Friday, March 20, 2015

I'll Take Love for A Thousand, Alex

"She believes in personal freedom, God, and true love.
In that order."
--Emery Lord, The Start of Me and You


Genre: YA Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 384
Publication Date: March 31st, 2015
Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
Previous Books in Series: Standalone
Previous Books by This AuthorOpen Road Summer
Goodreads Description

Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

If there was an award for Best Books on Positive Female Relationships, Emery Lord would win hands down. From Open Road Summer to The Start of Me and You, she has, in my opinion, set the standard for friendships in young adult literature. I said this in my review of ORS that there are NOT enough books out there that glorify the beauty of having a best friend. There is too much slut-shaming going around and not enough love for our fellow females. I love men, don’t me wrong, but shouldn’t we be banning together against the misogynistic stereotypes that demean women’s sexuality and put them down? Whoa, sorry. Tangent. I wrote down slut-shaming and that’s what followed. But seriously! How many books have you read where girls put other girls down. It needs to stop. Emery Lord might as well be a huge flashing red light because she’s not taking that shit.

Anyways. TSoMaY is about Paige, a young woman whose boyfriend drowned about 2 years ago and because this is high school has since been pigeon-holed as ‘Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned.’ Sidenote: I loved that Lord had Paige think in those titles about people because it is so true. You are what happens to you in high school and unfortunately, that’s how the masses tend to always see you. Sad but true. Paige has made it her mission this year to overcome her fears and get out there. She makes a list of 5 things (see summary above) and sets her sights on completing them. Along the way, she makes some mistakes, checks some things off, and also overcomes so much more than she ever gave herself credit for. I loved that this book was all about Paige’s journey to self-discovery and focusing on her and what she needs to do to move on and take control of her own life. Her self-awareness in this sense was a beautiful thing to see in somebody so young. I also think Lord does an AMAZING job of creating young adult characters who are not only intelligent and more than adults give them credit for but also believable. They are not perfect but they are honest and smart and so totally the kind of mature young adults I love to read about.

Now let’s talk more about these friendships. Paige has a solid group of 3 friends with Tessa being her numero uno. These girls…I tell ya, these girls are amazing. They have fights, they get on each other’s nerves, they see each other’s flaws, but at the end of the day when one of them is having a meltdown they drop everything to be there for that person. They go to bat for one another and protect each other and offer shoulders to cry on and privacy to do so. There is something so beautiful about watching these girls be there for one another and it made me long for that kind of unconditional friendship in high school. It then made me daydream a little about what it would have been like if Betty and I had been in high school together and then I laughed at all the mayhem we would have caused. Hell on wheels I think would have been an understatement. Thoughts, Betty? But seriously, this book is about friendship. Yes, there’s a romance, I’ll get to that, but at the core of this book is Paige and her struggles and the friends who are there to help pick her back up when she falls and how she uplifts her friends when they need it.

Ok. The romance. Hello, nerd alert. Paige is so freaking smart and joins the Quiz Bowl team. One of the members is Max, also the cousin of her crush, and she forms a friendship with him…*wink wink*. No, not really. It is a very strong and solid friendship. She finds herself opening up to him and telling him things she wouldn’t normally tell other people. They have a sort of ease with one another that allows them to truly be themselves and seek each other out for advice and somebody to talk to when times get rough. Max is intelligent and witty and can go toe to toe with Paige about literary references. Their banter is steeped in intelligence and I loved every second of it. I won’t give you too much more to go on but know that this romance is of the purest form and the theme of this book…friendship.

Honestly, there is nothing in this book that I did not like. We have friendship dynamic, relationship woes, family drama, and finding out who you are. In addition to the friendships in this book my favorite aspect of the story was Paige accepting who she was. A lot dorky and a little neurotic and that’s okay. I loved that this story was included a theme of finding your tribe. Your people who understand you for who you are and love you because of it and not in spite of it.


Reserved Seating
If you love strong female friendships, a healthy dose of trivia, and honest and believable intelligent young adults…this book is for you.


2 comments:

  1. I loved The Start of Me and You! When I finished it, I was literally crying because it was just that real and that good and that amazing. You're totally right when you say that Lord nails female friendships. She knows how to write them real and true! Plus, I just loved Max too, but even more importantly, Paige is my homegirl :)

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  2. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! And I agree that Emory Lord is the queen of friendships (and feels for that matter). I loved Paige's journey and I LOVED MAX and all of the other relationships and themes in this book and it is just perfection. When does my pre-order arrive?

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