Buddy Read Review: Again, but Better (Christine Riccio)

Again, but Better

Author: Christine Riccio
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ½


From one of the most followed booktubers today, comes Again, but Better, a story about second chances, discovering yourself, and being brave enough to try again.

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.

Today, my review is going to be a little different than normal. I had the pleasure of buddy reading this book with my friend Debby @ alwaysbooking. My review will be comprised of 5 questions we both answered about Again, but Better.

My Answers:

1. What was your favorite thing about this book?

Oh, boy. This is a hard question to answer without giving too much away. The second half of the book was my favorite part of it. It’s not because I loved it. There was just this period of truths that were important. Without those truths, I would have hated this book. Those truths were my favorite things about it. I guess I did have one other favorite thing. I loved the banter between Shane and Pilot. It was quirky, but cool.

2. Who of all the characters mentioned in the book was your favorite?

I honestly don’t think I had a favorite character. There were a few small moments of liking certain ones. Atticus and Babe both seemed like good friends. They had that going for them. Pilot made some decisions early on that I ended up thinking were super smart, but will probably make other readers mad. Wait! Let’s go with Shane’s cousin, Leo. He can be my favorite. (Which says A LOT, if you end up reading this book.)

3. Cover love or no cover love?

I think the cover fits the book. It’s unique. I wouldn’t say it calls to me specifically, but I like it.

4. Did you find the character developed well throughout the book or were you left wanting more?

Oh, geez… Shane was a freaking mess. She was obsessive and self-centered. She was supposed to be like 19 or 20, but acted more like a 16 year old. Which, I have to stop now and mention that this book is categorized as YA/Teen. I’m thinking that’s because the topics seem to be pretty juvenile at first. I don’t know that I agree with this, though. The characters are college age, so it should be NA. It doesn’t feel or read like a NA book, though. I would probably just throw it in the general fiction category. It’s doesn’t even read like a true contemporary romance.

Anyways… Back to the actual question. Shane let a possible relationship with a guy take over her life in only the way a teenager can, but it was super weird because there wasn’t much to build that obsession on. She basically decided to make him her life after minutes of meeting him. I didn’t like Shane and honestly didn’t care if she got the guy or not. Well, actually, I didn’t want her to get him. I just wanted to give her a good shake and tell her figure her stuff out. It wasn’t until almost the end of the book that I felt Shane’s character truly developed. Something gave her that shake I wanted to, and then I found myself saying, “FINALLY!”

So… Yes, there was character development. It came in fits and spurts. I think I was happy with it at the end. Honestly, I didn’t find myself wanting more at the end. I was just happy it was over. Brutal, I know. Sorry.

5. Would you attempt another book by this author, seeing as it was her debut book?

That’s a tough question. I want to say yes, that I would give this author another chance because it was her first novel and I didn’t think the writing was horrible or anything. The reality is that I probably wouldn’t unless the blurb was something I felt incredibly drawn to or I read reviews by trusted blogger friends that said it was a must read.

Debby’s answers:

1. What was your favorite thing about this book?

I don’t think I had a real favorite part of the book, maybe favorite parts… I liked the second half because in some spots I had thought the characters had grown.  However in other circumstances they didn’t.

2. Who of all the characters mentioned in the book was your favorite?

Leo was my favorite which is super sad because he is rarely mentioned at all in this book. It just goes to show how lacking the character depth was in this book.  OMG after getting your answers I realized we picked the same character!! HAAHHA

3. Cover love or no cover love?

I do not think this cover would make me pick it up in a store and go “oohhh ahhh I need to buy it now”  However it is pleasing to the eye.

4. Did you find the character developed well throughout the book or were you left wanting more?

NOPE not a single character developed at all throughout this series.  I wanted so much more from someone who has read books all their life.  You know character development is critical to getting someone to enjoy a book however they were to have aged 6 years and still acted like a teenager? That didn’t make sense to me at all.

5. Would you attempt another book by this author, seeing as it was her debut book?

Yes I almost always give an author a second chance.  This plot had a lot going for it, it however lacked follow through and development.

And that’s it for my review. If you have any other questions for me about this book, leave them in the comments section.

18 thoughts on “Buddy Read Review: Again, but Better (Christine Riccio)”

    1. Thank you! I would like to say I came up with it, but those are Debby’s amazing questions. 🙂 It was a fun way to review the book.
      Yeah, it was kind of a mess of a book. It had potential, but it was hard to get over the obsession of the MC.

  1. Yikes! I have to say I’m not surprised by this rating. The main character does not sound like my cup of tea. I’m sorry it didn’t work for either of you!

    1. Thanks, Nick. I don’t think you would like this one at all, but it would be fun to hear you rant about it — because that is what you would be doing!

    1. I’ve seen it around a ton, too. I have seen some good reviews for it, so maybe it was just us.

  2. Yeah I don’t want Shane getting Pilot either because she’s intentionally stealing another girl’s boyfriend! The genres category is way off I agree. She’s 20 and later 26. And how is it contemporary if there’s time travel? Haha The name Babe is too weird, the author should have use that as a nickname for her. I don’t have a favorite character in this book either. All of her journal entries sounds like 16 year olds yep hehe

  3. I seemed to like this more than a lot of people. I will say, that I agree with you about the second half of the book. The first half was OK, and in my opinion, should have been shorter. But the second half was so, so good for me, and I think I was able to forgive the shortcomings of the prior 50%.

    1. I might have been more lenient, but talking about it with my friend made me really examine it.

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