In her small Indiana town, Paige is known as the girl whose boyfriend drowned. It’s been over a year since Aaron died and even though they only dated for a couple of months, Paige still doesn’t feel like she can move on. But it’s the start of her Junior year and if there’s one thing she can do, it’s make a plan. So Paige creates a list of five things that she wants to do and she calls it “How to Begin Again”. 1) Parties/social events; 2) New group; 3) Date; 4) Travel; 5)Swim.
First let me say that I know this is not the most common cover, but this is the cover that was on my Kindle and I kind of fell in love with it. Anyway, there are hardly words for me to explain how much I loved this book. We have a quirky main character who just seems so real. She has this realistic conflict going on because she feels guilty for being happy when Aaron’s never going to have another happy day. She also feels guilty because she doesn’t feel like she has as much of a right to mourn him as his parents or friends since she and Aaron dated for such a short amount of time. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to be in Paige’s shoes. Your boyfriend dies in a freak accident? That’s hard to deal with at any age, but Paige has to do it while she’s still in high school.
I love that our main character is smart and has a unique talent/hobby/interest (screen-writing). That only serves to make her more real in my book. I also loved that she joins Quiz Bowl. If this was any other book (or movie for that matter) about high school she would have gone out for cheerleading or drama or something that would make her awesome and super popular all of the sudden. Again, the fact that she joins Quiz Bowl instead makes her more real to me. I also liked that several scenes in this book are set in a bookstore(/coffee shop). We need more bookish characters!
I absolutely love the secondary characters in this book! Every secondary character served a purpose and felt well-developed. I was having serious envy over Paige’s relationships with her grandma and her three girl friends. First, I love that her grandmother was her confidante and the advice that Paige receives is always spot on. Second, I am basically in love with these four girls. I love how in sync they are and that there was no extra/unnecessary drama between them. It’s obvious that they all really care about and support each other despite their differences. I LOVE THEM.
The overall plot was great and I felt that the characters developed in a realistic way. There was nothing that I was forced to suspend my belief about and that made this book so much better to me. Lord did a great job of dealing with death and grief in a respectful but realistic way. I really appreciated that she wasn’t flippant about certain details. It felt like every serious moment in this book had appropriate weight if that makes sense.
Overall, this book completely shattered my expectations. You know when you just pick up a book randomly to have something to read and then you actually start reading and are completely blown away by how good a book it is? That just happened to me in a major way. I will DEFINITELY be reading more from Emery Lord. Welcome to the #instaread club.
Overall Rating: 5
Sexual Content: Mild