Hi everyone! Today I’m going to be reviewing The Start Of Me And You by Emery Lord.
The Start Of Me And You is a truly unique story set a year after our protagonist, Paige’s, boyfriend (Aaron) died. It explores Paige’s journey to self discovery and moving on from the accident and the lingering effects it has still left on her. Despite the serious theme and the heavier moments dotted throughout this book is generally a really light hearted and fun read, and I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a great contemporary!
There were so many things about this book that I loved; it’s definitely up there with my favourite contemporaries, and I’m already looking forward to my next reread. I first read this a few years ago when it first came out and reread it in time for the sequel, The Map From Here To There, and its release. I think it’s safe to say that I loved it both times and I’m sure I’ll love it again when I next read it!
I think the biggest thing which stood out to me in this book was the character development. I know that lots of authors in YA play around with character development a lot, but Lord definitely took it to a whole new level, and I loved seeing Paige’s progression throughout. Perhaps one of the things which made this character development so undeniably perfect was the reason for it, as it just made Paige more determined than ever to break free of what everyone had come to know her as.
Of course, the reason for Paige’s character development was due to what had happened one year prior to the book – her boyfriend’s tragic death, and the lingering effects it left on her. Of course, Paige mourned for her boyfriend, but she also grieved the sudden loss of his life, and the way it had so brutally been cut short. Paige’s grief was really well executed and really raw and realistic, exploring how grief still lingers after time.
Obviously this greatly impacted Paige in multiple ways. She suffers from PTSD and is absolutely terrified of drowning, after what happened to Aaron. Watching Paige’s struggle was really touching and I loved reading her journey towards acceptance and overcoming her fears – like swimming again.
Of course, Paige wouldn’t have made so much progress if it wasn’t for Max. I’m not usually a fan of slow burn romances, but something about this one hit different. It was unbelievably sweet and there were so many adorable moments shared between the two – take the Pride And Prejudice references, for example. Despite the fun moments, Lord also incorporated a fair share of serious ones, and it was lovely seeing Max and Paige’s friendship evolve and the close bond the two shared. Max seemed to make Paige the best version of herself, and it was really great to see.
Max himself was wonderful. He was a really great match for Paige and generally such a likeable character. As well as being incredibly kind and sweet, he was also unbelievably smart, and that made for such an amazing character. I think Max was probably my favourite character in the whole book, and he was such an incredible friend for Paige.
Of course, Paige had a tight knit circle of incredible friends. There was her best friend, Tessa, who was really thoughtful and caring, as well as her other two close friends, Morgan and Kayleigh. All four girls had a really strong bond and I loved their friendship – each girl was so different but they all cared really deeply for each other, which made a really great group.
After the first few chapters, Max and Ryan, his cousin, were also added to this group, which only added to the amazing group dynamic. Ryan and Max were both such great guys and I loved the way Lord showed that it is actually possible for boys and girls to just be friends – this is often ignored in YA, but here the author showed that it was possible, which is definitely more realistic.
Family was also a really important theme in this book. Paige’s parents were divorced, and I think Lord handled this in a really realistic way. Of course, Paige had her fair share of family problems – her divorced parents decided to give dating each other another shot and her grandmother’s Alzheimer’s definitely added to her stress levels – but I think this just showed how imperfect and messy all families truly are, which was perfect.
The ending was also perfect. I’m a sucker for a happy ending, and this one was genuinely so heart warming and lovely. I loved how Lord tied the whole book up, and I also really enjoyed the emails included in the paperback version, which were really cute and provided some more insight into the two characters and their relationship.
Overall, I would recommend The Start Of Me And You for anyone looking for a lovely and fun contemporary which still deals with some hard hitting topics. I’d also definitely recommend it to any romance fan – the romance in this was just too adorable not to fall in love with!
I hope you enjoyed this review!