Again, but Better by Christine Riccio ~ 384 pages ~ published 5/7/19 by Wednesday Books
Shane has been doing college all wrong. Pre-med, stellar grades, and happy parents…sounds ideal—but Shane’s made zero friends, goes home every weekend, and romance…what’s that?
Her life has been dorm, dining hall, class, repeat. Time’s a ticking, and she needs a change—there’s nothing like moving to a new country to really mix things up. Shane signs up for a semester abroad in London. She’s going to right all her college mistakes: make friends, pursue boys, and find adventure!
Easier said than done. She is soon faced with the complicated realities of living outside her bubble, and when self-doubt sneaks in, her new life starts to fall apart.
Shane comes to find that, with the right amount of courage and determination one can conquer anything. Throw in some fate and a touch of magic—the possibilities are endless.
What I Thought:
*I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.*
As soon as I read the synopsis of Again, but Better, I wanted to read it! I love stories about people who do study abroad, and anything set in London makes me super nostalgic, so even better! I am finding myself more drawn to contemporary lately, and this book certainly didn’t disappoint.
First, I want to say that I related to and saw myself in Shane so much, almost to an uncomfortable degree (Christine Riccio, did you camp out in my head while creating this character??) She is very unsure of herself, awkward to an excruciating degree, has to force herself to act outgoing…she really hit all of the points that I dislike about myself. However…she is also brave, kind, fun, caring, and talented. I found her to be very well rounded, which can be hard to find in YA contemporaries, so I greatly appreciated this.
I enjoyed the side characters. I love Pilot and Babe so much! They were both so fun. I did wish that we got to know Sahra and Atticus a little better, but that is a minor critique. Her parents made me mad in the best way possible, and her work colleagues were awesome.
*Mild potential spoiler alert ahead!*
I will say, the first half of the book made me a little frustrated because Shane kept making so many stupid decisions and I just wanted her to FIX IT!!! But, when she got to go back and do it again…but better 😉, it made me absolutely fly through the rest of the book. I loved how she made different decisions, but also kept a bunch of things the same. It was nice to see that she had the perspective of knowing that she didn’t want to do anything to jeopardize her friendship with Babe. I thoroughly enjoyed her second journey.
*Mild potential spoiler over!*
The reasons why I docked a star were that I felt like the first half was a little bit too slow. It seemed like a pacing issue, since I realize that you absolutely needed the first half to set up the second. Also, personally, I found the names of the characters to be a little crazy. It was a bit off-putting for me. I got used to them eventually, but for a bit at the beginning every time a new character was introduced, my reaction was, “Really? That’s the name she decided on?” Personal preference only!
Overall, I thought this book was so much fun! It really captured the college experience and explored that fantasy that everyone has of potentially getting to go back and do everything again, but better! ❤️
I gave Again, but Better 4 STARS!
Are you interested in learning more about this book? Check out the links below!
Have you read Again, but Better yet? Are you a fan of Christine Riccio’s BookTube channel? Are there any other time travel contemporaries that are similar to this one that I don’t know about? Let’s talk down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,