Review – Begin Again

I do not like rom-coms. I keep telling myself this. It is a tenet by which I live my life. Something is disrupting that though.

The fall began with Casey McQuiston. If you have been a long-time reader you probably remember me waxing poetic about her for an entire blog entry a while back. Her first book, Red, White, and Royal Blue was marvelous, and more so because I had the opportunity to meet her at a romance writer’s cupcake and wine evening. It was the best. The real final nail in the Rom com-hating coffin came with her second book, One Last Stop. If you haven’t read it, go get it now. I cannot recommend it enough.

I still tried desperately to cling to my notions of “ugh rom-coms” for a good long while. As usually happens though, my longtime book best friend text me and said “Totally binged Begin Again yesterday. Super cute. I think you would like it.” She ALWAYS does this to me. So I “grudgingly” hopped on Netgalley and got the book. Within the first chapter, I was already hooked.

Andie Rose is neurotic. Her insane organizing and planning stem from a traumatic childhood. She goes into college with her entire life plan already completely accounted for and planned for. Everything about her college plan, her career path, and her relationship trajectory with the love of her life is already solidly laid out in her mind. It isn’t until a perky best friend, a coffee worshipping anti-friend, and an undercover romance writer, gently and unintentionally force her out of her life path and comfort zone.

Featuring a slew of magnificent not quite adults, eccentric grandmas, and a great just kiss already vibe, this book had me laughing and cringing every single page. The writing was witty and quick to read.  The characters were endearing, unique (yet familiar), and diverse. The people you are supposed to dislike are as miserable as they come. It was all around a solid story.

What prompted me to highlight this book though, was the way that it brought me back so intensely to those days of my life. I am 32 years old and all of those feelings of inadequacy, not belonging, fear, and thinking you have your whole world figured out when you are 18 and away from home for the first time, were so intensely familiar and nostalgic. Emma Lord encapsulates the fear and excitement of experiencing a semblance of adult life for the first time so perfectly. You own the world and it takes so much to realize you don’t. The magic is unlike anything else though. Those will forever be some of my fondest memories.

Andie goes through love, loss, excruciating embarrassment, and one of the most transformative semesters she could experience. If you want to feel some serious nostalgia pick this one up. It will take you back and make you remember what life was like before the bills, the work, the chaos, and the hard pieces of life.

The pub date for this book is 1/24/2023.

And if not, you can enjoy MY awkwardness and naivety with this throwback gallery.

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