a low quality fan fiction vibe to it. im not a fan of the characters - shane is one of the most insufferably immature characters ive ever read. im not a fan of the overly used pop culture references - theres practically one on every page. i actually thought the concept was cute but the execution leaves much to be desired. there are so many other books that have done this kind of story once, but better. ↠ 2 stars

  11. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Embury

    Short review: "Again, but Better" should be written again...but better. You can see the full (memes included!) review on my blog here: https://thedeborahembury.wordpress.co...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Angelica

    Well, I'm officially impressed. not gonna lie, this was pretty good. I read it in two sittings and was unapologetically grinning like an idiot the entire time. Rating: 3.75/5 Anyway, fangirling aside, let's get to this review! There were things about this that I absolutely loved with all my heart, and things I didn't quite love all that much and things I just plainly didn’t like. This book is a combination of Fangirl (a book I hated), Anna and the French Kiss (a book I really liked), About Time (a mov Well, I'm officially impressed. not gonna lie, this was pretty good. I read it in two sittings and was unapologetically grinning like an idiot the entire time. Rating: 3.75/5 Anyway, fangirling aside, let's get to this review! There were things about this that I absolutely loved with all my heart, and things I didn't quite love all that much and things I just plainly didn’t like. This book is a combination of Fangirl (a book I hated), Anna and the French Kiss (a book I really liked), About Time (a movie that is super cute and funny and y’all should watch), and Christine Riccio's life story. Funny enough, it's that last part that gave me some problems while reading. If you don't know Christine, she does book-related videos on YouTube. In fact, she's the biggest 'booktuber' there is. Her videos are fun and creative and I love her book reviews. I've been watching her videos for years now, to the point that I've observed some of her quirks and habits and know the references she constantly uses. Any avid watcher of her videos would certainly notice her love of Lost, and Harry Potter, and Dan Brown books. They would know the weird story as to why her channel name is PolandBananas20 (Shane's channel is FrenchWatermelon19). They would feel, at least for the first part of the book, that the main character Shane, is no character at all, instead, she's a fictionalized version of the author. While reading the book I was constantly taken out of the story by just how 'Christine' Shane was. They share the same mannerisms and passions and habits. It was strange. That said, the more we get into the story, the more that Shane separates from Christine and becomes her own person and I really enjoyed seeing that character come into herself. The book is told in two parts, the firsts taking place in 2011, the second taking place in 2017. The 2011 part was trying way too hard to prove it was 2011. From referencing all the popular books of 2011, to Angry Birds, to it was a lot! Still, I can't even deny I kinda liked it though. The 2017 part, which is also technically the 2011 part, was probably my favorite. The character growth between the two time periods was wonderful! Another issue I had was with the light cheating that was going on in the novel. Shane's love interest, Pilot, is dating someone else when they meet and yet, a romance begins between them anyway. I wasn't really ok with that because Amy, Pilot's girlfriend, really didn't deserve that. Also, the names! The love interest's name is actually Pilot. “Pilot?” “Like the first episode of a TV show.” The others in the book have names like Babe and Atticus. I couldn't help but roll my eyes a little when they first introduced themselves. But, what's a good contemporary romance without some ridiculous names, I guess. Since I already talked about the negative, let me end on a good note and tell you the things I loved! The writing in this book is surprisingly good. Everything had an easy, almost effortless flow to it that I really enjoyed. I genuinely enjoyed myself while reading and even found myself laughing out loud at the banter between Pilot and Shane. They were funny and cute and their banter was absolutely golden! Shane herself was also a fun character. I really liked her quirkiness and positivity and general goodness! Pilot was also super cute and I know I should probably feel guilty but I totally shipped them! Seriously though, the romance was pretty gosh darn adorable. Their conversations and random references to books and songs had me grinning like an idiot. Still, what I most liked about the book is that while it reads like a romance, it's more about Shane as an individual than it is about her relationship with Pilot. It's about Shane becoming her own person and living her own life. It's about finding the courage to be yourself and experience life the way you want and I loved that. Aside from all that, I also enjoyed the descriptions of London and all the random little things like the fact that unlike American past which is boxed, British pasta comes in bags! I also really enjoyed all the way Christine described the setting and the general atmosphere of the book. In the end, do I recommend this book? Heck yeah! My hopes for this book were both really high because I love Christine, and really low because the last time a 'booktuber' wrote a book everyone hated it (Zenith by Sasha Alsberg & Lindsey Cummings). Thankfully, this book was much more on the good side of things. I think that it was a great debut and I look forward to Christine's future works. Also, as a side note, please try not to go into this book with any bias, either negative or positive, due to who the author is. If you're gonna hate it, hate it because you don't like the story. If you're gonna love it, love it because the story was good. Let your rating reflect your opinion on the book and the book only! Don't give 1 or 5 stars solely because of how you feel about the author! **I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.** Follow Me Here Too: My Blog || Twitter || Bloglovin' || Instagram || Tumblr

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy (libraryofamy)

