Title: Begin Again
Author: Emma Lord
Publication: January 24, 2023
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Teen, YA Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Filled with a friend group that feels like family, an empowering journey of finding your own way, and a Just Kiss Already! romance, Emma Lord’s Begin Again is an unforgettable YA novel of love and starting again.
As usual, Andie Rose has a Transfer from community college to the hyper competitive Blue Ridge State, major in psychology, and maintain her lifelong goal of becoming an iconic self-help figure despite the nerves that have recently thrown her for a loop. All it will take is ruthless organization, hard work, and her trademark unrelenting enthusiasm to pull it all together.
But the moment Andie arrives, the rest of her plans go off the rails. Her rocky relationship with her boyfriend Connor only gets more complicated when she discovers he transferred out of Blue Ridge to her community college. Her roommate Shay needs a major, and despite Andie’s impressive track record of being The Fixer, she’s stumped on how to help. And Milo, her coffee-guzzling grump of an R.A. with seafoam green eyes, is somehow disrupting all her ideas about love and relationships one sleep-deprived wisecrack at a time.
But sometimes, when all your plans are in rubble at your feet, you find out what you’re made of. And when Andie starts to find the power of her voice as the anonymous Squire on the school’s legendary pirate radio station–the same one her mom founded, years before she passed away–Andie learns that not all the best laid plans are necessarily the right ones.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**
I am extremely upset with myself that I did not read Begin Again by Emma Lord sooner, and I am even more upset that I have never read an Emma Lord book before up to this point. She has received so many accolades as a writer, that Emma Lord should have crossed my path at some point in my book-reading journey. Sadly she has not and now I am behind. Begin Again was the perfect mix of growing up and romance that every person reading a YA Fiction desires.
The story follows Andie as she arrives at her dream college after transferring from a community college, only to find that her boyfriend has transferred to her community college to be with her. As sad as she is, this IS still her dream college, and she dives into everything. Obviously, chaos is about to ensue.
Andie is awkward and weird and I love every piece of her. She is so relatable because of her personality that I think every person could find something to relate to. I also really love Milo. His whole demeanor and personality had me hooked at once. I would have loved to be Milo’s friend. The characters in this book are so different, but make up this little band of friends so perfectly that I kind of hope Emma Lord has a group of friends just like them that she based her characters on.
Not only are the characters fun to read, but they have so many levels that we learn as the story goes on, but the plot line in this book is unique. It’s not just about a girl going to college. It’s really about her finding herself and learning that what you have always known doesn’t have to be what you always know. I am a firm believer that college is where you figure yourself out. You make mistakes. You lose friends. You gain friends. You find your passions. Lord perfectly depicted this in book form. The writing is smooth and the story flows seamlessly. I felt angry, happy, sad, stressed, and tired (Milo!) at any given moment in the book right along with the characters. Lord has a style of writing that just draws you in and makes you want to keep reading. I had to know how it ended.
I know YA fiction is supposed to be for teens and early 20’s, but there is nothing better than a really good YA fiction novel. They are the best at making you feel all the feelings. Lord did an outstanding job of bringing me back to my college years and intricately weaving me into this story as if I were there. Stand out job! I cannot wait to read more from her!