Published by Bloomsbury on March 31, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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?
Guys. So this book was wonderful and magical and I don’t think I’ve related to a main character on a such a deep level for a long time…if at all. So let’s just talk about it.
Reasons Paige and I are actually the same exact person
- She lives in Indiana and I was born in Indiana and went to high school in Indiana. HOOSIERS, BABY.
- She’s a grammar nerd and I’m an Editing minor. GRAMMAR IS A HUGE PART OF MY LIFE.
- She’s super awkward and overthinks around boys, aka me. Case in point:
“‘Hey.’ My voice sounded breathy, like I hadn’t used enough air in my attempt to speak. I hoped it came off more like ‘flirty’ and less like ‘bronchitis.'”
- She has arguments with boys about Pride and Prejudice. Okay, this one hasn’t actually happened to me…but if a boy were to come up to me and start arguing about the merits of Jane vs. Elizabeth in P&P, I think I would drop everything right there and then and just marry him.
- She is an overanalyzing queen. This is what I tell people all the time: I am an English major. I am trained to overanalyze. I could write a four-page paper on a ten-line poem. Overanalysis is what I do and it carries over into my personal life. Here’s her quote:
“I couldn’t master this kind of apathy, no matter how hard I tried. I was built to care—to notice, to overanalyze, to try—in a way that felt inalterable.”
- She loves Gilmore Girls and acts like Rory. ‘Nough said.
“‘Thanks,’ I said, laughing a little. Thanks?! Someone kisses you and you say thanks?! Did you learn nothing from Rory Gilmore?”
- She hangs out in bookstores by herself. Me. Always. When I was in high school, if I was upset, I would drive over to Barnes and Noble and just walk around, letting the books calm me down. Bookstores have a wonderfully calming effect on me.
- She’s hilariously witty…but mostly in her head. I’ve had friends call me witty before, but I don’t know that I actually am. In my head, though, I think I’m hilarious. Like awkwardly witty. Like this quote:
“‘I have a proposition for you.’ Dear God, let it be marriage.” Or this one:
“If my life had TV sound effects, a sad trombone would have womp-womped overhead.”
- She is constantly trying to figure out if that boy likes her. Boys are confusing. I don’t know what all those people are thinking when they say girls are complicated and confusing. I never know what a boy is thinking, whether he likes me or doesn’t. And Paige parallels my thoughts exactly.
- She falls for the nerdy boys. Totes me. Can’t help it, yo.
- She (secretly) loves to write. Writing is her outlet, something I completely relate to. And though I’ve never done any screen writing like she does, I understand the feeling of expressing yourself in words better than you could ever express yourself in any other way.
So, as you can see, Paige Hancock and I are basically the same person. If not exactly the same, then same enough that we’d be best friends for all time and eternity. And our future husbands would be best friends for all time and eternity as well. Because that’s what would happen.
But like I said, I don’t think I’ve ever related to a main character on such a deep level before. And that’s an amazing thing to experience. Hearing her words and thinking, Yeah. That’s exactly how I feel. Or even hearing her words and having them identify something I’ve been feeling without even realizing I’ve been feeling it.
This is a book that finally motivated me to do some thinking. And it’s kind of personal, so I won’t share it here…but it’s made me re-evaluate some relationships in my life that I wouldn’t have thought to. Which is a hard thing, but an overall good thing.
This is also my first Emery Lord book, which is kind of funny because I’ve been following her on Twitter for months. Her twitter is this perfect mixture of hilarity and profundity. So I’ve been following and liking and RTing for a long time, without having actually read any of her books. But now I’m so glad that I finally picked this one up. It was beautiful and relatable and funny and sweet and endearing and just wonderful. She is now an auto-buy author always and forever.
And finally, the writing. The writing is gorgeous. I was highlighting on my e-reader all over the place. I seriously have so many quotes highlighted, whether it’s because a sentence was super beautiful, or a thought just spoke to me, or Paige said something super hilarious/awkward, or I felt like something directly related to me. So many highlights because the writing is just that good. It never felt forced or overly-lyrical. It just felt right and it felt beautiful.
SO here are some of those highlighted quotes…Not even half of them are here, folks. These are my top choices, so you’re welcome:
Noted and Quoted
- “You’d think, given the diversity of the human population, that we would have come up with multiple facial expressions for sympathy. But no. There’s one: eyebrows and mouth downturned, head tilted like a curious bird.”
- “I hoped the outfit would say: Hey, Ryan Chase. I’m actually not a creepy bookstore loner. In fact, I have these legs.”
- “When it all closes in, there are only two kinds of people: best friends and everyone else.”
- “Why not Paris? My world had crumbled around me. Like your friend Mr. Chase, I found a place to dance.”
- “The point is that we already know it doesn’t work out, but we reread them anyway, because the good stuff that comes before the ending is worth it.”
- “Knowing what happens isn’t the same as knowing how it happens. Getting there is the best part.”
- “I had always found comfort between rows and rows of books: some familiar, some foreign, stacks of old friends and piles of new friends to be found.”
- “In friendship, we are all debtors. We all owe each other for a thousand small kindnesses, for little moments of grace in the chaos.”
- “That was how it felt to me, to live in other worlds—books or TV—like breathing became second nature again within their safety.”
- “I know it’s difficult to bare your heart, sweet girl, but it’s the least stupid thing in the world.”
- “You’ve had your cry, but now you’ll pick yourself up and keep living your life. Doubly, for that sweet boy. Love extra, even if it means you hurt extra, too.”
- “I used to think rewatching and rereading were embarrassingly boring pastimes. But there is something to be said for how comforting it is to already know what happens. There is no such luxury in read life.”
So overall, I just really, really 520% loved this book. It’s on my to-buy list, but I’ll probably wait until the PB is published in March because I heard there’s bonus content there! *Eeeeep*
Have you read this or any of Emery Lord’s other books? Have you ever read a book that you connected deeply with the main character? Let me know in the comments!