    "You're bolder than before." *1.5 stars I so desperately wanted to enjoy this book, you guys. But... it's a yikes from me, dawg. Again, But Better is Christine Riccio's debut novel. I want to take a hot second to say that Christine (PolandBananasBooks on YouTube) has done incredible things for the online book community. I know that she's incredibly smart and talented. You can see it in brief spurts in Again, But Better... but sadly, she just missed the mark as a whole. Again, But Better follows Shane Primaveri, a 20 year old girl/>Again,/>Again, "You're bolder than before." *1.5 stars I so desperately wanted to enjoy this book, you guys. But... it's a yikes from me, dawg. Again, But Better is Christine Riccio's debut novel. I want to take a hot second to say that Christine (PolandBananasBooks on YouTube) has done incredible things for the online book community. I know that she's incredibly smart and talented. You can see it in brief spurts in Again, But Better... but sadly, she just missed the mark as a whole. Again, But Better follows Shane Primaveri, a 20 year old girl who has moved to London for a semester abroad in the year of Our Lord 2011. She's a pre-med student, and her whole life has been about pleasing her parents. But, for just this semester, she wants to forget the expectations on her and just do what she wants to do. So, she enrolls in the creative writing program and tries to push past her comfort zones. It goes well... until it doesn't. Fast forward 6 years, and she's given the opportunity to do it all over again... but better this time. I had a lot of issues with this book. First off, it's straight up poorly written. The pacing is bizarre, there's tons of typos, and Christine apparently only knows two descriptive words for laughing: cackle and snort. The amount of times characters "cackled" in this book was so distracting and annoying. The writing was overall weak. As someone who watched Christine's book writing series on YouTube, where she discusses over and over again how time-consuming and difficult editing this book was, I was shocked at the poor writing quality and very obvious mistakes. The word "horcrux" was spelled "horcurx" at least 3 times. I read some of this on audio so who knows what other errors I missed. But yeah, it was pretty bad. Secondly, this whole thing is major cringe. Shane is incredibly immature and honestly, a bit crazy. She's obsessed with the love interest six years after they last saw/spoke to each other, despite the fact that she's engaged to someone else. And, honestly? They didn't even have much chemistry to begin with. The book essentially centers on the romance and I found it to be very bland. I felt no connection between them. Shane also considers going on a walk with someone 2 hours after you met them to be a "date". This is her way of thinking throughout the whole ass book. So. You understand my suffering. More on the cringe-factor, the dialogue is just fucking awful. Everyone talks like this! And says stupid shit all the time! And is always! So! Excited! All of the conversations are very unnatural and stilted. And most of the time, they are useless conversations, too! There were several instances where I would read these idiotic conversations between some characters and it wouldn't even be important to this story. I lost several brain cells. The humor in this book is so corny, and some people argue it's "Christine's humor" so they don't mind it. But, even if it is, it does not read well on the page. And guess what? Not every single person who picks this book up is gonna know Christine as well as some of us do. It's just flat out corny and not well-written humor. Sorry about it. I mean, take this conversation between Shane and her love interest, Pilot, for instance: "What about lamppost?" I propose. "It's innocent, catchy." "Lamppost?" "Yeah, as in, lamppost will be our always ... It's gonna be great. Here, let's test it out. Ask me a question." He clears his throat and puts on a funny romantic voice. "Shane." He gazes into my eyes like a cartoon prince. "Are you Santa?" I step up close to his face. "Lamppost." What in the goddamn fuck is this. What is this interaction? It's shit, that's what it is. And that's essentially what the entire book is like: a clusterfuck of quirky nonsense. Seriously, this whole book is just Shane being cute and quirky and awkward and flirting with Pilot, who is a more subtle, more manly type of cute and quirky. It's so 2011 that it hurts. Yes, I understand that this book literally takes place in 2011, but come on, dude. This is just bad. Shane even does that thing where she's sharing a room with Pilot and she's so scared about looking in ugly in front of him, she only takes her makeup off after he's asleep and wakes up early to put it on before he gets up. That's so f*cking sad, but also something a 15 year old would do. If Christine wanted to make Shane a super insecure character, she should have really delved into that. But she didn't, and she just made Shane look super shallow and unlikable. Oh, yeah, and there's subtle cheating going on here and it's gross. Authors: cheating is not the type of forbidden love we're looking for! It's not as sexy as you think it is! I was really shocked by this because Christine, as a reader and big member of this community, should know that YA readers don't like that shit. Ew. Here's another issue I have with this book that I've seen other people mention: this book is literally about Christine. Shane is Christine. If you've watched even a video or two of Christine's, and then you read this book, you would see it. It's uncomfortable. It's like she wrote her own self-fulfilling fantasy and it's just... it's fuckin' weird. Especially considering how immature Shane is... I have to wonder. I mean, Shane's blog is called FrenchWatermelon19. Christine is PolandBananas. Shane loves The Mortal Instruments and Taylor Swift. Shane loves YouTube. She loves the TV show Lost. We seriously threw all subtlety out the window. Shane is Christine, and I don't know who Pilot is supposed to be in her life, but I'm nervous. But the obvious blog title and obsession with The Mortal Instruments aren't the only ways this book reads like Christine's perfect fantasy for her life. At the end, the love interest surprises Shane by serenading her with Taylor Swift songs that he sings and plays on his guitar by means of apology. I almost put the book down right there. I know Christine is a Taylor fan and... God. Fucking cringe. I'm sorry. It's just so weird! It's weird. I'm not alone in thinking this is weird, right? I could go on for a long time discussing all my very specific issues with this book, but it's just bad. That's all you need to know. It's not a very well written or well developed story, which is just bizarre because I know how much time Christine has spent on it. I don't understand what happened. I really wanted to like this, but there's really nothing redeemable about this story. Even Shane's parents are fucking monsters and it was really sad because there was never any on-page resolution of that unhealthy relationship. I guess the only thing I really liked was that Shane realized she was too obsessed with Pilot and needed to learn to be happy and successful without him. That was great. But the rest? Yikes, y'all. Yikes. So yeah, Again, But Better is one big cringe-fest and I felt very uncomfortable reading something that seems like Christine's fan-fiction about her own life. Very strange. But again, I know Christine is smart and talented, and I saw the potential in this book. I just hope her next book isn't quite so bad. If she gets help with editing, learns how to properly pace her stories, figures out how to improve her dialogue, and creates characters that don't act like literal pre-teens as full grown adults, I'm sure she'll do great? I just don't really know what happened here. I'm uncomfy.

  14. 4 out of 5

    rin ( ̄ヘ ̄) read/watch mo dao zu shi

    upd: this just in: this mess of a book is a nyt bestseller. which is obviously the only reason why it was published. so basically you can publish your dumb wattpad self-insert which hasn't been even properly edited👌 oh wait no you can't, you don't have 400k subs on youtube (yeah im bitter because i know so many people who are actually great writers and they get rejected while querying, while this absolutely mess wouldn't have ever seen the light if it wasn't for those youtube subs, fight me) review/>(yeah upd: this just in: this mess of a book is a nyt bestseller. which is obviously the only reason why it was published. so basically you can publish your dumb wattpad self-insert which hasn't been even properly edited👌 oh wait no you can't, you don't have 400k subs on youtube (yeah im bitter because i know so many people who are actually great writers and they get rejected while querying, while this absolutely mess wouldn't have ever seen the light if it wasn't for those youtube subs, fight me) review still to come, im even more eager to write it and in case you are interested - i have a twitter thread on it when i posted one of quotes from this book on twitter, my friend asked me "is it my immortal" no, my immortal is better rtc

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Nuckles

    4.5 stars! This story was the literal perfect blend of cheesy and sweet all in one, and it was a great story to kick off my trip in Europe. For some reason, despite the title, I wasn’t expecting the jump in timeline back and forth?? And then I stayed up until 3am finishing it because I just HAD to know how it would end after that! ;) I saw Christine in every crack and crevice of this story, and loved it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sheharzad ⚘

