Book Review | The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
YA Contemporary Fiction, High-School, Romance
Hard-cover, 376 pages

My synopsis: A year after the death of her last boyfriend, a teenage girl suffering from PTSD creates a list of things to do (date her crush, join a club, etc.) with the hope of starting over.

The Start of Me and You was undoubtedly a cover buy for me in the beginning. I came across it while shopping on Bookoutlet one day (over a year ago) and recognized it from other users on bookstagram.

In the realm of YA realistic fiction, I feel like there is a spectrum of intellectual and emotional depth that exists. On one end, you have authors like John Green whose stories seem to make you question your existence, while the other end is home to authors like Kasie West whose stories are extremely fluffy and light-hearted.

After reading this book, I found that it is an excellent read-alike for Sarah Dessen. Though definitely not entirely, Dessen falls a little bit more on the Green side of the spectrum I mentioned and I think Emery Lord’s falls almost perfectly in the middle.

Teenage death by drowning is an interesting trope included here, which is also featured in Silvera’s History is All You Left Me (my review) and Crowley’s Words in Deep Blue (one of my favorites read in 2017). Here, Paige’s (the protagonist) last boyfriend, Aaron, died by drowning. I appreciated Paige’s thoughts on what water psychologically and metaphorically represents with regards to her situation. Water often reflects continuity, purification and washing away. To die by water almost seems like a betrayal.

Lord’s story is a reasonable exploration of life, how to deal with grief and how to start over. Paige’s mourning is unique because while her boyfriend is the one who died, she feels as though her grief does not deserve as much weight as those who have known him much longer than she has (they had only been dating a few months). Her struggle with others’ pity for her–something she can sense from a mile away–is insightful and I couldn’t help but want to just tell everyone else to leave her be. Also, as a result of Aaron’s death, she suffers from PTSD which makes her fearful of swimming and leads her to nightmares of drowning herself.

One of the best aspects of this book is the female friendship between Paige, Tessa, Morgan and Kayleigh. Though Paige is sometimes envious of Tessa who is pretty and easily likeable (who doesn’t have that friend?), it doesn’t consume her. How often in YA do jealous characters take out their frustrations through negative attention-seeking behaviors? Not in this book, thank you!

Paige’s infatuation with cute track star Ryan Chase is annoying at times because it’s so real—there is always that boy (or girl) we put so high on a pedestal because, to us, they’re just so perfect and we convince ourselves that we’re their soulmate. Think back to some of your crushes as a teen—what level of puppy dog love were you on? Her developing friendship and potential romance with Ryan’s sweet and nerdy cousin, Max, is exceptionally genuine.


Verdict: Lord’s story managed to be perfect without being too perfect. Can we talk about how there’s going to be a sequel?? I don’t know if I can wait til 2019!


Twitter: @jasminesreading
*2018 Reading Challenge Update: 90/200

3 thoughts on “Book Review | The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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