Hello everyone!

I am back with another book review, today it is The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord.

This was my first book by Lord, and I am so happy that I put more of her books on my Christmas list because I loved this book!

Basically, the story follows Paige, The Girl Whose Boyfriend Drowned. While she loved her boyfriend, Aaron, they'd only been dating for two months and she is tired of That Look and being treated like a grieving widow. She still has nightmares about his death, but she feels she cannot grieve the same way his family or best friend can. Paige decides it's time to get back into the world and live her life. And she has a plan, going to a party, meeting a new group of friends, and getting back into dating again, preferably with her long-time and newly single crush Ryan. However, when Ryan's cousin Max comes back into the fold of school, her aspirations shift slightly.

I think one of the things I loved about this book was that even though it was a romance, a lot of care and attention was put into Paige's friend group. She has three extremely close-knit friends, all of whom support and help each other. It is sad to say but a lot of times in YA, especially contemporary YA, you get a girl with one or two decent friends but is for the most part shunned by the 'popular' girls or every other girl for that matter. I loved how Lord took this opportunity to develop their friendships even this story is supposed to be a romance. Over and over again, I was struck by how good they were to each other. I don't know if I've just never had that or if a group of friends like that is a unicorn myth, but I loved it.

I also really loved that I felt like I knew about each and every character in the story. Even the secondary ones, they were fleshed out so well. Lord did a great job of developing the person first, and then giving them a romantic interest or having some event change them. I knew who they were and how they would react in a situation because their personalities were so distinct.

In terms of romance, this is not insta-love and it is not a love triangle. I don't want to say who she ends up with in the end, but I think it becomes pretty clear fairly early on. But regardless of who she ends up with, there was never any awkward tension or drama. I think part of this is because of Lord's people skills. She writes the characters as friends first and then moves the relationship to romance. It's a bit of a slow burn, but it's definitely worth it.

Another thing that struck me was the fact that Paige's parents were very much a part of her life and this novel. You get a lot of absent parents in the genre, but her parents were right in there, causing their own problems. But I really liked how Max helped her see the positives of the tense situations. Cameron, Paige's sister was really great too, I think she just wanted a role model in Paige even if they did butt heads.

This book was just so refreshing! It was so different from other contemporaries I've read. Parents were included, friendship before romance, I also loved Morgan and her awesome feminist speeches. From following Lord on Twitter, I could see a little of her in Morgan and I loved it! There was just so many elements in this book that I loved that I didn't know I needed to make me really love a book.

Overall, I highly recommend and I cannot wait to read more books by Lord!