    Update: February 11, 2019 pretty sure i'm late to the cover art reveal BUT I MUST SHARE MY FEELS DESPITE NOT KNOWING A THING ABOUT THE INSIDE CONTENTS. i live for overanalyzing art. ps. this is all speculation from a literature nerd. - see how the division between the white and blue is fluid and not a blunt line in the middle? it appears to be a swaying transition into life as an adult in a new country, suggesting tentative steps to try new things in london. the drastic change in colo Update: February 11, 2019 pretty sure i'm late to the cover art reveal BUT I MUST SHARE MY FEELS DESPITE NOT KNOWING A THING ABOUT THE INSIDE CONTENTS. i live for overanalyzing art. ps. this is all speculation from a literature nerd. - see how the division between the white and blue is fluid and not a blunt line in the middle? it appears to be a swaying transition into life as an adult in a new country, suggesting tentative steps to try new things in london. the drastic change in colour could be shane's opening up to new experiences and risks - shane's walking with a comfortable smile on her face. by the end of the novel, i believe she'll be comfortable with whatever she learns/experiences in london. the transition may be scary and new but by the end of the story, shane may become a bolder version of herself - the detail on the blue side vs. the lack-of on the white side = more evidence of new experiences and changes in shane's life and of herself. it could also mean she's viewing the newness of everything in london in a more critical and attentive way, taking up everything there is to see in london. to me, the shadows and highlights of the buildings and the sun and the trees indicate multiple layers and a newfound depth to her experiences these are just three points lmao and i can go in detail about all of them but alas, i must wait for the release date to properly dissect this lovely cover art ---- Update: August 7, 2018 THERE'S A BLURB AND IT'S SO RELATEABLE i'm ready for some college adventures + feels, served with dream-crushing realities. homegirl christine DELIVEEER the coming-of-age college story we all deserve pls & ty 💖 ---- a book by the first booktuber i've ever watched?? aka my FAAAVV booktuber?? yaaasss I NEEDS IT

  17. 4 out of 5

    Abbey

    *groans for 200 years* I should preface this by saying that I’ve been a fan of Christine for a number of years. She is still a favourite of mine to watch on Booktube and will most likely continue to be a favourite. That being said, I found this book mind-numbing, annoying, and it read like a Wattpad self-insert fanfiction. ~ spoilers ~ Let’s start with the blatant self-insert Christine that is our main character, Shane. Shane is an extremely awkward young adult who is trying to foll *groans for 200 years* I should preface this by saying that I’ve been a fan of Christine for a number of years. She is still a favourite of mine to watch on Booktube and will most likely continue to be a favourite. That being said, I found this book mind-numbing, annoying, and it read like a Wattpad self-insert fanfiction. ~ spoilers ~ Let’s start with the blatant self-insert Christine that is our main character, Shane. Shane is an extremely awkward young adult who is trying to follow her dream of being a writer by lying to her parents about going to pre-med school in the UK and going into a writing program there instead. She loves Harry Potter, Lost, The Hunger Games, Cassandra Clare, John Green, Taylor Swift, The Beatles and so on. She has names for her computer, notebook(s), and other items. Her username of choice is FrenchWatermelon19. If any of that sounds familiar, that’s because this character is Christine, right down to the username (Christine’s username is, and has always been, PolandBananas20). The only differences between the two is their names (though, both are Italian names), the fact that Christine is from New Jersey and Shane is from New York, and Christine has not gone to university in the UK for writing while lying to her parents that she’s there for pre-med school and fallen in love with a guy named Pilot Penn. As a reader, I want to learn about a character. I want to see how they are unique, and how I can relate to them. It is so obvious that Shane is Christine, and that took away from my reading experience because I just kept on saying “Really… really???” Girl didn’t even TRY. I found myself not caring about ANY of the characters throughout the entire text. Pilot (Pies, as he is nicknamed in the book and… just no… stop it, get some help) seemed like an NPC that existed for Shane to obsess over to the extent that she outwardly says something along the lines of “stalker-mode activated”. At one point, Shane inwardly exclaimed “THIS IS ROMANCE!” when she and Pilot were touching shoulders playing Angry Birds. If she were joking, it would be a funny moment, but this chick was serious and went out of her way to maintain shoulder contact with the NPC. Oh, and Pilot has a girlfriend the whole way through until the last little bit, by the way. My face hurts from cringing. I think Christine tried too hard to make Shane “relatable” and “a nerd of 2011”. At first, the references to Harry Potter, Lost, etc. were fun, and it helped me get to know Shane a bit better (this was before I figured out that Christine wrote this fantasy self-insert fanfiction and I astral projected myself to another plane of existence to scream). But then it just kept going… and going… and going… and soon Christine would write references with no context, like a personal inside joke the character had with herself that the reader was not in on. Of course, knowing Christine would help the reader get these personal inside jokes because I’ve watched Christine chuckle about them in her own videos. Sidebar, never put the following dialogue into a published piece of work: “Doot doot doot doot doot doot doot.” I sing along quietly. Just say that your character was singing along to a song, reading this made me cringe so hard I could’ve popped a vein in my neck. Of course, there is some plot to this book. The main conflict is that Shane’s parents find out that she is not in a pre-med program and force her to go back home. We get a 6-year time skip and one day Shane and Pilot both walk into an elevator and are transported back to the UK in 2011. So, Shane takes it upon herself to make Pilot fall in love with her, fully knowing that he is still with his girlfriend at this time, and Pilot - being the NPC he is - goes along with it and tells his girlfriend that he wants a “break”, and eventually dumps her for Shane. Also, can we talk about how Shane’s dad being verbally abusive is never addressed… ever? He makes her feel like shit, she cries about it, and then we never touch on the subject ever again. Surely there was a reason Christine put that scene in the book for a reason? No? Oh… okay then… Overall, I was disappointed with this book. Perhaps I hyped it up too much in my head. What I think Christine was going for with this book was something similar to Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl (if it was a self-insert fanfiction), which is a book that many booknerds love and cherish. Christine wanted to provide her viewers something similar, and while she did try to, she ultimately failed at doing so. Fangirl’s Cath is relatable for some of the reasons Christine wanted Shane to be relatable, from being “nerdy”, to being into different fandoms, to being a writer, to being someone who suffers from social anxiety. However, Christine did not succeed. Perhaps this book was trying to be too many things at once, and Christine was under pressure to live up to her own expectations and fantasies. Honestly, the only reason I didn’t give up and walk into the ocean was because my mama didn’t raise no quitter. I’m just too gay to put up with this hetero bullshit.

