Again, but Better by Christine Riccio
Published by Wednesday Books on May 7, 2019
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
“You’re bolder than before.”
I’ve never read a book by a booktuber (to my knowledge) so Again, but Better was my first one. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this after watching Christine’s book writing series on YouTube. But my desperation to read it skyrocketed when I read the synopsis. I lived this life (studying abroad, trying to start over, being too shy) so I figured I would love it. Again, but Better wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, but in a good way.
I was scared if I would hate this book because of the feedback I’ve heard on other booktuber books. This book was pretty good. Not the best, but I hold my contemporaries to a much lower standard than other genres. I think my only nit-picky comment would be that there were so many exclamation points. After watching Christine for years, I know she is a very excitable person and ALL CAPS and exclamation points! were a given. Some parts of the book felt dragged down by the sheer amount of excitement the characters were emitting with their exclamation points and sentences that didn’t really need such strong punctuation.
However, reading this book felt like reading my life. While I’ve never lied to my parents about the reason behind studying abroad, I did study abroad all alone. And it was one of the most terrifying – and gratifying – experiences I’ve ever had. Reading this felt like talking to someone who really understood me. Someone who knew the struggles and could relate to them. It was cathartic because I was going for many of the same reasons Shane was.
The plot felt original enough for me (harkening back to low standards for originality in terms of contemporaries) and I finished this book in days. I was more focused on this book based on how I would relate to it versus if it was the most original thing to hit bookshelves since Harry Potter. This book falls just under my ranking for Fangirl in terms of they-get-it. Fangirl really connected to me at a place in my life when I needed it and I know if Again, but Better was released before or during my time abroad, it would give Fangirl a run for its money.
Christine has always been one of my favorite book tubers because I feel like I share many of the same interests as her. This book solidified that with all the hints to Taylor Swift songs, love and solace in bookstores and anything written word, and just the pure terror of going to a new country alone with no one else to guide you.
I enjoyed reading this book and I might read the rest of the books she releases. Again, but Better had its cute and its cringey moments. At the end of the day it is through and through a young adult book but that’s half the charm of it.