Again, but Better by Christine Riccio | ARC Review


Pages: 384
Publication: Wednesday Books
Release date: May 7, 2019
How I got the copy: Raincoast Books

This was a huge let down for me. DNF.

It could be that I’ve been seeing the anticipation for this book for years and that I expected more than this book could ever give. I don’t mean my expectations were way too high to meet, I’m saying this book turned out to be nothing like I expected. I did not get very far into the book and every time I sat down to read, I’d find myself having to force myself to read each single page.

She should have been younger

The main character, Shane, is 20-years-old but she’s so immature and sounds so much younger than she’s supposed to be and I believe she should have been written younger. However, if the character was written younger the entire study abroad/new start concept would have been more difficult or creative to write. Possibly. Stephanie Perkins did it with Anna and the French Kiss. Her main character was still a teenager and she was studying abroad at a boarding school. I honestly believe that if the character was younger then Shane would have been more believable and how annoying she is could have been justified (more).

Love at first sight…

More like crazy at first sight. From the second Shane saw Pilot from across their flat window she immediately thought “that could be the boy I like! No, that IS the boy I will like”. Shane has zero experience with boys and barely has any friends but wants to change that while she’s away for school. She wants to reinvent herself, which I’m completely fine with and it’s pretty normal, but it just makes Shane seem more than a little bit boy crazy out of nowhere and all of a sudden. There’s a scene where both Shane and Pilot go to the grocery store and she thinks it could be a date! A DATE! And from all that I read, this happens several times. She takes a friendly gesture as a potential date.

Shane is smitten with Pilot and Pilot seems to lead her on until the fun fact of him having a girlfriend back home is exposed. Instead of Shane seeing this as a red flag it only causes her to obsess over why he didn’t tell her. Let me be clear to anyone in this situation… if he’s (or they’re, I don’t know how you identity) hiding a relationship it’s because he’s (they’re) an asshole.

There’s also zero chemistry between them and no reasons to why Shane likes Pilot so much right from the beginning. Why did Shane like Pilot? Because he’s a boy and he could help her check off a box from her list? He’s secretive, he plays guitar and he also likes The Beatles just like Shane? That’s not enough!

Like what’s going on here? It’s not cute.

Author/Character similarities

What I’ve been hearing about this book is mostly that Shane and her best friend are very similar to Riccio and her best friend. Before I started reading this book I didn’t really care and thought “Okay, whatever, I’ll make my own opinions about that” and truly believed people were being dramatic but very soon after I realized those people are not being dramatic. I can testify that. I’m not a constant watcher of Riccio’s YouTube videos and don’t watch her best friends YouTube video so, for someone that’s doesn’t religiously follow Riccio’s content and can still pinpoint the similarities that’s no bueno.

The similarities are obvious and more than just the characters personality. Shane seems to also love the same books, TV shows, and have a similar type of name for her blog, French Watermelon Nineteen. And let’s not forget Riccio also spend time studying abroad.

Last words

I love unique names but I didn’t find it realistic that all the characters she met had unique names. When does that ever really happen? It was just an addition to why I think this book is super unrealistic. Throw in a Sam or a Rebecca or “Sara(h)” to balance it out. With so many similarities to Riccio and her friends I’m now so curious about her brainstorming and process of the creation of this book.

I don’t want people to think this is hate in any way, just my thoughts on what I read of this book and how I was expecting to really enjoy it. I was also really excited for this release. I wanted to show support and share my support in someone’s dream of writing a book. Either way, unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me but that does not in anyway mean it isn’t for you. However, if we have similar taste in books I’d say pass on this one…