  18. 5 out of 5

    sofia ☾

    again, but better should have been rewritten again, but better. this was so bad, unreadable bad. i was screaming from how bad it was bad. the writing, the characters, the plot, everything was far from being good. it makes me wonder whether or not this book would've been published if christine wasn't "one of the most followed booktubers today”. ➳ shane: shane needs change. her life as a pre-med student with good grades but no friends and far from being in any relationship isn't doing it for her anymore. and what better waytoday”.➳ again, but better should have been rewritten again, but better. this was so bad, unreadable bad. i was screaming from how bad it was bad. the writing, the characters, the plot, everything was far from being good. it makes me wonder whether or not this book would've been published if christine wasn't "one of the most followed booktubers today”. ➳ shane: shane needs change. her life as a pre-med student with good grades but no friends and far from being in any relationship isn't doing it for her anymore. and what better way to change her life than to pack her bags and move to london for a semester? the problem is that she isn't there to pursue her medical career, but instead do what she really loves - writing, even that goes against her parents' wishes. everything seems to be going well for shane after she arrives in london, but between all the friends she's made and the adventures she's had, there's a lot of self doubt and fear going on in her head. her parents won't support her passion for writing, the boy she likes confuses her to no end. but even after all that happened, if she had the chance to relive those moment, would she go back? uh, i don't even know where to start with shane's characters. the first words that come to mind are: delusional, desperate, naive, and hella annoying. i feel a tad bit bad for disliking shane's character so strongly, since i feel like i'm actually saying christine is an awful person (you'll get why in a second), but let's forget that for this review. the only thing shane cares about is one of the guys she meets as soon as she gets to london, pilot. hangs out somewhere with him? omg, we're on a date! he reads her stuff? omg he read my stuff, that has got to mean something right? no, shane, it does not. "i stride down the sidewalk with pilot. this is our second walk in three days. is this a second date? i think this boy likes me. i think he’s feeling what i’m feeling, and i can barely contain the urge to skip down the road." she was so desperate to have something with pilot, that the whole time i just wanted to knock some sense into her and scream YOU'VE KNOWN HIM FOR A DAY! and don't even get me started on the nickname she gave him. i think i got a headache after reading this part. “what do people call you?” i ask, curious now. “pilot … or pi.” “pi? like in math? you’re not pi like in math, though. that feels kind of cold. you’re more of a pie-pie. pies are warm and wonderful and delicious—” i cut myself off. okay, there’s outgoing and then there’s this." she spent the whole time wondering "has pilot broken up with girlfriend? did he do it? is he doing it now?" . just shut up. for one second. her whole life revolved around this guy she hardly knows (1) . when she found out that he had a girlfriend? iconic. i've never see anyone be so sister shook over the relationship of someone she has known for only a few days. she knew nothing about him at this point, and i'm sorry if you already had your guys' wedding planned, but that's life for you. "what have we been doing, then? it’s only been three days, but i feel like we’ve been taking walks and flirting forever. it felt like we were kind of, sort of, dating. i built up all these hopes. now they’re all withering around in pieces on the floor of the pub." ➳ pilot: if shane was annoying, then pilot can fucking choke. he was such a meh character. literally, his only personality trait is that he loves cheating on his girlfriend, amy. oh, and he's the only person in the world that knows about the beatles. “i like the beatles…” “wait.” pilot comes to an abrupt stop mid-aisle. “what?” i say hesitantly. “the beatles?” he breathes. “no way. you like them? no. way. no. way—” i roll my eyes. “stop—” i interject. “no. way!” “stop!” my voice hits squeak levels yet unknown to mankind. “i love them! i thought i was the only one who knew about them.” he beams." the fucking beatles. yes, thank you pilot. because clearly when they were around, and you weren't even born yet, you were the one holding their careers. but it gets worse, because pilot here, who has been kind of flirting with shane this whole time, has been hiding the fact that he has a girlfriend, because of course he is. and suddenly i was taken back a few years and was rereading anna and the french kiss again for the first time. shane got on my nerves, don't get me wrong, but pilot is the one with a girlfriend, and he was just out there disrespecting her the whole time. if he had feelings for shane, then he just needed to break up with his girlfriend, not because he was bored, but because he had feelings for someone else. and no one cares about this! everyone just completely ignored how hurtful and disrespectful the two of them were being towards amy, pilot's girlfriend (2). unfortunately, not only didn't i like the main characters, the rest of the book was just as bad. i was hoping this would be a very cute and fluffy romance, but it was the exact opposite. it only took me about 10% of this book to understand that i wasn’t going to enjoy it as much as everyone else, but i still decided to push myself through it because 1) part of me still wanted to know what happened and 2) so many people were giving this 5-stars, i needed to know if it was going to get better. spoiler alert: it didn’t. ➳ shane is christine. christine is shane. in my lifetime, i've probably watched two or three videos from christine, and that's probably an exaggeration. yet i still couldn't help but notice the similarities between shane, the main character of this book, and christine, the author of said book. from the way she talks and expresses herself to the username she uses on her blog, frenchwatermelons19. doesn’t that sound familiar? maybe because christine’s username is polandbananas20? it's impossible to ignore these similarities, and not only does it take you away from the actual story, it also feels like a total invasion of christine's privacy. also, is this some type of self-(fan)fic for christine? is that even a thing? ➳ everything that isn't true about europe - a guide by the author of again, but better. i want everyone to know, as someone who’s from europe, that travelling all over the continent is not cheap! and so much fun! and so fast! people don’t do that here. if you’re from france, you don’t just spend the weekend in italy. it’s not a thing. i’m pretty sure christine also had an exchange semester while at college, and maybe she did have the same experience as shane, but just know that it’s not as easy as it’s made out to be. unless you're rich. then i guess it's just as easy. ➳ the writing! the writing was so bland. add the excessive use of exclamation marks to the fact that it sounded like christine was inside my head narrating the story of her life, it just wasn’t a good experience. although it made for a very fast read, it was annoying how the whole story was told in a “i did this! and then this! i can’t believe this bitch did that!” kind of format. ➳ the character's names. i know this is such a shallow thing to point out, but when you are constantly seeing these characters' names, it starts getting on your nerves. babe, atticus, and, how do i even say this without cringing, pilot pen? my only question is: why? honestly just name all of your characters john smith, because these other names ain't it, sis. ➳ diagnosis: sir, we have a bad case of insta-love here. the romance starts from the moment shane and, it always pains me to say his name, pilot meet. as in, you flip the page and shane is already saying how much she likes pilot. pilot this. pilot that. the smallest things would happen, and she would just go insane. i'm-already-planning-our-wedding kind of insane. ➳ gray area cheating throughout the whole book. as you can probably tell from what i've said, pilot started cheating on amy the moment his small brain decided that he had feelings for shane. although they never acted upon their attraction, emotional cheating is a thing! if you have feelings for someone else while you are in a relationship, you are cheating on your partner! ➳ the constant pop culture references. we get it that you like harry potter, cassandra clare and whatever else the characters kept mentioning, we really do. maybe now you can, just like, not do that? on every page? from beginning to end? ➳ boring. i did not care that they were in italy! and paris! nothing was happening for the longest time besides them travelling to places. ➳ the plot who? no one explained what the fuck happened. i don't want to get much into it since it might be a spoiler, so just keep in my mind that nothing will be explained and if you want to know more, just head to the spoilery section (3). ➳ (1). even after spending six years with absolutely no communication, shane was still thirsty for pilot. and i mean, i'm-almost-engaged-and-still-haven't-forgotten-that-one-guy-i-met-six-years-ago. and, of course, when they get the opportunity to go back in time, she loses her mind since it's shane's time to shine, back off pilot's girlfriend. which yes, pilot is still dating the girl he was dating while in london, amy, at this point. but who cares about her? shane is gon' get that pilot dick. ➳ (2). can we talk about babe for a second? why was she essentially encouraging pilot to cheat on his girlfriend the whole time? from inviting both him and shane to paris, to making them sleep in the same room. she was always like "oh, you like pilot? omg i'm gonna leave you two together, ihih." what? also can we talk about how her and shane have supposedly been best friends for six years, and shane is only now finding out that babe's name is barbara? tragic. ➳ (3). the main plot of this book is that six years after their semester in london, shane and pilot get to go back to that time and they can either reset everything and go back to their lives or just restart from there, again, but better. no one, and with no one i mean the author, didn't bother explaining why or how or who or what the fuck happened. uh, magic! look at them going back in time! who's this lady? who cares! what does she mean with "being ready?" that's for losers! a mess. this was bad. those are my final thoughts. arc provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

