Title: The Start of Me and You
Author: Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31st 2015
Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You is a delightful contemporary read with strong female friendship at its heart. To strangers Paige Hancock is the “Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned.” She didn’t know Aaron very well and had only been dating him a couple of months, but his death had an irrevocable effect on her life. But Paige is tired of being on the receiving end of pitiful looks, of always being defined by this loss. At the start of her junior year, she’s determined to restart her life. Though part of Paige’s plan is to start dating again, I appreciated that this was not her sole focus for getting her life back together. She’s also determined to try new things, to overcome her fears, and find the courage to pursue her dreams. It is so important for me to see characters in contemporary settings with strong family ties; often, parents or siblings go missing, but I was happy to see that Paige’s family played such an important role in her life, especially her relationship with her grandmother.
Paige’s friends are a vital piece of who she is. Tessa, Kayleigh, and Morgan make up her close-knit group of friends. I loved so many things about their friendship, how they supported one another, but how their relationships still remained realistic. They didn’t always agree with each other, they clashed over differences, but in the end, they all understood that being there for one another in all circumstances was important. Of Paige’s three friends, I think Tessa is the most clearly defined and she was also the one I was most drawn to. We get to know a bit about her own home life and her interests apart from her friends. Books featuring positive female relationships are so important, especially within the contemporary genre, so this one immediately became a winner with me.
One thing I loved about Lord’s writing is that her characters feel so genuine. I immediately felt what it was like to once again be in high school when reading about these girls. They didn’t do or say anything that reminded me that an adult had written them, which can be a very jarring experience. Sometimes when teen characters talk a little too adult-like, they come across as annoyingly pretentious. Max is one character that had the potential to come across as obnoxious because of his intelligence, but instead, his nerdy ways (including all the Pride & Prejudice references, which I really appreciate) and kind heart immediately made him an endearing character.
Emery Lord’s The Start of Me and You is perfect for fans who enjoy novels about friendship and who love seeing romantic relationships slowly blossom.