Review: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: contemporary, young adult
Series: N/A
Pages: 384
Published: expected March 31 2015
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 4.25/5

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

Emery Lord has only gotten better since she debuted last year with Reagan and Dee in Open Road Summer. Everything I liked about ORS - the writing, the humor, the realism, the understanding of teenage minds and attitudes - is present here and improved in her second novel. The Start of Me and You has heart and emotion going for it from early on. The book only improves as you continue to read. The characters are well-drawn and three-dimensional, the romance will bring the feels, and Paige makes for a good main character and narrator. The author balances out grief and life in a way that makes even the harder parts of The Start of You and Me still have hope.

Characterization is often key for contemporary novels like this - the characters involved will make or break a novel when it's thoughtful and often introspective like this one. Thankfully, Lord is a skilled writer when it comes to her cast of characters. Paige is far more than a list of virtues and vices, as are her extended family and friends that surround her storyline. Lord showed her potential for crafting characters in Open Road Summer and that talent is on full display here for The Start of You and Me. It's refreshing and wonderful to read about Paige's strong relationships with her three best friends, especially since the author took time and care to show each of the three girls to be individuals and more than just cardboard cutouts.

Paige's life is complicated -- doubly tough for a nerdy introvert like Paige. Her struggles don't begin and end with grief and new crushes and friend issues. Her family life is an authentic and big factor throughout the novel. A child of divorced parents, the situation she finds herself in is rather unexpected and makes for some new familial drama, rather than focusing on sister/sister antagonism. Paige's relationship with Cameron is rather downplayed even as the two disagree about how to feel about their parents' actions. The interactions - familial and fraternal - between this varied group of people felt natural. There was an easy chemistry to their social interactions.

The ship from this book is pretty damn boardable. It takes a while to gather steam (it's a coal-burner-ship, I guess?) but Emery Lord definitely sells it; you want to see a relationship chapters before its a possibility. There's a lot of chemistry and camaraderie between the two that it just feels natural for the characters. It's a quieter kind of romance, but one that is totally apt for both Paige and the plot the novel follows. Finding love isn't the only story for The Start of Me and You, just a really really well-done part of the plot that wraps up slightly too late in the game.

We are now two novels in and I am undoubtedly an Emery Lord fan. Her second novel both impressed and wounded me -- in the best possible ways. The Start of You and Me was a story of flawed people doing the best they can with what they have and it was a damn good story. It was memorable and real and worth pushing on other people.


  1. Hearts in my eyes for you and this review!!

  2. After reading Open Road Summer I wasn't sure that I'd continue on with Lord's books. I just really didn't like the slut-shaming happening all over ORS. But the more reviews I read of this one, the more I think I want to give it another try.

    I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more strong friendships between the female characters.


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