  19. 5 out of 5

    V. A Court of Wings and Ruin is NEW ADULT/EROTICA but Goodreads editors won't tell you to include it in the choice awards

    UNSAFE READ FOR THE ROMANCE SAFETY GANG. SAFETY INFO AT THE BOTTOM OF MY REVIEW. WHY CAN'T "AUTHORS" STOP TRYING TO ROMANTICIZE DISLOYALTY AND CHEATING? Yet another New adult book labelled as YA. Main character is in College and her language and her conflict is of an adult woman. An immature woman, but an adult nonetheless. And at times she uses strong language. Again, but better is not vulga UNSAFE READ FOR THE ROMANCE SAFETY GANG. SAFETY INFO AT THE BOTTOM OF MY REVIEW. WHY CAN'T "AUTHORS" STOP TRYING TO ROMANTICIZE DISLOYALTY AND CHEATING? Yet another New adult book labelled as YA. Main character is in College and her language and her conflict is of an adult woman. An immature woman, but an adult nonetheless. And at times she uses strong language. Again, but better is not vulgarly explicit as other books marketed as YA that are in reality New adult (*cough A Court of Mist and Fury coughs*) but I'm tired of this trend to sell books. If a book is New adult say it. Don't try to pass it as a Young adult book when this is about college life. UPDATE 05/20/2019: I've received a lot of attacks on my review so I created a challenge. It's on my comment section in my answer to the one who called me "nutjob". If you disagree with my review I dare you to take on my challenge. If you won't take my challenge, please respect my opinion and post yours ON YOUR OWN REVIEW. I might disagree with it, but I'll respect it. For those of you who don't know what New adult is, you should pay more attention. New Adult books are a huge section of the book market. New adult is sometimes marketed as something else, as Adult fiction in some cases but more often than not as YA because bookstores refuse to open their New adult sections. Maybe this refusal to open a New adult section in libraries is at the request of the big publishing houses as they know many successful New Adult titles are from indie writers. They can't compete with Indies' successfully. Not in price at least. And lately, not in quality either as I've noticed more and more editing and cover issues in books from the big publishers. I've read plenty of indie books with better editing than many new releases from traditional publishers. However, the people who buy booksexclusively in bookstores as opposed to ordering on line, borrowing from libraries, or downloading ebooks is in comparison to the whole of the Goodreads community small. I don't know anybody who buys books in bookstore. My bookclub usually orders on line or downloads ebooks. I rarely visit bookstores, it's a joy when I do, but for me it's like a trip to Disneyland. It's rare that I buy books at the bookstore and many of my favourites books (new adult) are only available on Amazon so there's no reason for me to visit bookstores. So it'd be a good idea for bookstores to open a section for New adult books. Otherwise we get publishers desperately trying to market their New adult books, some containing VULGAR, EXPLICIT SCENES, As EXPLICIT AS WHAT YOU EXPECT TO FIND IN BOOKS LIKE FIFTY SHADES OF GREY STYLE to young kids. Plenty of books that people think are Young adult are New adult: Ignite me, Restore me, Empire of storms, Breaking Dawn A Court of Mist and Fury (BTW any booktuber who tells you they don't like erotica is lying through their teeth, as EOS and ACOMAF contain erotic elements and VERY few booktubers minded enough to comment about this) Damsel, The last of the shadow hunter series, The Red scrolls of Magic, Poison Study, Graceling, Uprooted, the last releases of Laini Taylor long etc. New adult is a rentable genre with a lot of respectability, but all the publishers want the YA label at all costs. Even moral costs. So they label their New adult books as YA. More on what New adult is HERE (Notice that SJM books are among the most read of the new adult genre) New adult doesn't translate automatically to vulgar displays or erotic material like in the case of Empire of Storms and A Court of Mist and Fury. Not all New adult books are about sex. Slammed by Colleen Hoover, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Making Faces, The bird and the sword by Amy Harmon and plenty of fantasy books with protagonists older than 19-YO, aren't sexually explicit, but they're still New adult and should be advertised as such. It's not the same reading Percy Jackson than The Bird and the sword and both are free of sexual content. The age of the main character gives us an idea of what kind of challenges they face and how relatable they might be for the target audience. Shane is a sophomore in College, she faces adult problems like cheating, anxiety among others. Her problems are the typical of the New adult Genre. Is this book as vulgarly explicit as A Court of Mist? I stopped at 35% and didn't think so, but if I were you I'd be very careful with any book labelled as YA if language and sex are your triggers. I don't enjoy language and although I DO enjoy reading explicit content (just as many booktubers do enjoy explicit content , they just don't want to tell you) YA used to be my favourite genre to pick when I needed something different. At present time if you really want to read something PG-13 AVOID or at least be very careful with new releases. Because the strong, vulgar language, I wouldn't feel comfortable playing this book at work or while driving someone around because the use of words like Hell and expressions like "what the fudge". Of course several f-bombs. Plus the immaturity of Shane, the main character. I love listening to audiobooks without regret. While driving my parents around, while eating lunch with company. I love playing audiobooks at work too. That's why I need to know about language, content and intended audience. But I can't find reliable information about the age of main characters and the adult content in goodreads anymore. The top reviewers mislabel NA as YA all the time and are reluctant to talk about anything that they feelcan discourage sales . Many people create fake accounts to upvote only the positive reviews and attack the negative reviewers. And I'm here to tell you that many YA books aren't really PG13. Try to research first and don't assume that because you find a book in the YA section of Goodreads or the bookstore the book is for kids. Many people misshelve books on purpose to support the marketing plans of publishers. Shame on them. This kind of marketing strategy: Recommending a book with Fifty shade of Grey scenes to young readers is the kind of thing that lately you can expect from the big publishers. And they are doing it with the complicit silence of a few people in the booktube comminity. Be careful. But see? The author of this book belongs to the booktube community. She is one of the few booktubers who reads and recommends New adult content without trying to hide the real genre of a book. She was one of the few honest booktubers who respected her subscribers and talked honestly to them about the real genre and the erotic content of the A Court of Mist and Fury when the book came out. That's honest and her honesty is the reason I decided to read her book. I think there are some elements in her writing that are really good. I hope that now that she's working for a very corrupted publishing industry that can scoop as low as to sell pornography to 11-13 YO Children this author can mantain her honesty. This one didn't work for me, but I think this one will become a NYT bestseller and I'll read more books of this author if she keeps being honest. NOTES FOR SAFETY GANG. For what I could see (view spoiler)[ this is supposedly second-chance romance, Pilot the love interest, isn't exactly loyal and you all know that I prefer when h is the ONE. The one and only. I hate heroes with past when heroines have none. Plus author is very into TV shows that romanticize cheating like Friends (I side with Rachel, I can't believe people try to make it look like dropping her cheating boyfriend was unreasonable, she was absolutely right and shouldn't have been punished like she did for dumping Ross) Gilmore girls (a lot of cheating). In fact, the prose sounded a little bit like jokes from those shows. One of the reasons I prefer books to TV shows is because only in books you can find fantastic, imaginary realms where hero has eyes only for the heroine and is incapable to be with someone else. For me this one was heading into cheating but I didn't read enough to get there. The reviews say that there's a lot of cheating. (hide spoiler)]

