Let’s try to keep up with at least one post a week! I’m reading so many books these days, it shouldn’t be that hard.
Okay so I just finished reading Again, But Better by Chistine Riccio, and this book MADE ME FEEL THINGS, y’all. I’d been meaning to pick it up because I knew that it was a book about college, and about studying abroad, and I’m so glad that I did.
Title: Again, But Better
Author: Christine Riccio
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release: May 2019
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
As per the blurb, Shane had been “doing college all wrong”, going home all weekends, and hadn’t really met any friends. So she decides to go abroad to London for a semester and fix all that. Armed with as much as courage as she can, she goes outside of her comfort zone, and hopes for the best…
Mood by now: I’m wondering if I should go back to college in the next couple years to complete a second master’s and this book didn’t help. This is an idea that I’ve been turning in my head for the past couple months, and I’m still not sure what to do.
Also: I always want to read more books about college and studying abroad, so of course I had to pick up Again, But Better — and I loved it. Maybe the reason I liked it so much is because it hit so close to home when it comes to what I enjoy doing (reading and traveling) and the questioning surrounding what one should do with their life. I’ve seen a lot of people shitting on this book, but as far as I am concerned, it was a cosy 4⭐ read!
The general plot of Again, But Better is nothing special: shy girl goes out of her comfort zone, makes friends, goes on an aventure, and eventually falls in love. But it doesn’t mean that it is not enjoyable. Maybe partly because it’s relatable but who cares! I could recognize myself in Shane. Wanting to study abroad is something that I had always wanted to do, and my experience as an exchange student is something I will never forget. My only regret from this book was that we did not see her struggling with any language barrier (as an American going to England), which is something that also makes the experience of studying abroad as part of Erasmus so unique. Everyone is thrown in the same basket where we are not speaking our mother tongue and it’s awesome! It was also weird to see her only hanging around other Americans (but, ya know, I saw Americans doing this as well when I was in Germany… Y’all are missing out on having international friends!! But I’m going off track.)
Okay so back to trying to write a review of this book rather than talking about my own experiences. Sorry. I’m facing a very strong need to go back to Berlin these days, but I’m not here to talk about this.
*inserting this very cool gif of Druck by tumblr user druck-in-love for the Berlin atmosphere before I move on*
I read this book in the blink of an eye. It was sweet, and I just really wanted to know what would happen next. Shane could get a little bit frustrating sometimes (supermarket situation at the beginning of the book, I’m looking at you, but mostly, the whole situation with the lying to her parents), but again: RELATABLE so what can I say. Comparing your home country to the place you are moving to in the most ridiculous ways is a pretty normal thing to do as far as I’m concerned. The awkwardness (although a bit over-the-top), the Taylor Swift listening, the blogging. It’s good to see a character you can relate to like this (like Cath from Fangirl!)
I should have seen it coming because of the “a little bit of magic” mentioned in the blurb, but I did NOT expect that turn about half-way through the novel. And I loved it. Maybe it’s a little bit trope-y but I just love when characters are put into this kind of situation, and genuinely trying to do better. It warms up my stone cold heart.
YES I am aware that this blog post is a messy ramble, but this book just made me do a lot of thinking and I had to share it. Before I picked it up I was torn between “it’s a book by a booktuber it’s probably not that good” and “OMG a book about college and studying abroad I HAVE TO READ IT”. I’m glad my final opinion is balancing towards the second option!