The Start of Me and You
by Emery Lord
Original Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Length: 384 pages
Obtained Via: Borrowed
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Ah, The Start of Me and You. This is a book I was interested in because I loved Open Road Summer, but I was anxious for the same reason. I’ll be upfront and say that if I hadn’t already an Emery Lord book, I would have been not at all interested in this book based on the synopsis. Then the reviews began rolling in, and they were all raves. My expectations grew & grew, and I was super excited & happy when Terri at Reading by Starlight lent her kindle copy to me. I read it over the span of a day and got sucked into Paige’s story. . . but while I loved it, there was a spark missing to make it a new favorite.
The Start of Me and You is the story of Paige and her quest to become somebody else than “the girl whose boyfriend died”. This was a really unique take on grief that I haven’t seen previously done. Paige has her troubles with Aaron’s death, but they hadn’t been dating long when he died. They were super in love, and often Paige feels like a fraud for getting all the sympathy. She says herself that *her* life has been more defined by Aaron’s absence than his presence. . . and she wants to make sure she starts living her life for her. Enter, new school year.
The Start of Me and You is at its core, a novel about relationships, and I loved pretty much all of them. As much as I love the romance, I think I may have liked the friendships even more. Paige has a close group of girl friends who support each other and I LOVED IT. Yes, more friendships like this in YA please! Paige’s friends were always a huge presence in the book, even when they weren’t on the page. I loved how supportive they were and how well they knew each other, how uniquely individual they were but they still had those ties binding them together. It actually reminded me a lot of my HS friend group Jr/Sr year. I think The Start of Me and You is the only time I’ve read a YA book that actually made me miss parts of high school(not for long, though).
Paige also has a dynamic, if sometimes tense, relationship with her family. She’s close to her grandmother, which was absolutely heart-warming. I’ve never thought of it before, but that’s one relationship I haven’t seen in YA a lot, unless the grandparents are the character’s guardians. It was fascinating to see Paige try and apply her grandmother’s advice to her own life. While Paige’s relationship with her parents wasn’t quite as grounded, it was clear that all the characters were trying.
Then, of course, there was the relationship. And oh, how I was rooting for it. Max is the most adorable nerdy guy to grace YA literature. He loves learning and Firefly and girl scout cookies. He can match Paige wit for wit, which made their conversations delightful to read. I was actually surprised by how much I loved the pop culture references, actually(many of which come from these conversations). Sometimes I think they make books feel dated too quickly, but I thought it worked well in The Start of Me and You since Paige is interested in screenwriting and pop culture as a hobby. I was on board the good ship Max and Paige(Maige? Pax? I’ll stick to letting others come up with ship names) as soon as Max started calling Paige “Janie”, after Jane Bennett from Pride & Prejudice. Their relationship was completely adorable.
Yet, as much as I enjoyed this one, there was just something that kept me from really getting completely invested. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great book and I’ll probably revisit it in the future, but I’m not sure I would call it a favorite. There was something about it that just made me feel emotionally distant, and I thought the characters read a little young for their ages. I kept being surprised every time one of them drove a car because I kept thinking they were a little too young for that. That being said, I still really enjoyed it! It just wasn’t Open Road Summer level of love for me.
While I didn’t fall head over heels in love with this book like I did Open Road Summer, Emery Lord once again proved she knows how to write a great contemporary YA novel. I loved Paige’s relationships with her friends, family, and love interest. 4/5 cupcakes.