  20. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    DNF-ed on Page 152! I tried y'all, I really did. But No. No. No. No. No. N to the O! NO! Let me keep this 100, the first 40-50 were actually quite good. They grew on me, kinda like a rash. I found Shanes struggle to put herself out there, to be more open towards other people & to do all the things you're supposed to do when you're 20 incredibly relatabel. Apart from that tho... gurl WTF! 1st) I've read a few reviews about this book, before I've read it myself & DNF-ed on Page 152! I tried y'all, I really did. But No. No. No. No. No. N to the O! NO! Let me keep this 100, the first 40-50 were actually quite good. They grew on me, kinda like a rash. I found Shanes struggle to put herself out there, to be more open towards other people & to do all the things you're supposed to do when you're 20 incredibly relatabel. Apart from that tho... gurl WTF! 1st) I've read a few reviews about this book, before I've read it myself & I saw many people calling Shane naive, but let's cut the crap. This girl isn't naive she's dumb. I'm not talking dumb like silly/ridiculousy stupid I'm talking about Shane being totally & utterly uneducated. Like the how fuck did this girl manage to ge into college at all? She's going to London & feels complety gobsmacked by the fact that the pasta in grocery stores is in plastic bags instead of boxes. She also goes on a trip to France where she visits the Palace of Versailles only to freak out about the Hall of Mirros (a hallway full of mirrors) not being a carnival mirror maze... Girl also thinks the Louvre Museum is beneath the famous glass pyramid, when in reality the biggest of the pyramids serves as the main entrance. 2nd) This book is just a basic white girl fanfiction Christine Riccio wrote about herself. I mean write what you know gurl, but come on. If you're not that interesting as a preson in the first place, why would write a full lenght novel about yourself? I don't get this. 3rd) The pop culture references... no ma'am pam! The moment I saw that Shanes creative writing professor was called Mr Blackstairs (a mash-up of the names Blackthorn/Carstairs from the Shadowhunters novels by Cashsandra Clare) I could feel my last 2 brain cells trying to escape & start a new life in New Orleans. This book is filled with references like this. I dunno when this trend started, but if the humor/the jokes in your book are solely based on name dropping the work of other people, you should open your MacBook Air & google humor. 4th) Let's talk for a sec about famous booktubers getting book deals. I'm okay with people like Christine getting book deals. In fact, I think publishers would be really stupid to not give them book deals. I'm mean Christine has like 400k+ subscirbers on YouTube. So basically 400k+ potential readers, who could potentially buy her book & make the publisher a shitload of coin. Sounds like an easy deal to me. BUT what I am not okay with, is famous booktubers getting book deals, only to publish shitty books like this one. Basic, boring af, tropey (there is nothing wrong with tropes, if you're able to make them your own, give them a new twist), annoying books. You're an avid read. You're on of the biggest bookish influencers not only in the US but the world, you should know what good storytelling is, so what the fuck gurl! 5th) In conclusion this book remindes of an old friend I had in elementary school. She's dead.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    I am reading this just because Christine wrote it, because she is an amazing person.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

