Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Genre: YA Contemporary Fiction
Number of Pages: 384
Summary: From Goodreads: “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.”
Review: I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Again, but Better follows Shane, a college student who is convinced that she’s been doing college all wrong. In an attempt to fix this, she decides to follow her dreams and take a semester abroad in London. Unfortunately, things take a turn for the worst when her parents show up, and she starts to reconsider everything. Years later, a magical opportunity comes up, that could give her the chance to change everything.
I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I had a difficult time putting it down, because I wanted to know what would happen next with Shane. On the other hand, I wasn’t a huge fan of the first half of the book, because I found Shane’s internal monologue to be immature and annoying. On the third hand (yes, let’s pretend I have three hands), I really enjoyed the second part of the book when Shane started focusing on herself and her goals.
My favourite thing about this book was all the travelling that Shane did. I liked seeing London, Paris, Rome, and other European cities through Shane’s eyes, and this book made me want to do some travelling. I also liked the friendships that Shane made in the second half of the book, and I loved how much travelling and exploring she did with her roommates during their term abroad.
The other thing that I liked about this book was watching Shane mature. I liked when she started making decisions for herself, instead of trying to do what everyone else wanted her to do. I thought that she had great character development, and I went from not liking her much, to being inspired by her.
One thing I didn’t like about this book was all the pop culture references. I understand that sometimes pop culture references are useful and that they can make a story seem more real, but the amount in this book seemed excessive.
Overall, even though I enjoyed this book, it wasn’t the book for me. I think if I was a little bit younger, or still, in university, I would have enjoyed this book more. I do recommend this book to people in college or university who are unsure of what they want to do moving forward.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars!