“Again, but Better” by Christine Riccio

SPOILER ALERT!

Shane has been leading the ideal student life with perfect grades and the pre-med major to make her parents happy. Her parents have her life mapped out for her and she is following the path of her parent aspirations. In reality, she loves writing and her dream job has nothing to do with pre-med. Her college life had become so predictable and boring that she conned her parents and went to London for a “pre-med” program for a semester to change things up. London opens a door for her where she interns as a writer for a travel magazine, meets some of her closest friends, falls for a boy, and escapes her parent’s expectations even if it is for a little bit. This book is narrated in two parts to differentiate the timelines. The first part is set in 2011 with 20-year-old Shane and the second part is set in 2017 with 26-year-old Shane. We follow 20-year-old Shane as she travels and makes friends with her flatmates all while struggling with her obvious social anxiety.

Her parents’ harshness was undermined. There was emotional abuse constantly from both parents and the verbal abuse was evident from the father. The parents only love Shane when she is successful in meeting their expectations. That doesn’t seem like a great set of parents to have.

Honestly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Shane’s love interest. Who’s name is Pilot Penn?! His personality was okay but his name is just hard to get past. He was also just a frustrating character. He knowingly lead Shane on despite the fact he had a girlfriend. He never got with Shane by the end of part one and that was okay. However, he also didn’t break up with his girlfriend even though he didn’t feel anything for her. He basically cheated so many times and no one gives a crap. The dude was just emotionally confused for most of the book.

I loved the magical component of the book that comes to play in the second part of the book. It made the book kind of quirky in a way. It was a nice surprise in the mess of Shane’s successful yet unsuccessful life. The idea of hitting refresh and just doing something over again is played out beautifully in this book.

The thing I loved about this book is that it really enlightens readers that you have to live life for you. If you don’t love what you do and how you live, you are not going to be happy nor satisfied. This message is what a lot of teens need to hear, but learn the hard way. They forget that they deserve happiness and they just do what they have to do to satisfy others. I hope I don’t have to learn this the hard way.

The book is an experience itself. It leaves you wanting more. The pages just keep turning. Reading it from cover to cover in one sitting is not a difficult task.

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