    DNF @ 200 pages Bleh, I wanted to love this book but for real this was starting to put me in a slump. I absolutely love Christine, she’s the first booktuber I ever started watching and she’s a huge inspiration to me, and a huge part of the reason I started my own channel. But this book was just not for me. I was not a fan of this writing style- it read like cheesy YA or fanfic or something. There were times where Shane felt sooo relatable to me (mainly the quotes about her family making fun of her for ne DNF @ 200 pages Bleh, I wanted to love this book but for real this was starting to put me in a slump. I absolutely love Christine, she’s the first booktuber I ever started watching and she’s a huge inspiration to me, and a huge part of the reason I started my own channel. But this book was just not for me. I was not a fan of this writing style- it read like cheesy YA or fanfic or something. There were times where Shane felt sooo relatable to me (mainly the quotes about her family making fun of her for never having a boyfriend at 20 years old) but then there were times where she was so naive and obnoxious. Also, like many other readers have said Shane literally IS Christine, so much to the point where it really takes you out of the story. Like French Watermelon Nineteen... really? Her channel is Poland Bananas lol. And the obsession with Lost and Harry Potter and it’s impossible to not picture Christine as Shane. And it really slams you over the head with the 2011 pop culture references. This book also has to remind you five million times that it’s her first time traveling overseas and she has to point out every little thing that’s different than America. I also was not a fan of the romance, it was cheesy YA bull shit that I’m sick of reading. She gets crazy obsessive over this guy she just met and she doesn’t know much about him other than the fact that he’s soooo hot and she wants to kiss him. Bleh, I wanted to love this but I just can’t.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Vicky Who Reads

    28 September 2018 Oh WOW look at this cover! Not what I expected, but I really love the colors (the green is GORGEOUS). Illustrated covers are awesome! 7 August 2018 but OKAY ALSO WHAT IS THIS--LONDON YOU SAY i am a stereotypical American of course i like British things (shh let's not talk about the revolution). and second chances!!! and British things!!! and feeling like a boring person (because who DOESN'T feel like their life is repetitive?)!!! 5 December 2017 Although I'm always somewhat hesitant to read novels by "popular" (it's a relative termrepetitive?)!!!5awesome!7 28 September 2018 Oh WOW look at this cover! Not what I expected, but I really love the colors (the green is GORGEOUS). Illustrated covers are awesome! 7 August 2018 but OKAY ALSO WHAT IS THIS--LONDON YOU SAY i am a stereotypical American of course i like British things (shh let's not talk about the revolution). and second chances!!! and British things!!! and feeling like a boring person (because who DOESN'T feel like their life is repetitive?)!!! 5 December 2017 Although I'm always somewhat hesitant to read novels by "popular" (it's a relative term) people (whether it's actors, booktubers, etc. etc.), I am a tad (more than a tad) more excited to read this because I LOVE Christine's videos & how funny she is. Despite that being said, I have no idea what her writing is like. Nor what this book is actually about. I might love it, I might hate it, but that's something to be determined after I read it (not before). So I'll be patiently waiting until more is revealed! (feast your eyes upon some generic glittery quote art) Blog | Instagram | Twitter

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine from How Useful It Is

    DNF few chapters into part 2. 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 DNF few chapters into part 2. 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 (on my blog post). 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! ***Disclaimer: Many thanks to Wednesday Books for the opportunity to read and review. Please be assured that my opinions are honest. xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

  25. 5 out of 5

    may ❀

    i'm SUPER bummed right now bc i was EXPECTING such a fantastic book but the story was really disappointing and the dialogue was so immature and the characters felt so juvenile, ughghghghg basically it felt like i was reading badly written fanfiction and i am Sad rtc

  26. 4 out of 5

    monica kim

    another book i picked up “before bed” that basically stopped me from going to bed because i couldn’t put it down. 😂 anyways, i genuinely adored again, but better. i was constantly surprised by the turns of the plot and the character choices. i loved getting to know shane and her friends, and i loved getting to watch her grow so much over the course of this story. side note, but the time period this is set in is literally the exact year and semester that i studied in london, and it was so so fun another book i picked up “before bed” that basically stopped me from going to bed because i couldn’t put it down. 😂 anyways, i genuinely adored again, but better. i was constantly surprised by the turns of the plot and the character choices. i loved getting to know shane and her friends, and i loved getting to watch her grow so much over the course of this story. side note, but the time period this is set in is literally the exact year and semester that i studied in london, and it was so so fun to read about a character having that whirlwind of an experience - meeting new people, traveling for the first time, jumping from place to place each weekend. it was such a perfect depiction of that! i also seriously am so thankful for some new adult/late YA fiction that isn’t like hyper-sexual or dark. this felt like an actual realistic portrayal of your 20s - feeling lost, and naive, and insecure and trying to find your path. i want more books like this, please! lastly, this book felt truly, clearly like christine. from the narrative voice to the main character, you could tell this was a personal story. even in the author’s note at the very beginning, christine makes it really clear that much of this book pulls from her own experiences. some people may not like that, but i thought it made the story all the more effective and engaging. i think sometimes as readers we tend to mock/trivialize women who do this (bc how dare a women tell her own story) but then celebrate men who do literally the same thing as being brave or honest. idk just an observation. ultimately this book felt fresh, and fun, and just made me so happy - everything i’m looking in a contemporary. so excited to see what comes next for christine! read via audiobook, and i’d def recommend - i really liked the narrator.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jenna

    If Christine Riccio were a book, she would definitely be this one. Main critique: not enough bananas 🍌

  28. 4 out of 5

    Leona Carstairs

    Like Shane herself says: "With five out of five, there's no room to grow! Maybe next time will be five stars." And I totally agree! I think this book was amazing but slightly flawed and I am SO excited to read Christine's future novels because I'm sure they'll be even better. (The book to me is more around 4.5 stars.) So I guess I'll start with the couple things that irked me. I personally don't like when the word "like" is overused in dialogue. It might be accurate to the way people talk now but it an Like Shane herself says: "With five out of five, there's no room to grow! Maybe next time will be five stars." And I totally agree! I think this book was amazing but slightly flawed and I am SO excited to read Christine's future novels because I'm sure they'll be even better. (The book to me is more around 4.5 stars.) So I guess I'll start with the couple things that irked me. I personally don't like when the word "like" is overused in dialogue. It might be accurate to the way people talk now but it annoys me and feels unnecessary. So that bugged me. I also thought the writing could have used less adjectives. But otherwise I can't think of any other annoyances I had. Now onto the positives! So this book is cute, fun and weird and perfect for the mood I was in when I read it. I needed a lighthearted contemporary and Christine delivered. I cried in the end, and almost cried sometime in the middle, but it was still a pretty happy-making novel. I found Shane so relatable. I may still be in HS but I could really see myself in her and identify with some of her struggles with confidence and communicating with new people. The romance aspect grew on me. There were times when I wanted to shake Pilot and give him a nice slap to clear his head, but overall I did like his and Shane's relationship. I like how Christine (view spoiler)[made Shane realize that Pilot shouldn't her main priority and that she shouldn't just be focused entirely on him. I appreciated that SO MUCH because often in YA the protagonists who are in love are way too obsessed with their own relationship and don't realize that they need to be focused on other things too! (hide spoiler)] Also (view spoiler)[The whole going back in time thing! Whoa! Did not expect that. What a fantastic plot twist, especially for a contemporary which tend to be pretty bland and predictable with their twists (hide spoiler)] Shane's relationship with her parents was so sad. I could see it from both their perspectives but it really was heartbreaking to see how they were (view spoiler)[pressuring her into med school (hide spoiler)] and (view spoiler)[were very unwilling to listen to her and consider her passions. (hide spoiler)] But I am so glad, so, so glad, that in the end (view spoiler)[they started reconciling (hide spoiler)] It really helped end the novel on a positive note! This is definitely worth reading, in my opinion. I know that I'll be rereading it in the future when I need a good contemporary to turn to, plus it's a fast read as well despite it's length. I am happy I own this book and managed to find a signed copy in B&N (*shrieks* I still can't believe it) and I think a lot of people will enjoy it and find themselves identifying with Shane and her struggles. Thank you, Christine, thank you so much! Note: Christine is my favorite booktuber so I tried to be as unbiased as possible and I think I succeeded in sharing my honest thoughts. :)

  29. 4 out of 5

    Trina (Between Chapters)

    I happen to love rom coms with the specific magical element that is present in Again, But Better so I really enjoyed this. (Seriously, just check my Netflix list.) My thoughts were a roller coaster while reading - meaning that there would be things happening that I'd immediately hate, only to turn that opinion around once they were more developed and explained. For instance, I thought the pacing was odd. The first part is very wordy and it takes a long time to get to The Main Plot Thi I happen to love rom coms with the specific magical element that is present in Again, But Better so I really enjoyed this. (Seriously, just check my Netflix list.) My thoughts were a roller coaster while reading - meaning that there would be things happening that I'd immediately hate, only to turn that opinion around once they were more developed and explained. For instance, I thought the pacing was odd. The first part is very wordy and it takes a long time to get to The Main Plot Thing. But once that Thing happened, I felt that the small details of the beginning had more significance. The romance is also messy. If you hate stories about having a crush on someone who already has a partner then this isn't for you. I was irritated at that at the start, but then I realized that just about everyone in my college dorm were crushing on new people who had partners back home, including myself. So like, it's a common reality in college. What really makes Again, But Better a standout is that it's a NEW ADULT non-erotic romance, with a contemporary setting that has a touch of 'other,' and the protagonist is in her 20s and still having her coming of age moment. I WISH there'd been more books like this when I was in my 20s. So, yeah. Some will find it a little trite and there is room for growth, but I am really glad this book exists. Audiobook review: I'm a fan of the narrator (Brittany Pressley) and she does a good job. tw: family falling outs, getting mugged note: Although I am also a booktuber, have met Christine once, and am generally a fan of her channel, I don't believe she really knows who I am so I have no reason to suck up to her with this review. I have done my best to remain impartial and I hope you feel like you can trust my reviews of fellow booktuber's books. I got this book on my own, through my library.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Horse Cryptid

    12/6/17 Saw some Discourse TM on twitter and wanted to throw in my 2 cents that no one will probably read but I just wanted to throw out this perspective anyway. Putting it under a spoiler cut so you don't have to see it if you don't want to. :P (view spoiler)[ I've seen a lot of "the publisher wouldn't have picked her up if she didn't write a good (aka quality) book!!" And 12/6/17 Saw some Discourse TM on twitter and wanted to throw in my 2 cents that no one will probably read but I just wanted to throw out this perspective anyway. Putting it under a spoiler cut so you don't have to see it if you don't want to. :P (view spoiler)[ I've seen a lot of "the publisher wouldn't have picked her up if she didn't write a good (aka quality) book!!" And y'all. Y'all. Publishing doesn't care about quality. They care about MONEY. If you don't believe this, you have not been in the publishing realm long or just don't care. (Have you LOOKED at American society?? It's ALWAYS money, whether you're "famous" or not.) I'm not saying CHRISTINE is a bad writer here. Scope out of this situation, y'all. This happens with "famous" booktubers and writers picked out of the slush pile alike. All publishing is business, and it's about making lots of money. Some ways are just faster than others. It is SOOO rare for a first book by an unagented (I believe?) writer to be published by a big publishing house. And 99% of first books are lacking in craft and originality because...it's NEW. Writing is difficult, it's learned over time, and not everyone can pull it off. It takes time to grow. Let's call it what it is. Luck, privilege, and connections get book deals like this. THAT SAID, I am not judging this book until I read it. I have no idea what Christine's skill levels are. It could be amazing! It could be terrible! Just like every other book. :P Christine hasn't said anything snobby like her book being ~the best book ever~ or anything snobby. It is what it is. I think what most people (writer people anyway) are frustrated about with booktubers getting deals isn't necessarily the booktuber, but the system. When one of these announcements comes along, it's an instinctual eye roll reaction because it feels like they skipped a HUGE HURTLE in publishing: rejection. Rejection from agents, rejection from editors, etc. Most writers spend YEARS writing multiple manuscripts before they even get agents! And then they might not keep that agent. Many writers have to leave their agent for one reason or another, find another, leave, find aaaand another, and so on. It's often times a long, hard process. Do I think Christine worked hard on her book? Yes! Do I think she worked hard on her following? Of course! However, stories like hers are THE RAREST OF RARE. She is still a fledgling writer, and there's no doubt in my mind her popularity helped get her this deal. AND YET, @ writing people, being salty about it won't do much for you. It's best to look the other ways and keep your head down as you work on your own books. Yeah, it sucks some people get deals because they're "famous", but that's publishing. That's the entertainment industry. Just...wait until the book is out before you start calling people like Christine a bad writer undeserving of her deal. Let her WRITING speak for that. /end 2 cents (hide spoiler)]

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